Fifteen years ago, 17 girls and their adoptive families came home from China together. Today, they still get together every year to celebrate and remember the connection they all share.
“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” — Chinese Proverb
We were a group of 34 people representing the adoption of 17 baby girls ranging from 13 months to 2 years old. Our group was an eclectic mix of ages, occupations and family compositions — there were married couples, single parents, two grandmothers, an aunt and an uncle. For some, this adoption was their family’s first child, maybe their only child. Others had older biological children and four had previously adopted daughters from China. Despite all of our differences, we had become fast friends by the time we reached Beijing.
Prior to our group leaving for China in January 2002, we had travel meetings where we all got to know each other before leaving. Our escorts from Sunny Ridge were social workers Bethanne Gennette and Julie Betts as well as Bill Li Jian Zhong who met us in China.
In July 2002, these families came together for their first reunion since coming home!
Friends and family gathered at the airport to welcome Oliver home from China. Photo by Jacki Potorke Photography
During our adoption process, I often dreamed of the moment we’d walk through the double doors of the airport foyer, holding our long-awaited and already dearly loved son, and introduce him to our people.
Considering the sleep deprivation, hunger pains and overwhelming emotions, I’m impressed my brain has held onto the details of our actual homecoming like it has. Continue reading
Before traveling to Thailand, Molly Martin sat down to complete a difficult task — choosing the photos from her life that she would share with one very important woman, her birth mother.
After my first semester of college, I came home for Christmas break and sat on the floor of my bedroom among hundreds of photos. There were photos of me as a little girl dressed up in princess costumes, photos of my chubby years, photos of me playing various instruments and sports, photos from family vacations to the beach, photos from school dances, photos from my high school graduation, and photos of me at college with my new friends. There were photos from all of my major life events as well as photos from my everyday, mundane activities. As I looked through all of the photos, I saw the story of my life, as if it were a book. However, the first chapter of my story didn’t start at my birth, but rather it began when my parents flew to Thailand to bring me back to America. It was almost as though my birth was the prologue of this book – a prologue that was a mystery to me.
For 20 years, the Stark family has served faithfully as Holt-Sunny Ridge foster parents — caring for children as they wait to be united with their adoptive families. Nancy Crouch, Holt-Sunny Ridge’s director of domestic adoption and birth parent services, shares about the amazing, meaningful impact the Stark have made over the years.
I never really knew the true meaning of guardian angels until I met Paul and Cindy Stark, licensed temporary foster parents for Holt-Sunny Ridge. For over 20 years, the Stark family has been providing a loving and caring home to children in need. The dream of being foster and adoptive parents all started when Cindy was a student at the University of Notre Dame and working part-time for the assistant dean of marketing, Joanne, who would often talk to Cindy about her passion for adoption. Joanne adopted two young boys of a different race who were in need of a family, which really touched Cindy’s heart. The love that she observed in Joanne’s family was truly amazing and life-changing for Cindy. It did not matter what differences the family had with race, education or need. They were family.
In addition to caring for women who experience unplanned pregnancy and offering domestic adoption to families, we also help families who want to adopt internationally.
When families first begin to explore international adoption, they soon find that there are lots of questions that need answering — How long is the adoption process? What are the fees and expenses? What is my eligibility? And what about the needs of children waiting for a family? Just to name a few…
Here are answers to the top 8 questions that we are asked about international adoption: