“Gifts From China: Happy Birthday to the Best!”


happy birthday girl!

Guess you can say this is a week of birthdays!  My daughter turned 5 ,wow, I can’t believe how time has flown by…seems like just yesterday she walked off the plane from China and into the arms of our famliy!  It has been a fabulous journey from start to finish.  However, I have to admit the wait was a bit of a killer, the paperwork process was a thesis in and of itself, and oh forget the dossier!  All along the way there were hurdles and obstacles, some I never imagined, but it was all good, and after almost 3 years it came to a happy ending.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives.  She is just like any other child…pure joy with a little sassyness to keep me on my toes.  Adoption is a journey of a thousand miles…..with many pit stops along the way…but it is well worth the repeated agony of “are we there yet?”  I meet people all the time who ask me about adopting.  They are curious about how I got started, why I chose an international adoption, what the requirements are to adopt, and how long until you get a baby?  And so, this blog was born…..to share with others the journey, the ups and downs, as well as the many joys!  It doesn’t have to become a battle of making it to the finish line in one piece….with all the correct paperwork in hand (that will help of course!).  If you are in the right frame of mind, have the necesary tools, and are prepared for the process and the wait, it can be the journey of a lifetime!

Have you adopted? Thought about adopting?  Know anybody who has adopted?  What was the biggest obstacle?  Any idea what the wait times are these days?

About Rita Brennan Freay

The journey of a 1000 miles always ends with a dirty diaper. Headmaster of a self inflicted international preschool & visitor center compassionately changing kids lives, one diaper at a time.
This entry was posted in adoption, intercountry adoptions, international adoption and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to “Gifts From China: Happy Birthday to the Best!”

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    • Alan says:

      This week we are reading three very dfnreieft stories that pursue three very dfnreieft narrative strategies. Think about the sorts of storytelling techniques employed by each writer. If I were to ask you to imitate the structure of one of these stories, how would you go about it? Write what you can learn from the story you choose. Love And Obstacles by Aleksander Hamon is a simple but complex short story. I learnt that my own writing is similar to his. There’s just enough description to picture things, but also enough blunt, obvious words to allow the reader to relate or use their imagination. Hamon uses the first person POV which is effective because the characters are unreadable. This makes the story more interesting, and captivated me. To imitate the structure would be to write just enough; not too much information but just enough to let the reader understand. I also learned that the ending doesn’t have to be perfect or make sense. This short story ends with the character feeling content with his magazine selling, that he could do it forever. I did not expect that ending, but because the story was so odd, it actually makes sense to end that way. Overall, I believe Hamon used a great writing technique because it was dfnreieft. The first sentence draws you in. Back in the days of the war in Bosnia, I was surviving in Chicago by selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. It already told the setting, how the character was making a living, and a time period. I really liked this story; stories like these make my passion for writing come alive (again).

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  9. Its interesting you say your daughter is like any other child – its so true. In my travels I especially pay attention to infants, babies & toddlers and although they may look different they are all the same in so many ways. I love to see when they have little hissy fits, and listen when they talk with their little small voice, but my favorite thing of all is listening to them laugh. You must be very happy to have all these things in your life.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    I’m an exuberant force of light… Come light up your life

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      I feel the same way Lisa, I love and miss those baby laughs! Precious:) Kids know how to have fun and enjoy the moment!

  10. Happy Birthday to your daughter, Rita. It sounds like a journey of many blessings in spite of the wait. I know quite a few people who adopted from Russia, China and India and so worth the wait. The anticipation and planning, although frustrating at times, was also a wonderful process as they imagined their little ones arriving to the home they had specially prepared for them.

  11. Happy Birthday to your daughter. Rita you must be so proud and happy to have a wonderful child to share everyday with. I have heard adoption is an endurance test, I also always hear the joy experienced by the adoptive parents. Nothing more enriching than bringing up a child.

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress blending laughter and lifestyle

  12. Donna McCord says:

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter! It takes a big and loving heart to open up to a child that needs a home. I admire you for your unselfishness and willingness to take a child not your own into your home and make her your own! I have thought about adoption before but that is as far as it went. One of my friends and neighbors has adopted 4 children from Russia at different times (2 boys and 2 girls), and I have seen some of the challenges and struggles they have experienced as well as the joys and rewards. I am in awe of both her and her husband! and I know it is not an easy or trouble-free choice to make. I can tell from your post that you have been very blessed with your sweet daughter and have much to be thankful for! Thank you for sharing your joy!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Wow, 4 times…and I thought my paperwork and wait time was much! Can’t imagine….they have patience! Awesome to hear of so many children being adopted into loving families…its all about the kids! Wishing your neighbors a family life filled with love and happiness:) Thanks for sharing.

  13. I’m sure your five year old feels your joy — the best gift you could give her! As I scanned the responses to your post, I saw that almost everyone has been touched, directly or indirectly, by the experience of adoption. For me, it was the journey of a close colleague and friend…first the long journey of infertility and then the journey of adoption. Also, my best friend’s nieces and her nephew are adopted. I think it’s beautiful to see how most of us have had the opportunity to witness this profound way of giving birth to a child. Bless you and your family, Rita.

  14. My brother and his wife adopted three beautiful children from the U.S. and I have to say that while they didn’t have to travel abroad to bring them home, the paperwork was just as monumental. Isn’t it interesting that you have to jump through so many hoops to raise someone else’s biological child but none to raise your own. I know there are reasons for it but it sure seems like the process makes it overly difficult to provide a loving home to a child.

    Darcie Newton
    Discipline for profit, none for jammy zins and memorable necklaces

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Darcie, how true it is! Your comment made me laugh. It is something everyone going through the adoption process asks. Why jump through SO many hoops to raise another child and NO hoops for your own?! But, I do understand the need:) Just one of those things that makes you say hmmmmm.

  15. Yvonne Hall says:

    What a great tribute to her. I know she is so blessed to have you … and we are blessed for you to share your journeys with us!
    I saw the end of a Russian adoption process by my bosses when I was younger — the wait was excruciating for the whole office since we were all so invested in the process and on pins and needles. But to see those kids once they came “home” was such a joy! And the change in my bosses’ faces, hearts and lives were equally joyous.
    There are so many children in the world that are in need of forever love ~~ thanks for helping them!
    Yvonne Hall

    • Analee says:

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  16. Julie Labes says:

    I know someone who adopted 5 children from Russia. She too talked about the waiting and the red tape but she is so happy that she went through it. The kids are beautiful and seem very happy and settled. She adopted them all at different times so has done this 5 times! It takes a certain type of person to have that drive and determination but the rewards are many

    Julie Labes,…The Fierce over 50 feels much younger point and click junkie loves to travel does not use a jogging stroller and before you ask this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      God Bless her! Omgosh, going thru this process once is hard enough…can’t imagine 5 times!!! She knows better than most of us that the rewards are amazing:) Thanks for sharing.

  17. What a beautiful story and how lucky your daughter is to have you and you to have her. Happy Birthday to her and to you. I know it’s not your birthday but even so…

    Rita, you have so much heart in your writing and there are so many people out there hungry to hear your experiences and gain hope from them. Keep writing from your heart as you do. It’s going to pay off in ways you can’t even imagine.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

  18. Jillian says:

    What a beautiful tribute to her, and to your journey, to be sharing her story and your process of having her walk off that plane into your family’s arms. You are doing such a huge service to everyone who wants to give love to children who otherwise would not have it. Amazing!

    Jillian’s Boudoir Photography

  19. Happy Birthday to your daughter and congratulations to your whole family for building and thriving on love. As I mentioned in an e-mail, I am step-mother to a (now growth) adoptee from Korea. I did not know her when she first came to the family, and unlike the picture you describe for your child, she struggled in her relationship with her adoptive mother. However, she has a resilient spirit and has responded to love and guidance and is now a beautiful young woman with a gorgeous child of her own. Interestingly, two of her brothers are engaged to Asian women (and she married a man with Haitian parentage), so we have become a truly International and fabulously “mixed” family!

    I am sure your blog will be a wonderful resource for many people.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Wow, that is awesome! Truly international:) I love it. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck to all of you!

  20. Pat Zahn says:

    Rita – great idea to help people in this process. It can be lonely and daunting to go through all the steps without someone with experience advising you. At one time we considered adoption after years of infertility, but it seemed so fraught with disappointments. Then while we were “re-grouping” it turned out I was pregnant. One kid was enough for us. I always thought that if it just “fell into my lap” I’d adopt another child, but as time has gone by, I realized I’m really a one kid mom, it’s just right for me.

    Pat Zahn, Photo Solutions Superhero

  21. Fiona Stolze says:

    Lovely to hear your story and birthday congratulations to you all. I have no experience of any of this but it sounds like a wonderfully fulfilling journey. And it’s great to see your love and appreciation shining through all of this. Wishing you many years of happiness together.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

  22. Hi Rita,

    Congratulations to you and your entire family! A lovely story, and thankfully it’s being told more and more widely every day. It can hold the deepest blessings for everyone involved. I’ve never been involved with adoption, but I appreciate how it can be win-win-win-win-win …


  23. Well, you know I can related – two internationally adopted children! One from China and the process was seamless – 16 years ago – exactly nine months for us from start to finish. I call it my pregnancey w/the trip to China my “labor” of love. I would do it all over again if everything went as smoothly. However, the second adoption, although fairly quick was not as pleasant – 6 weeks in Kazakhstan – quite the nightmare from start to finish.
    But Happy Birthday to your little “China Doll” as I refer to mine (and she’s 16 now!) I know she was worth everything you had to do to bring her into your family! I wish you many years of joy, blessings, and happiness!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Aww, thanks Laurie! Congratulations! Yes, I call her my china doll too:) Its been great, aside from the wait….this would have been the longest pregnancy on earth…lol! Sounds like yours was an awesome labor of love! I wish. As much as the time dragging and the paperwork expiring took its toll…it’s all behind me now…and it was worth every minute because she is the most beautiful child and a perfect fit! She has brought us so much joy:)

  24. Lisa Vitale says:

    Congratulations and happy birthday to you all! I know a couple of people that have adopted, one national the other international, and yes, it is challenging, sometimes heart wrenching, but there is so much love.

    I look forward to hearing more about your beautiful journey.

    Lisa Vitale

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Yes, so much love…so many kids out there who want and need a loving home. Thanks for stopping by and following my journey:)

  25. I too have never adopted but I used to care for a bot who was adopted at the age of 7. He not only had to grow into his new family but also mine as I cared for him and his siter after school. It was an interesting experience and I know that family had to go through a VERY long process to adopt him. It was an eye opener. Proud of your blog post Rita. I hope all my coaching clients will take to it as you have.
    Louise Edington
    Finding YOUR Freedom

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Wow, a 7 year old, getting used to 2 new families…what an adjustment…for all of you! I hope he is a very happy young man these days:) Thanks for all your help and kind words:)

  26. Happy birthday to your daughter. I do not have an experience of adoption; however, my cousin has and they proudly tell anyone who listens how blessed they are with two beautiful children, both through the miracle of adoption.

    Rachel Lavern
    Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development Coach
    “Live without limits because nothing is impossible to you.”

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