Throughout the adoption process I have met people who had been here before; Sue and I have been eager to find others not just because we can benefit from their experience but also to try and surround Lilah with people resembling her, people who speak a language she is accustomed to hearing, etc.
Unfortunately nothing has come of these efforts – till now.
A couple weeks ago a young lady named Anna Harrington arrived at the Springfield Shriners Hospital after walking clear across the country. She did this in part to fulfill a dream of walking from the west coast to the east coast but also to raise awareness of the Shriners Hospitals as a thank you for the treatment her nephew had received when he was a boy.
I was one of the Shriners there in attendance when she arrived and we had a nice welcoming committee for her. Also in the crowd were two young men from China: Ming, was a patient and Jerry, his chaperone and interpreter.
I spoke with them only briefly that day but had a chance this week to speak a bit longer with Jerry when I was introduced to him by one of the hospital staff.
We chatted for a little it about our impending trip to China to retrieve Lilah and my desire to find a local community of Chinese folks to help Lilah to both feel comfortable but also help us help her maintain a knowledge of her native culture. Before we parted we exchanged contact information and promised to keep in touch.
Last night Jerry called and invited Sue and I to one of the local churches attended by members of the Chinese community and meet some of them. What a wonderful experience. Each person we spoke with was very kind and offered the support we sought; even encouraging us to bring Lila there when she comes home. Something Sue and I are very much looking forward to.
The photo below is of myself, Maureen – a physical therapist at the hospital who adopted a girl from China 16 years ago & Jerry; he wanted a photo of Maureen and I showing photos of our girls.
Jerry & Ming will be heading back to China in just a couple weeks, but Jerry gave us his phone number in China as well as his email address if we need any help while we are there. When he and Ming return in the fall for a follow up appointment at the hospital I will definitely have to bring Lilah over to meet him.