World / Reporter's Journal

Adoptive child ignites internet with love

By Chang Jun in San Francisco ( Updated: 2016-10-05 16:40

A Chinese saying has it that "Love knows no boundaries". I've seen many real-life examples of unconditional love and compassion since I started writing stories four years ago about American families with adopted children from China. Although each story is unique, one recent adoption is particularly heart-wrenching and joyful. It raises a question for all of us — parents, educators and society alike: How much can respect and faith achieve? Angela, a mother of four in Kentucky, decided to adopt a child from China in 2015 and was matched with Rosie Ru, a 4-year-old who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and abandoned by her biological parents at an orphanage in Hengyang, Hunan province. Angela flew to China to complete the paperwork for the adoption on Dec 28, 2015 and brought Rosie back to meet the whole family on Jan 7 of this year. Hoping that giving Rosie her first bath out of the orphanage would be a cleansing and rewarding experience, Angela wrote that she was "washing away the old label of orphan, and rejoicing in the new identity of daughter."

"I still am surprised by how well Rosie did that first day — she blew all my expectations out of the water! She is so smart, and understands so much more than she can articulate back to you," wrote Angela on her blog Thisgatherednest, which now has 224,000 followers.

Adoptive child ignites internet with love

Instead of treating Rosie as a special needs preschooler — which, by traditional standards, usually translates into extra pity and sympathy — Angela and her husband and kids apply respect to the daily routine, trying to push the little girl to walk out of her comfort zone, adapt to the new environment and be her best self.

Always dressing Rosie in carefully-chosen outfits and hairdos, Angela encouraged the child to learn to swim, share in house chores, read stories and make friends — anything that a typical 5-year-old would do.

"It's funny. Sometimes she looks more like a 2-year-old. Then other times, like in the photo below, she looks like a little girl. I can't wait to watch this girl blossom and grow," Angela wrote after posting photos showing Rosie enchanted by playing with snow in the backyard.

The amazing job Angela and her family have done of preparing Rosie for new challenges, and the difference it has made for the little girl, have ignited mounting enthusiasm among followers of Angela's social network account. Praise and curious questions keep pouring in, and Rosie has suddenly become an internet celebrity, a sweetheart and the focus of public attention.

"How lucky Rosie is. Your compassion and love have changed her life," wrote one tweet. "I'm absolutely in love with the little Rosie, and your family," said another.

Admitting no intention of making Rosie famous, Angela said she uses her posts to raise public awareness of the special needs group among the children adopted from China. "Our sweet Rosie is special, she has an extra chromosome, and let me tell you, it hasn't seemed to slow her down," said Angela.

Rosie and approximately 100,000 other Chinese children have been adopted by American households since China started its overseas adoption program in 1992. In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, about 2,000 Chinese children live with American adoptive families.

At a reception last December hosted by the Chinese consulate in San Francisco for adopted children from China, Consul-General Luo Linquan said he deeply understood the difficulties of raising a child and thanked the American parents for their "enduring love and selfless devotion to the Chinese children, taking them (in) with warmth and happiness". "When you grow up, I hope you will support and care for your parents in the same way. I also hope you will develop the Chinese spirit you were born with and keep learning the Chinese language. In this way, you will build bridges of friendship between China and the US with a cross-cultural background," Luo said. Now a kindergartener, Rosie is able to communicate with her peers in simple sentences and is making steady progress. "Please know we are in no way downplaying her condition, and what the future may hold for her. But we love this sweet girl, and are ready to walk down those roads with her…side by side," said Angela.

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