I can’t explain how much it meant to us to come back to Xi’an, China. Our daughter Norah (Rachel) was (probably) born there, abandoned there, and found a loving home at Starfish. When we came to Xi’an in November 2008 to become a family of four we visited Starfish and were amazed to see how much the children were loved and sometimes even spoiled…. We knew we wanted to visit again someday and have always kept close contact. And when we told our children this spring that we were going to China their reaction was: “I want to go now!!!”
There is always the doubt that if you decide something as a parent, if this is the best thing to do for your children. And of course there were people that asked us why we were taking them to China at such a young age (Norah just turned 5 and Robin will soon be 7). Well, we thought they would be okay. We have always been very open to them about their adoption. They showed no anxiety whatsoever when our travel date got near and we thought this would be a great experience for them that would stay in their hearts forever. We wanted to show them their China is not gone and you can fly there and see the people that took care of you and loved you.
At the airport our kids were thrilled to see Amanda again, and the minute we walked in to Starfish foster home I knew we made the right decision to come. The children ran inside and started playing with the toys in the courtyard as if they were coming home! The next day they met the babies in the baby room and both had favorites within a few minutes. Leo with his “little ears” was very interesting to Robin because he has microtia too and Norah was loving on little Grace. The pictures that I took of Norah feeding Grace a bottle are so very precious to me and will be to her in the future I think.
And then there were the nannies and some Chinese volunteers that remembered Norah. They were so happy to see her again! Xiao Liu (Norah’s nanny) was overjoyed and so proud her little Starfish had come back to visit. She gave Norah a beautiful dress and Robin got clothes from her too. We were even invited to her home in the Chinese countryside and had a great adventure getting there and driving back. It’s a long story, but we had so much fun in the car!
One of the highlights for sure was celebrating Norah’s 5th birthday in China. The first two she celebrated at Starfish and the second two at home with us; and now she could celebrate another birthday at Starfish! How special is that!!! All of the children were sitting in the courtyard and singing Happy birthday in Chinese and English for her and then we ate the gorgeous cake with pink roses (that had miraculously survived the way home in the car).
All in all we had an amazing experience and we are so thrilled we did this. I can’t tell you everything we did because the story would get much too long. But I can tell you we LOVED it, the kids LOVED it, everybody at Starfish LOVED it….. The only thing I regret is that we can’t visit more often….
So, THANK YOU Amanda, THANK YOU everyone that was there to make us feel so very welcome!!! We hope to visit again someday!!
Henk, Jet, Robin & Norah