Monday, August 31, 2009

Family Reunion: Vinegar and Garlic Bring Father, Son Together

"In China, a U.S. adopted teen finds his roots"
CNN (August 30, 2009)

"His father and uncle fall to the ground, crying uncontrollably. After 11 years of not knowing, relief of finding a child they thought had been lost forever pours out of them.

"That child is Christian Norris -- he's 17 now and he stood there unmoved as his father and uncle wept; perhaps because to him both men are distant memories.

" 'I don't really remember my dad that much,' Christian said quietly 'I just remember my uncle, who raised me much of the time.'

"His low-key, almost stone-faced demeanor was in stark contrast to his father Jin Gaoke. 'There are no words to describe the joy I felt when I saw him. He is like a piece of flesh from my own body.'..."

Which, of course, he quite literally is: just as my children got half their genes from me.

"...Christian set this day in motion three years ago when he asked his adopted mother Julia Norris to find his Chinese family; a search from Maryland in the United States, to a remote village in central China, which would eventually involve hundreds of China's savvy Internet users...."

The CNN article tells how Christian Norris's adopted mother and other investigators followed a cold trail back to northern China.

Jiacheng/Christian had been six when his parents sent him to live with an uncle's family: a side effect of China's 'one child' policy. Young Jiancheng had been told that his relatives were foster parents - as part of a cover story, or for another reason. He got lost at a bus station, on a visit to his parents, was eventually found and placed in an orphanage: and eventually adopted. Julia Norris had been told that Jiacheng's parents had abandoned or relinquished him.

It's a remarkable human-interest story; and an interesting, if brief, look at how Jiachng's birth family was found. One thing that put investigators on the right track was what his favorite foods were (like vinegar and garlic), and what he remembered his parents growing on their farm.

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