While our A Fresh POV for You blog only began in November of 2018, Deb has been blogging about travel adventures and experiences for some time. She wanted to share a story, along with some special travel blog posts from the past, today, on this special day for their family.
Today, June 19th, is the adoption day of Deb’s amazing and talented daughter, Diana. Diana was adopted when she was 6 months old from Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China and for the first 21 years, they celebrated adoption day with a small gift, one from today along with a cherished gift they bought in China. They brought home 21 gifts, one for each year. Some were simple, like a stuffed panda, and some were more meaningful, including pearls for her 16th birthday (matching pears like the ones Deb is wearing in the photo above). Now that Diana is 22 and there are no more gifts from China, Deb remembered the biggest gift of all, and wanted to share the story today on this very special day.
Here’s a little bit of Deb’s story and links to 2 previous travel blog posts.
As with many children adopted from China we don’t have any information about Diana’s life before she entered the orphanage, and simple things we all take for granted, like knowing the time and date of your birth are not always known. We knew the date of Diana’s birthday, but were never certain it was accurate, but it really didn’t matter, it was her birthday. (And interestingly the same birthday as my dad and step mother, but my dad passed away before we adopted Diana).
When Diana was in grade school she had a project that required her to enter the time of the day she was born. It was hard to tell her that I didn’t know. So we looked at the clock (We lived in Chicago on Central time) and it was 9:10 am, so I said, “Let’s just say you were born at 9:10 in the morning. No one else needs to know anything different.” So, life went on. We moved to California (now Pacific time, so two hours earlier) and we were fortunate to take a special trip back to the orphanage in China in 2009 with a group of moms and daughters that we originally traveled with to adopt Diana in 1997.
If you are interested in the whole, amazing, incredible trip you can read all of the blogging I did that week here. I titled this particular blog, on Wednesday March 18, 2009, November 27, 1996, 7:10 am because we found a miracle and a most amazing gift. You can read all of the details of that special day if you are interested, but the short story is this. We found a “red note” while looking through Diana’s medical records. A mythical and elusive thing we heard other families talking about, often written by birth families, and attached to babies before being taken to the orphanage, since the Chinese Zodiac is an important concept in China and birth information is needed.
We never knew Diana had a note. We were not told it came with her. I immediately started crying, unsure of what it said and secretly hoping that November 27th was her real birthday. And when they read to us that it indeed said November 27, 1996 AND 7:10 AM we were stunned, amazed and now really crying. On that day in Chicago, when we looked at the clock it was 9:10 am BUT it was 7:10 am in California, where we live now. Surreal!
Unfortunately they would not let us take the note home. We were crushed, …..we cried, …..we begged, …..we pleaded and I think to get us to stop talking, they told us she could come back when she was 18 and get it. So when she turned 18 I emailed and asked if she could have the note and they said no. When she turned 19, I asked again, and they said no. And Finally when she was 20 I asked again, and I told them how happy she was and how she was living her dreams at UCLA and marching in the band and loving life, and the only gift she really wanted was to have that one small piece of her past that connected her to her birth family in China and I didn’t understand why she couldn’t have it. Finally, they relented, and said, “Okay, you can come and get it!” That was one of the happiest emails of my life. We were already planning a holiday trip to Asia that December, so Mark, Diana and I left a few days earlier and went back to her orphanage to meet everyone there, and most importantly to get the note. You can read about our whole trip here.
We also decided to retrace our trip that we made 20 years ago, remaking photos and having so much fun sharing that special time with Diana.
How do I tie any of this to using solution focused methods? Well we had a vision for the future that would not let us stop working towards our goal (getting that red note). We kept trying and used all the strengths we had and told a story, full of possibilities and opportunities, that finally moved someone enough to make things happen. Sometimes life is messy and sometimes it’s hard and then, one day it happens to be really, really beautiful.
On this very special day, a day that changed our family’s life forever, I want to tell our daughter how much we love her and how proud we are of her and most importantly that our lives would be so less without her in it. Happy Adoption Day, Diana!
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