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This Is What Adoption Feels Like

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"We want our kids to grow up with a strong sense of self and racial pride, so we switched to a church with an African-Canadian pastor and a multicultural congregation. And every year, we go to the Harambe Festival Camp, a weeklong camp for families with children of African heritage — the kids love it. Fortunately, we live in an area that's racially integrated, but sometimes there are inappropriate questions, like, 'Are they really brothers?' My answer is, 'All four of our boys are really brothers.'"

Redbook Adoption Asian Girl

Scott and Karen Petty, both 33, live in North Carolina. They adopted their 2-year-old daughter, Gwen, from Jiangxi Province in southern China in September 2005. Karen, a stay-at-home mom, is a freelance copywriter; Scott is a marketing manager for a swimming pool company.

"One day, Scott walked through the door and said, 'What do you think about adopting from China?' We'd been trying to get pregnant for years and endured a difficult year of infertility treatments, and we had finally started discussing adoption. Then Scott went on a business trip to China and spent the flight home sitting next to a family that was bringing home their adopted daughter. It just felt right to him, and as soon as he suggested it, it was one of those 'aha!' moments for me, too. Ten days later we signed with our agency.

"I treated the dossier of vital documents that we prepared for the adoption with such care. Turning in that paperwork to the agency was hard for me because to me, it symbolized our little girl — and it was like I didn't have her anymore. But it got us one step closer to our daughter!

"Six weeks later, a woman from the agency called with our referral. It was July 28, 2005. I fell apart — when I told her that I had to call my husband, I couldn't remember his name! She e-mailed me a picture of my daughter. In the photo, she had a doll on her lap that was almost as big as she was. Her Chinese name was Lin Ying Tong; we'd name her Gwendolyn Faye Ying. I slept with her picture that night. Our daughter. At last.

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