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Modern Parenthood

China adoption diary: Through the looking glass into the US, and having a blast

Returning from their two-week China adoption, the Belsie family hits the road with new  daughter Madeleine Bao Yi, heading for a family reunion. Bao Yi has gone through the looking glass and is having a blast learning new traditions and more about who she is.

By Gretchen BelsieGuest blogger / August 20, 2012

New sisters, Grace (l.) and Madeleine Bao Yi Belsie check out the lake during a family reunion in Canada. The Belsies, recently returned from adopting Bao Yi in China, are growing closer as a family unit.

Courtesy of the Belsie family


Following the 14-part China adoption series, Gretchen Belsie provides occasional updates on how 7-year-old Madeleine Bao Yi is adapting to the US and her new family – Monitor business editor Laurent Belsie, Gretchen, and their first Chinese adopted daughter, 10-year-old Grace.

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It’s funny how a four-year trail of tedious bureaucratic paperwork – which often feels like it’s going nowhere except in a circle – can nonetheless pave the way to startling life changes that ultimately make you forget all the bother that preceded the glory. As adopting parents, we know the endpoint we’re aiming for, and we wait and crane our necks to see if we’re getting any closer to the much-anticipated crossroads. But for a child, like Madeline Bao Yi, who had no idea her life was about to be totally redirected, there wasn’t the same anticipation.

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When she got to the looking glass, she went through it like Alice – and immediately started having a blast.      

After the two-week bonding time in China, we headed home to Boston – but not to settle into the daily routine of family life. No, we decided to go on a family reunion-style vacation, and headed to Quebec to introduce our new daughter to family members of mine from the East Coast.

A mere 48 hours after getting home – a 57-hour journey with numerous delays and re-routings – we loaded the car, mimed to Bao Yi to buckle up, and proceeded to drive 10 hours to a rustic lakeside camp an hour north of Ottawa.

With the language barrier still firmly in place, and her general lack of US geography, we couldn’t find adequate words to explain to Bao Yi where we were going – or why. Of course, Grace kept talking earnestly about Canada, but to a little girl from Shenzhen City, what did that mean?


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