Adoption in China

Experiences of Parents Adopting from Leping


Several families adopted girls from Leping in May of 1997.  Some of their comments are:

"My daughter is very healthy and strong. At 18 months she has "caught up" developmentally with her peers at daycare.  When she came home at age 13.5 months she could not roll over or sit up on her own -- at 16 month she took her first steps -- and a few days later she was running around.  She also is a real talker -- repeats everything.  She is very alert and catches on very quickly.  She is such a joy." (GD, 5/97)

"My daughter was in foster care and I didn't have a chance to meet her foster parents.  She was very small (less than 15 lbs. at 15 months old) and in good health with significant delays in large and fine motor skills. (Many of the children in our group were very underweight, two were malnourished.)  Her social, cognitive and language skills are much closer to her age.  Most important, she is happy and so am I."  (EL, 5/97)

"Our trip was wonderful.  The children were mostly in great condition except for some skin ailments and the like.  Some of the children appeared much younger then their birthdates would lead you to believe.  Some were undernourished (some malnourished).  Our girl however was well fed and clothed.  Her caretaker even made her a bracelet to ensure her safe passage way home.  Our daughter is wonderful (of course).  The orphanage staff was very welcoming.  We did not get to talk with them too much, nor did we get much info."  (AW, 5/97)

"Our daughter is doing great, healthy, lovely and petite--she will be 13 months old next week.  Le Mei came from the Leping City Orphanage about which we learned nothing.  The women from the Leping Orphanage brought Le Mei to us a 3:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. We were told that they traveled four hours by train.  My understanding is that the orphanage isn't very far away (90 miles or so?), but the transportation is poor.  The women (director, "accountant" and "driver"  were nicely dressed, younger than I had anticipated, and gave me the impression that the orphanage was in good hands (just my gut feeling).  Each  time we saw the orphanage women (three days in a row) they immediately took Amanda into their arms and played with her--this made the separation harder for everyone, particularly me!!  When she was presented to us, she was one week beyond her first birthday and weighed 17 lbs and was 27 1/2 inches long.  Her complexion was stunning as were her delicate features.  She was well cared for and loved greatly by her caregivers in China and suffered deep separation for several days (3-4) upon receiving her in our arms.  She was very healthy, very clean and wearing flowered split pants and a striped cotton tee shirt (also VERY clean).  Her nails were clipped, her ears were clean and she needed no meds at all.  When she was given to us, she could walk (drunken sailor) holding on to my fingers, could roll over, but could not crawl (still doesn't).  We were thrilled at her good health and obvious excellent care at the orphanage. Today (6 weeks later) at almost 14 months, she continues to adjust remarkably well.  She is a very happy baby, babbles almost non-stop,  walks now holding on to furniture or with one of mom or dads fingers.  She can pull herself up, drink from a cup, feed herself (well, most of the time!) now has five teeth, and sleeps through the night.  She should be walking at any point now and is a VERY happy baby.  God and the blessed folks in China, surely did pick the right child for us."  (KW, 5/97)

It has now been over a year since we returned home from China. I was among the 11 families who became parents, in May 97, to a wonderful little girl from Le Ping. My daughter was one of the malnourished children, weighing 13.6 lbs at one year, and she had skin problems that were quite distressing to her.  One thing that really stands out in the comments of Leping adoptive parents (regardless of travel date) is the fact that many of the birthdates seemed inaccurate, with the girls appearing much younger. In my case none of the dates "jived" and my daughter was like a tiny infant at one year. As much as I wanted to stay and experience China, I also longed for the day when I could return home and seek medical attention for her. Once home she responded beyond my wildest dreams. She now weighs nearly 30 lbs, is rather tall at 34", she is VERY strong, affectionate, bright, energetic and we are happy, happy... (BP  8/98 but adopted 5/97)

And since then other adoptive families report:

We recently had a reunion of all our children from the Le Ping orphanage. They are all two and are doing well. Many had seemed to be younger than the age that had been given, but they are almost all on track and beyond now! There were seven children in our group. We went in December, 1996. (AH, 6/98)

After some sightseeing in Beijing, our travel group arrived in Nanchang on the evening of July 28, 1998 and we were presented with our sleeping babies at 9:30 p.m.  There were eight families in our group.  Seven of the babies were from LePing.  All the LePing babies arrived wearing matching yellow shorts outfits.  They were very clean and  freshly diapered.  They ranged in age from 8 1/2 months to 22 months of age.  That night we didn't do much more than take them back to our hotel rooms and put them to bed.  The next morning we all got better acquainted with our new children.   My daughter was two days past her first birthday when I received her.  She was sleeping when they placed her in my arms.  When she woke she was very solemn but didn't cry or fuss.  There was a lot of commotion in the room and she just quietly observed everything that was going on.  When I got her back to the hotel room we (a friend traveled with me) sat her on the bed and talked with her.  She perked up a little and played with a small stuffed bear I had brought along for her.   I then changed her into pajamas and put her to bed.  She fell right to sleep and slept straight through to 5 a.m.

She had a rattley cough and some pretty thick yellow stuff coming out of her nose so I started her on an antibiotic I had brought from home.  Within two days she was cleared up.  She also had some sores on the back of her head that dried up within a couple days.  Other than that, she was very healthy.  She was very alert and quick to smile.  She could sit on her own, but wouldn't move from the place you sat her down.  Same with laying down.  Within a few days, though, she was rolling around a little bit.  She had no interest in using her legs.  If I tried to stand her up next to something she would buckle her legs.  Now, six weeks later, and at 13 1/2 months, Anna is pulling herself up next to things.  She's also started crawling.  She likes to "walk" holding on to my fingers.  She's very verbal, and some of the chatter is beginning to sound like real words.  She likes to feed herself and she has mastered the sippy cup.  She is also a good sleeper.   Usually two naps during the day and 9-10 hours at night.  The orphanage director and caretakers from Leping were very nice and they were all very affectionate with the babies, smiling at them and playing with them.  We didn't get much of a chance to communicate with them - no one-on-one time -  so we didn't learn much about the individual babies.  The orphanage director appeared young, but she was very professional. (LM, 9/98)

As encouragement for anyone with an older baby with significant delays:  Our daughter from Leping was 21 months old and couldn't even turn over to sit without being propped up.  It seemed she had never been placed on her tummy or stood up before.  She didn't seem to know she had feet.  She didn't  speak any Chinese.  Now, exactly one year later, and with several months of 5 one-hour sessions per week of state financed early intervention therapy, she is running,  pedaling  her tricycle, and speaking with an amazing vocabulary.  I think these babies are like unwatered plants who grow lovely blossoms as soon as they are tended.   Our daughter was just a bundle of unrealized potential.  She is pure joy to be with and to watch.  (AH, a. 8/98)

There were six couples and one single Mom in our group getting babies from LePing.  All seven babies, being held by orphanage workers got off the elevator on our floor of the hotel at the same time.  For a few moments it was crazy!!  We were the second ones to get our baby.   As soon as all the babies were "distributed" the orphanage workers disappeared and we never saw them again.  We had sent a disposable camera ahead of time, but didn't even get to ask them about that.  The most important thing was getting our Rebekah Le (Le Chuan - DOB 10/15/98).  We peeled her out of three layers of thick clothing, bathed her, and discovered a fever of 103 degrees.  Dr. Mom (me) diagnosed an ear infection and got her started on antibiotic and Tylenol, and she was soon feeling better.  She could sit up, but that's about it.  She couldn't roll over, or even get to a sitting position from lying down.  But, after a month with her, she is now crawling everywhere and pulling up on furniture.  She can stand alone for about 10 seconds, and it's only a matter of time before she takes off walking.  Even so, we have lined up some people to do early intervention therapy with her.  Our pediatrician,
and the therapists think she's more like 15 months old instead of 18, but who knows for sure.  She is a joy in our family - she has a 10 year old brother that she adores, so her date of birth is not an issue, we're just so very proud that she's finally home! (JM, a. 4/00)

First let me say our adoption experience has been wonderful for the most part. My husband Jeff and I couldn't be happier with our daughter who is now 19 months. She runs, she laughs, she plays tickle, she's starting to talk, she's healthy and happy. My initial reaction was not so at all. I had a difficult time adjusting initially but thankfully my husband was there to take over. I'm sure it was a lot of excitement and travel induced lack of sleep. I thought I was so ready for that baby to be placed in my arms but when it actually happened I kind of panicked the first few days. Something didn't seem right about her. At 11 months she could not roll over. She could sit by herself but that was about it. She hid behind the dress we put on her and made this sucking noise constantly. She cried all night and would bang her head against my chest with frustration. I was ready for the crying but the other behaviors had me scared. Her head appeared large and misshapen to me. I really thought there was something we couldn't fix with a lot of love and hard work. Like I said, luckily my husband was there. He kept saying "Let's just give her some time. She's probably really scared." Duh, I knew she was scared but I thought there was something else. He really took over and just kept saying he thought she'd be all right. Later he admitted he had some reservations also but didn't want to scare me. Most of the other kids in our group seemed okay, just having difficult adjustment periods. Delaney showed no emotion for the first 3 days. She just sucked her clothing and looked down a lot. The most recent development report that we received said that she was introverted and didn't laugh much. The initial report was quite the opposite. It said she laughed a lot, could grab a toy that was easy to grab, loved children and pets. Luckily by the 3rd or 4th day my husband finally got her to smile. It was a slow progression from then on. Those first three days were very difficult for me. Here I'm supposed to be so happy we finally got our baby. It's supposed to be love at first sight and all I felt were anxiety and fear. I was so scared to say anything. I didn't want to seem ungrateful. I finally shared my fears with a few families in our group. They were reassuring and thought everything was okay and that she just needed more time. Luckily she came out of it and so did I.  My observation of foster care versus orphanage was that the kids from the orphanage seemed better developed, happier and had an easier time adjusting. (Note from Peggy:  Not all the foster homes are sponsored through Amity and monitored through them so the quality of foster homes at Leping may vary.)  We would meet in the hallway of the Lakeview and let the kids play together in the afternoon. Delaney just sat there. It's like she had never seen any toys and didn't quite know what to do. She couldn't feed herself or even get a Cheerio to her mouth. I wondered many things...did her foster mom show her affection, was she strapped down (she had line type marks across her upper thighs), did she have any stimulation? In retrospect I feel very fortunate that I was able to be there for a lot of firsts...rolling over, Cheerio to mouth, crawling, walking, etc. But, at the time I had serious reservations as to what her life must have been like. When we were able to ask the orphanage director some questions she said there was also a four month old in the home. The foster mom was said to be a retired notary. I'm sure she had her hands full with two babies and that would explain why Delaney started off to be happy but then maybe when the new baby came along she didn't get much attention. We were allowed to visit a typical village outside of Nanchang and I realized then that you can't put a baby down on a dirt floor so she can explore her environment, thus creating poor development and maybe lack of interest in her surroundings. I thank God now that the foster mom kept her healthy and met her basic needs until we arrived to get her. (NL, a. 5/01)

We'd love to hear from any families that have children that are from Leping and would welcome any information anyone might have about the city or orphanage.


Please e-mail me at if you have any additional information or if your child is from here and you would like to post a picture here or other contact information.