Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Finally We Found You

The following story was written by Aiya's birth sister, an adoptee we recently matched through DNAConnect.Org:

In 2016 there was a total of 7.2 billion in the world. You can imagine how difficult it would be to find your little cousin among them. But, at this very moment, reality is even more brilliant than in the movies. On April 10, 2020, a DNA test told me that we had found my little cousin Aiya, who had been separated from us for years! She now lives happily with Karen and John [names changed] in Washington State, USA.
The story begins with the One-Child policy in China, which became the basic state policy in September 1982, and was written into the constitution in December 1982. In 1990s China, the conception of “a son is better than a daughter” was prevalent in rural areas, because at that time labor was very important. People at that time also believed it best to “have a son, so he can support you when you are old” and “a son can carry on the family’s blood”. As a result, many rural families insisted to have a son, even when they were poor. But with the development of China’s economy and the change of policy which allows one family to have two children, the conception of “a son is better than a daughter” has gradually been changed.
Aiya was born on December 28, 2002, in a poor rural village in the Dabie mountains.  She was a healthy cute girl, my uncle’s second child. In rural areas, when people violated the one-child policy, they would receive severe punishments. My uncle and aunt were scared, so a family relative suggested to them to send Aiya into the orphanage in Anhui province when she was a month old. Since then, they always missed her.
 Aiya lived in the welfare house for some time before Karen and John adopted her, which her birth parents had no idea of at that time. In May 2004, they found out that their daughter had been adopted when they received a letter from Karen and John who got the address though a birth note from the orphanage through the adoption [The orphanage director was a relative of the birth family, so special liberties were afforded] . The letter from Karen stated that Aiya lived well, and they would like to learn some information about her birth parents. In March 2005, Aiya’s birth uncle wrote a letter in reply. At that age, when people came across this kind of thing, they would be surprised as well as scared - they were afraid this would bring punishments. It may seem weird to you, but in China, it’s true. Sadly, the letter never arrived with the adoptive family. After that, they lost connection.
 In Chinese New Year 2019, I talked with my uncle about this. He and my aunt missed Aiya very, very much, and looked forward to a reunion one day. It’s really difficult to find a person in another country relying on just one letter, but the power of love urged me to try my best to find her, to realize my family’s dream.
On February 14th, 2016, I sent an e-mail to “Waiting for Me (等着我)” which is the biggest TV show helping to search for beloved ones in China. I also contacted the US Embassy in China and asked for their help. But I got no response at all from either. Many people told me that I couldn’t succeed in this way. This made me upset. The search was suspended.
You can never predict what will happen. On January 31, 2020, Lan befriended me on Wechat. She told me that she might be able to find my little cousin Aiya. She provided my uncle’s handwriting of Aiya’s basic information and the response letter, which made me sure that this was definitely my cousin! It was so unexpected. I shared this great news with my mom, uncle and aunt right away. They were also shocked. Then my cousin  Aiya’s older sister did a DNA test from Lan. On April 8,2020, Lan told us the exciting news: We found my cousin! It was like a dream coming true.
We were thrilled, as well as Aiya’s adoptive parents. Better late than never, we found her! On the second day, we had a video talk for the first time for 2 hrs and 15 mins on Wechat. Thanks to the help of Lan, we overcame the obstacle of language. We enjoyed this talk very much. We talked about family and hobbies. Because of the  15 hour time difference, we finished this talk early.
Now, we will introduce family members to each other and share happy moments in life in the group “Aiya’s birth family”. We look forward to meeting each other in person after COVID-19 comes to an end. Best wishes to Aiya and her adoptive family! Thank you for your great love, Karen and John! Also thank you, Lan and other kind people for realizing our dream! Hope this kind of miracles be more!
Aiya, you are so lucky! I was so moved by your adopted mom’s stories about you that I can’t help crying when I saw them. I was deeply touched by your adoptive parents. We cannot thank them enough!
Your adoptive mother said, “You are the greatest gift to your mom and dad. You are mom’s breath which gives her power.” Through these lines, we can see the love they hold to you.
Your story begins in your orphanage. Your adoption documents fail to tell the truth. You were not abandoned. At that time in China, families in rural areas were really poor. Living in a village, labor force meant a lot, that is, people think if they had a son, they would have a person to rely on economically. Maybe it’s difficult for you to understand, but this is China at that time. Now with the development of education, young people think differently. I don’t mean to defend your birth parents, but they didn’t stop missing you for one single moment in these 17 years. Luckily, your adopted parents prepared a lot to meet you. On October 2nd, your adoptive parents received your photo from CASI. From this moment, you were bonded closely with them by destiny. On October 29th, they took on the trip to China, for which they had been prepared for a long time.
 On November 27th, you met for the first time. If there was a time machine, I’d like to go back to the meeting moment as a witness. I believe they were nervous, curious, delighted, and most importantly, happy because of you, like a dream came true. From then, you became their world.
I can feel their deep and true love for you. They raised you up in these 17 years with love.
From your lovely family photos, I can imagine that your growth must be full of laughter. You are so kind and understanding. Please forgive your birth parents! They will love you always.
 Let us step forward with each other from now on! Looking forward to meeting you in person, talking in both English and Chinese!
This article is a present for Aiya. She now knows the secret of her destiny. There are many other children who have similar experiences like Aiya who are still looking for the answer. I hope you all keep it in your mind, that birth parents always love their children. In old-time China, parents were not allowed to have a second child with them, which made you adopted children. Please remember, your parents miss you all the time. They are looking for you, but it’s so hard that this may take a whole-life time. If you begin to search too, the reunion may be earlier! Like movie Forrest Gump said, “Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”
April 18th, 2020, Shanghai

Editor’s note: Aiya’s story is unusual in that an orphanage officer, as part of the adoption paperwork, slipped a note to the adoptive family with the birth mother’s brother’s address and their daughter’s birth name and birth date. The adoptive family wanted to visit the address while in China, but their guide told them not to do it. When they got home, they were still curious, so Karen wrote a letter to the address. In her letter she did not include her mailing address, however. So, no contact was possible until Lan re-established contact with the birth cousin and later the birth sister.