Looking at my High School yearbook, I'm reminded of my dreams to go to college, marry into wealth and have six children. I did go to college and even though I did not marry into wealth, the wonderful husband and three children that I have is all the wealth that I need. And about those six children; little did I know that we would be told that we could never have biological children. Never say never. We were fortunate enough to beat the odds and after two high risk pregnancies have two biological sons; but I always yearned for a daughter.
While living in Okinawa we became good friends with several families that had adopted daughters from China. We decided to pursue this further and joined an Okinawa adoption group that one of my friends belonged to. After a trip to China, Ron and I discussed starting the paperwork to adopt from China. We started the process while still stationed in Japan and hoped to travel before moving back to the States, but the SARS epidemic broke out and American military personnel were not allowed travel into China. So, we moved back to Virginia and travelled a year later to go pick up our sweet little Hui Li Ying, who is now Rebeka Li Ying.
I will never forget how we waited two years to get our referral and then another four weeks before we traveled to adopt Rebeka in May of 2004. During the two weeks in China, Rebeka wanted nothing to do with me; she only wanted her father or her new brothers. I was heartbroken thinking how I waited all this time and my new daughter hates me. When we got back to Virginia we were greeted by three sets of friends, their families, and my parents. What a joyous time. The funniest thing was our dog, Chewy, looking at Rebeka and Rebeka looking back at Chewy. You could tell they both were thinking, "Who are you?"
Adoption for us has been such a wonderful experience. Rebeka was 16 months old when we adopted her and will be 10 in January. It has been quite amusing over the years with some of the questions that have been asked to me or my boys. "Is that your sister?" "Is your father or husband Asian?" "Does she speak English?" and I say, "Why don't you ask her." I love to volunteer in Rebeka's class and when the teacher says Mrs. Dalton is here to volunteer I hear, "That's your mother? You do not look anything like her." That really makes me chuckle. Rebeka is proud of her Chinese heritage and in third grade she even got up and told her adoption story as I had told it to her. Ever since she was little we have talked about what we were told about how she ended up at her orphanage in China. We tell her how her biological mother loved her so much that she left her on the orphanage door step and watched from a distance until she was discovered, knowing that she'd most likely be adopted by a loving family from America. She has totally been a blessing in our lives and we cannot imagine our lives without her. With both sons now in college, I was not ready to be an empty nester. So our sweet little daughter is going to keep us young, or kill us trying.