Adoption in China
By Peggy Gurrad

I Fell in Love with a Picture 

(adopting twins from Yiyang)


It all started in 1982. We met fell in love and in a mere 6 years we were married. After being married for a year we decided that it was time to seriously consider starting a family. By this time we had been together for 7 years and knew exactly what we wanted. I was 26 he was 31 it was a perfect time in our lives to have a baby. One thing I learned along time ago is that anytime sometime is a " perfect time" you can pretty much plan on it not working out. After a year of trying we decided that a doctor should be consulted. Our family doctor said that a year was very normal but he made me an appointment with an OB-GYN for a check up anyway. This was the beginning of a 8 year battle with infertility. We tried every new medical procedure including 2 courses of in-vitro fertilization. We were not going to conceive a child naturally. 

You would think that a couple that had tried for a natural birth for 8 years and had been together for 15 years would have discussed the adoption option at some point in time.  However this was not the case. I felt that if he wanted to adopt he would tell me and I am sure he felt the same about me. I was always open to the adoption option and would have done it years before had I known that my husband felt the same way I did.  After our second in-vitro failure my husband finally said " Why don't we just go to China and adopt a little girl and forget all these drugs, test and procedures."  It was like a bell going off in my head. Did he really say what I thought he had? Here in 1995 after all this time I felt as though I finally had the answer to the puzzle we had been trying so hard to solve.  How silly why had we not discussed this before.  Of course we would adopt.  And the thought of adopting a little girl from China was the best.  

So in 1995 we started our adoption quest.  It was at this time that my father was very ill with cancer so when we started our home study we did so slowly. Starting the adoption process slowly was a stall tactic on my part. I lost my father in May of 1996 and thought the slow cautious way was the way to go I was a little unsure how fragile my emotions were.  Anyone who has ever been in the position of a childless home can understand what I mean when I say Christmas was very difficult. Every Christmas for almost 10 years I would cry when I put up my tree and promise myself  "next year when I put this tree up again I will have a baby under it".  And every year when the tree went up I would cry over last years broken promise and then turn around and make the same promise all over again.

As Christmas ended in January of 1998 my husband found an article in the Toronto Sun on three couples who went to China and adopted little girls.  I remember crying and telling my husband we needed to get our act together and contact the non-profit orginization listed in the article {Children's Bridge out of the Ottawa area.}  The phone number was listed in the article so the very next morning I called and left a message.  That afternoon a very pleasant girl named Heather called to say she was the mom of a beautiful baby girl from China and that she could answer many of my questions. She mailed my a lot of information on how to start the process.  We met a local couple and started to work on the staggering amount of paperwork. Our quest for a "little girl from China had begun in earnest. It was around this time that we sat down and discussed the possibility of a multiple birth. In our homestudy we had said we would love twins but we needed to discuss this possibility further. My mother is a twin and I am the youngest of five in my immediate family as well as the last to have children so it was felt that I was the one who would have twins.  We had just completed several years of fertility treatments and the possibility of multiple birth is very high. I had always thought we would have a litter.

So we were somewhat prepared for the possibility. Even before we were married I always hoped for twins knowing it was in the family. My husband on the other hand was simply very agreeable if it was what I wanted than that was fine with him. So we decided to pursue the option of twins. We were told not to get our hopes up. Children's Bridge told us flat out that twins are rare for many reasons in China and that out of 500 babies placed they had only helped place 2 sets of twins one the year before and one along time ago when they first started the non-profit organization. I was a little disappointed but I kept hoping and praying. My husband on the other hand had taken them at their word and spent the next 18 months trying to prepare me for what he was sure would be another disappointment. Well once we decided on the possibility of twins I started on the paperwork in earnest. Many things had to be done from finger printing to physicals as well as all the paperwork concerning sponsoring a child/children {landed immigrant}. Much of this paperwork I had to do twice on the off chance that we were offered twins. It was September before all the paperwork was completed and sent to Children's Bridge for translation to Chinese. Then the file was finally sent to China.

We were assigned to group 60 with 9 other couples.  When we got the list of names of the people who would be in our group it was to my surprise and delight that one of the couples from the article in January, the article that hung on my refrigerator for 9 months, the article that got me motivated to start this monumental undertaking, this very couple Olive and Darrell Clarke would be traveling to China with us to adopt there second child. It was a very pleasant set of circumstances that brought us together. It was April 22 1999 when we were told for the first time that we were not going to China for "a beautiful little girl".

On that day we learned we would be traveling to Jiangxi Province to receive our TWIN " beautiful little girls  from the orphanage Yi Yang. We were asked to be group leaders and with all the foresight of a bull in a China shop I said I would love to be one of the two group leaders. Charging ahead with out a thought of how I was going to organize twin infants, a helpful if somewhat baby proof daddy, as well as the responsibility that this new leadership entailed.  As the date to travel approached the preparations and anxiety climbed to a fever pitch. We were set to travel on the first weekend in June. We were pretty much prepared for out travel date when once again the plans were changed just a little. The travel date was changed to the first week in July. China had changed the rules that spring. As of April 31/99 both members of the adopting couple must be 30 years old or older. The files already in China were rushed through so that the couples would not have to wait. For this reason we were delayed by about a month.

We had just got use to the idea of leaving a little later (as well as slacking off on some of the preparations) when our travel date changed again. Group 59 and 60 were to travel together but it was decided that we were too big of a group 27 couples so they split us back up. This however set the travel date for the 28th of June. It was a mad scramble but we were all prepared and we met in Vancouver June 28 1999. Nine sets of very expectant parents. The first meeting of the whole group was a very exciting one. We discussed packing and what we had all packed making sure we all had all the necessities for the trip from antibiotic cream to lice shampoo. We made sure that all the gifts for the Chinese officials and the nannies were complete and organized. The flight to China was a very long and exciting one. All of us parents to be could hardly contain our excitement. The first night in China was spent in Beijing knowing our beautiful daughters were only one day away. Group 59 travelled to China only one week before us so our one night stay in Beijing overlapped their final week in Beijing.  It was so exciting to meet them in the lobby only hours after arriving in China. To see their adorable baby girls and hold them was almost too much to stand. We got very little sleep that night to say the least. 

By 9:00 a.m. we were on our way to the Beijing airport and by noon we were in Jiangxi Province. I remember disembarking from the aircraft knowing my daughters were only hours away. We found our local guide Gui Lan. We were all hustled off to an awaiting bus for the 45 min. ride into the city of Nanchang.  As soon as we were on our way I remember Gui Lan our guide telling us, " I have good news, your daughters will be at the hotel when we get there. There may be no time to even check in before you receive your daughters."  What fantastic and unbelievable news. I remember thinking that my brand new video camera that I had bought just to capture this moment was on a truck with the luggage and not here with us on the bus.  I cannot remember much else that happened on the bus. We organized our envelopes for the officials and talked giddily about what was about to happen but I do not remember anything in particular. The next thing I remember is pulling up in front of the hotel and seeing on the sidewalk all our luggage. I jumped off the bus and got my new camera. Then it all sunk in and I realized that my baby girls were somewhere in that building. GuiLan told us we would have time to go to our rooms and get a bottle ready because the babies would be presented to us in less than a half hour. We all scurried to our rooms. My husband and I washed our faces and checked over our envelopes once again. Then it was time to meet in the vestibule in front of the elevators on the 16th floor. 

As we approached the designated area I remember seeing several babies, all very beautiful with their nannies. I knew that none of them were mine because our girls were about 5 months younger then the rest and they were twins. Some of these babies looked young but not 2 of them. I overheard Gui Lan say these are the Ji'an babies.  I was so excited for these new parents. All of Group 60 had not yet made it out into the hallway yet so Gui Lan gave up for a moment on trying to find all the Ji'an Parents. She remembered that my twins were the only babies from a small orphanage called Yi Yang. Out of nowhere my daughters appeared and were handed to my husband and myself.  This is all a blur and I am very grateful to have the video of this event, the happiest moment of my life. 

The rest of the two weeks went by faster than the one day of waiting in Beijing. It was very hot the last week of June and the first week of July 1999. I remember the day we went to the Great Wall it was 38 degrees Celsius with the humidity factor. The babies were very good and adjusted well to our new little family.  The short flight in China was uneventful. Both babies were in good health and we had very few problems in China. Arianna had a bad skin rash that improved with the cortisone cream I had brought in my war chest of medical supplies. Alessandra had a large boil on the back of her head that broke and cleared up while we were in China. Again the antibiotic cream from my medical supplies was very useful. 

We made friends on this trip that we will have for life. You know their your good friends when they walk in your hotel room and you can say out loud without reservation " Look here comes my worst nightmare."  The flight home was an interesting thing to live through. It was actually much easier than I had anticipated both babies slept most of the time as did most of the 8 other babies in our group. It was interesting because I knew that friends and family were waiting for the plane to land so they could meet their new granddaughters, nieces, cousins etc. We were all so excited I knew the trip to China to start my family was over but my life was just beginning.

RG, adopted 6/99


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.