Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Greetings from Alan Zhong, Gladney's Former Facilitator in Hunan
By Alan Zhong
I hope that some of the families who adopted their babies from Hunan still remember me. I am sure that some do because I have been keeping in touch with them.
I first got to know Gladney and Gongzhan at the beginning of 1997, when a group of New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Texas families came to Changsha for adoption. Some of the families in that group still call me “Happy Bell”, which is the literal translation of my Chinese name. I assisted families organized by different adoption agencies with their adoption in Hunan. However, Gladney means something special to me.
When Gladney families stayed in Changsha to finish their adoption formalities (which included obtaining the adoption certificates, notary documents, and passports), I usually added my high school (i.e. Changsha No. 1 High School) to the list of places for them to visit. Of course, visiting my high school was free of charge.
For many families, these babies were their first children. As a result, the parents were not too experienced for first few days. I am sure that they must have taken baby-care orientation classes before they left for China. Holding a baby in you arms during feeding can be a real challenge. Though I was not married then, I tried my best to help those parents based on my years of work experience.
I came to this country for my Master’s degree in 2000. Soon after my arrival, I received many welcome gifts from adoptive families, including many Gladney families. I felt most welcome and enjoyed those gifts very much. Some families invited me for a visit and I did see several of them. During the Memorial Day holiday in 2001, four families and I gathered in North Carolina for a reunion. The families were the Donovan's, the Bauer's, the Stones, and the Austin's as the host family. It was so wonderful to see each other again and see how much all of the girls had grown!
Though I left Hunan in 2000 to pursue a higher academic degree in this country, the cooperation between Gladney and my travel agency never stops. Right now, I live in southern Connecticut and work in the market research industry. Every year, I am invited by Gladney to attend family gatherings. I look forward to meeting more families and seeing old friends.