Helping others brings you joy – that’s why you’re here today. And this is your chance to make a once-in-a-lifetime difference. Help us connect our beautiful daughter Maya – the love of our life – with her Chinese heritage this summer. Your financial support of $200, $100, $50.00 or whatever amount you can, will make Maya’s dream come true: a three-week Chinese heritage tour, where she will see, experience, and truly begin to understand her homeland.
Maya joined our family when she was just 17 months old; she will celebrate her 10th birthday this year. She enjoys ballet, violin, kung fu, and Girl Scouts; and wants to be a chemist when she grows up.
Experts tell us that the best time for a trip “home” is between the ages of 7 and 10, when children are able to enjoy the adventure, culture, and excitement, without the inner turmoil associated with the adoption. You can understand our sense of urgency!
Go Fund Me makes it so easy to contribute. Just click (wherever). As a special thank-you for your care and commitment, we’ll send you an original Chinese heritage block print (9.5”x5.5”), created by Brian and hand-tinted by Linda and Maya. Provide your address along with your gift, so we know where to send your limited edition print.
With sincerest thanks,
Brian, Linda and Maya
We as you may know adopted our daughter Maya from China when she was 17 months old. Linda and I are both schoolteachers and have a limited income but enjoy a rich life and try to fill it with many opportunities for Maya. She has a variety of interests such as doing Ballet, playing the violin, doing kung fu, participating in Girl Scouts and she wants to be a chemist. Maya is a well-adjusted beautiful little girl and the love of our lives. She, however, wants a greater connection to her Chinese heritage. Linda and I take her to Chinese Heritage Camp in Colorado each summer where we volunteer our services and Maya can enjoy a taste of Chinese culture along side her fellow adoptees.
While this has been great, what she really desires is a trip to China where she can go on the same journey Linda and I went on to adopt her. This was a three-week trip, which went through many different cities and provinces where we went through the adoption process.
She wants to see what we saw, stay where we stayed and basically have the same adventure. In short Maya wants to see and understand where she came from.
We have been trying to make it happen for her for the last 3 years and the truth is we just have not been able to afford it. The literature informs us that between the ages of 7 and 10 are the optimal time for a 1st trip back. This is because the children can enjoy the adventure and culture without the deeper turmoil associated with being adopted. As they get older they have much harder questions. We would like Maya to experience her culture and to enjoy it fully without too much inner turmoil. So we are aiming to get Maya there in June 2018, after she turns 10 in February.
So we are starting this Go Fund Me page to get her there. The funds will be used for a heritage tour package with add ons for Maya's province, Jiangxi and also Guangzhou so she can stay in the White Swan Hotel where she learned her first english word and sign for "fish".
We want you to know how much we appreciate your help and we would also like to give something back for helping us get Maya there. Brian is an artist and he is creating a Chinese heritage journey block print, which Maya and Linda will then hand tint. On the back will be a photo of our family and a special thank you. So if you contribute please let us know where we can send our special thank you.
Brian, Linda and Maya
Part 1 the beginning
This will be our first post on the story of Maya’s adoption. The process and waiting period was long, full of dreams, stress and lots of waiting until we finally received our referral and photo of Maya. The photo in this post was our first glimpse of Maya and we believe it was sometime before the age of 15 months.
So, when Linda and I married we did not plan on children in our life. We have always been happy in our relationship with each other and had been having a very good time just living our lives. Somewhere along the way I felt we were missing out on something and I felt I knew what it was.
On Valentine’s day, at a little Thai restaurant, I “popped the question” of adopting a little girl from China. Linda was on board from the start, but I don’t think either of us realized how much the process would take. We did some research and ordered materials from Great Wall China Adoption. They sent us materials to motivate and start us on our path.
We were on our way.
So, we had our packet on how to start the adoption process.
We needed a social worker to inspect our house, our income, personalities and our reasons for adoption. It was a somewhat invasive step that of course cost a lot and took a while to complete.
We both needed medical exams showing we were in good health and would hopefully be around long enough to raise a child. We needed background checks and needed to be finger printed. I’m guessing to make sure we were not criminals. We needed our marriage license in a certain format, so they could verify we were indeed married. We needed all our W-2s from the prior 3 years. To show a stable income.
Then… almost everything had to be done again, because our paperwork timed out due to the extensive waiting period for our referral.
Finally, we needed a boatload of paperwork on top of that and a lot of cash. We were committed to making it happen, so we jumped through every hoop, cut every red tape and paid every fee. It was exhausting to say the least and it felt like all our excess time was spent on either paperwork or waiting for the next “thing” we HAD to do. We felt a bit over a barrel by this point.
Money and waiting
Money was an issue as the adoption process without travel was in excess of 20,000 dollars. We pulled it together through re-mortgaging the house, and using credit cards plus a couple thousand-dollar inheritance from grandma Hutchinson. In actuality, we are still in the process of paying off this expenditure.
Waiting: We waited about 1 year to log in our request for an adoption referral. We were looking at the length of time between log in and referral at that time and we were trying to time it just right. We found out that the times fluctuate a lot more than we originally assumed and there was no such thing as timing it. It took a total of about 4 years to get our referral.
During the beginning, time went quickly as there was so much to do and prepare. We set up Maya’s room and decorated it so the social worker would see it ready. We did all the paperwork and paid the fees. We talked about it and were excited.
Then time started to stretch out with less to do and occupy our time with the adoption. Maya’s room started to gather dust…
I remember getting stressed, depressed, anxious and bored as we continuously checked in on where our names were on the referral list. It would speed up and slow down and sometimes appear to halt altogether. It was very frustrating. I was constantly trying to find things to take my mind off of when it was going to happen for us. I started building a path around our 2 acres of land stone by stone to pass the time. I now look back and am happy it took so long because otherwise, we would not have Maya.
The referral and rush to go
The day we were to receive our referral we both remember quite clearly. We were both teaching that day and constantly checking our E-mails for photos and confirmation. Linda was giving final exams and even all her students could see her excitement. We received our referral and our first glimpse of Maya while still at school.
It was a weird sensation to see photos of her, understand she was meant to be our little girl, know she was on the other side of the world and being cared for by people we didn’t know. We wanted to go right then, but we had to follow all the procedures and preparation to go.
We arranged our trip through our adoption agency. We found gifts for the orphanage (which were appreciated), we located the proper types of gifts for all the officials (highly recommended) and placed an order for several thousand dollars in perfect crisp American dollars for fees that could not be paid digitally or by direct wiring of funds. It was a bit nerve racking carrying that amount of currency in a money belt under my clothes. It was necessary though. It took the bank 2 weeks to accumulate clean, perfect bills with NO blemishes. Yes, I know it sounds fishy but it was supposedly just how they worked.
We left in mid-July about 2 months after our initial referral. We left a week before the adoption so we could explore a bit first before the rush of adoption related activities. We were on our way…
Part 5 will be posted next week and will be titled exploring and meeting Maya Liang Baker-Brown (originally Fu Chuan Liang)
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