I once worked with a great woman in our HR department. She told me “everyone has a story…” “Chelsea”is no different. When I hear stories like “Chelsea’s” story (or her soon to be Sister Sophie) I always wonder where we are headed as humanity. I have to then step back and try and understand the perspective of the birth parents. They give up their children because they believe in their hearts they are doing so to make a better life for that child. It must be hard, gut wrenching and forever lasting. Wondering if your child will be adopted, will they have a better life and in Chelsea’s case (and Sophie) will someone find her in time.
Today we cannot call our soon to be adopted daughter by her Chinese name. Because our adoption is not complete the Chinese agency responsible for adoption does not like to have specific information about orphans openly discussed, I can respect that, they are only looking out for the best interest of the children. Effectively I have changed the name to protect the innocent.
We call her Chelsea and she was born on 2/10/2006, and was found abandoned at the Huainan Train Station on Feb 11, 2006. The police looked for the birth parents but were unable to locate them. Chelsea was sent to the Huainan Children Welfare Institute, and her life of living in an orphanage began at one day old. The city of Huainan is a poor city, in a poor province. The orphanage does not have consistent heat or running water and no real facilities or sewer system; they have an empty field behind the orphanage. It is primitive by all accounts. Chelsea will come to know this place very well over the next 9 years.
Her name is a combination of the name of the city she was born in (Huainan city) The other parts of her name have a meaning of “pure and beautiful”, and is taken from a poem meaning she would have a beautiful life though she was small and weak. As Chelsea grew up she became stronger and bigger. Soon she was going to school as a first grader and helping the staff take care of younger kids. Chelsea is outgoing and likes to play with toys. She loves listening to and dancing to music, the kind of things any 9 year old girl would do. She is well liked at school and has many friends. One friend in particular was what we in the states would call her BFF. They shared the same bed growing up. Her friend was a year older and I am sure helped Chelsea learn the ropes of growing up in an orphanage. In early January 2014 Chelsea’s BFF was adopted and moved to the United States. Again, I think back to childhood days and how you felt when your friends moved away. You never really forget them; they are always there in your memory, today you would just keep in contact with Facebook. No more movie nights but you get to stay in touch. However, in this case when a child finds a“forever family” it means the bond between you and your BFF is forever gone. Information is not shared at the orphanage about adoptions. You would never be able to ask; who adopted her BFF…sometimes God intervenes.
It just so happened, that Chelsea’s friend was adopted by a family known to the Avery’s. In fact Chelsea’s BFF told her new family about her best friend back in China, and how much she missed her. Soon this information made its way to Myriam and Michael who were preparing their hearts and minds to adopt another child and give them a “forever family.”
We were hoping to find a little girl, around 8 or 9 years old with minor disabilities. Before we could start the process, before we started collecting paperwork and before we could figure out how to pay the fees associated with adoptions; somehow before all of this a little girl with a name meaning pure and beautiful found us 5,396 miles away. She found us. She had too, at the time she was not on the list of eligible adoptive children. We would have never known Chelsea; never known she existed, never known she would be perfect fit for our family. Fortunately for her Chelsea’s BFF did.
Soon Chelsea and her friend will be reunited, living close enough for visits and the ability to grow up together, undoubtedly sharing a bond stronger than most. Now instead of looking back I look forward to the day whet the two of them are grown women and someone asks the question...So how did you two meet?