This site is dedicated to our two adopted children from China, Yanmei and Daji.

Click on their faces to read the stories of their adoptions

Yanmei was born in or around Jinchang, Gansu Province, in October 1997 and adopted in February 2000. Yanmei was left outside the Jinchang Social Welfare Institute three weeks after her birth and lived at the Welfare Institute until we adopted her.

Daji was born in or around Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, in November 1999 and adopted in October 2002. Daji, was left outside the Yiwu Social Welfare Institute two days after his birth. Daji was born with a cleft lip and gum, which was probably the reason why a boy was abandoned - usually it's the girls that are abandoned. He was operated on his lip in China in July 2001. His gum will be operated in Denmark at a later stage.

The story that this site tells, is of two children with very different personalities and very different reactions to actually being adopted. When we collected Yanmei, she couldn't walk alone, couldn't speak Chinese and made no attempt to make any contact with us. She was naturally scared and her reaction was to close herself in, and just let whatever was about to happen, happen. Daji on the other hand, was very mobile, spoke and understood Chinese and whilst initially timid, very quickly attached himself to Steven. Already the first day he showed us that he was very strong willed, very loud and at times hysterical. Their ages, at the time of their respective adoptions, differed by only 7 months, Daji being almost 3 and Yanmei 2 years and 5 months, yet their capabilities reflected the difference between a one year-old and a three-year old.

The reason we have decided to put pen to paper (or hit the computer keyboard in this case) is four-fold:

To act as a reminder for us, both of our unbelievable trips to China and the process that preceded the actual trip; as well as a chronicle of Yanmei’s and Daji's early years in Denmark. If either of them shows any interest in learning about their past, all the information we have, is here.

As a poor compensation for the “lost” years that Daji and Yanmei spent in their respective Social Welfare Institutes. Use of the word "poor" should not be seen as any reflection on the staff at the Social Welfare Institutes, who clearly loved and cared for the children that they looked after. We use the word “poor”, as clearly this site cannot replace the pictures or memories of biological children growing up – learning to walk, saying their first words, keeping you awake at night, etc., which in turn means that we can't share these stories of with them - stories that our biological son loved to hear during his infant years. However we have another, different story to tell, and it is this story that the site tells. We hope that by documenting the precious memories of those first days together, and what we have later learnt (and in the future learn) about the places that they spent their first years, we can go some way towards giving Yanmei and Daji historical identities. Hopefully this will help them better adapt to the ups and downs of life as adoptive children.

In a time, where adoption is becoming more and more commonplace, despite the barriers of increased costs and waiting times, we'd like to show that it's really well worth the effort. If our site can encourage just one more family to go down the adoption path, what an added bonus that would be.

To help coming adoptive parents. We hope that the site gives some insight to the ups and downs of adopting 'older' children - and by older I mean children in the age range 2-3-4 years old. We also hope to show that it isn't always 'plain sailing' when meeting your new child for the first time. We had an very easy time with Yanmei and a difficult time with Daji. Our meeting with Daji cannot compare to the occasional tragic story one hears when adopting children, but we hope that this description will help coming parents be more prepared for a "what if" situation, and what they might expect when they meet their child - and the wonders that these children bring to their forever parents once the initial hurdle has been passed.

Today we have no idea whether Yanmei or Daji will be interested in learning about their past; or if they do show an interest, when this interest will materialise – perhaps in their teenage years, perhaps in conjunction with the birth or growing up of their own children. However we don’t want to take any chances. As the passing years play havoc on our memory, who knows what we will be able to recall in a few years time.

Both Yanmei's and Daji's sites are mirror images of each other. Each is split into four main sections: 

The first section describes the approval process; i.e. the process that we went through to be approved as adopters, and the actual referrals of Jin Yanmei and Ni Da.

The second section describes our trips to China in 2000 and 2002.

When adopting from China, it is necessary for the Social Services to write two status reports that are sent to the Chinese authorities; one after six months and one after a year. To do this, our Social Worker made several visits to first meet Yanmei and then Daji, and wrote a report following each visit. We have made these reports available in the third section called New Home. In addition we also wrote some reports to compliment the reports made by the Social Worker - we have also made these reports available. Finally we have also added other titbits of information that we have noted during their early years in Denmark, and lots of pictures.

The final section describes what we know about their environment prior to coming to Denmark, not least their Social Welfare Institutes. Whilst the Yiwu Social Welfare Institute has been visited by a number of adoptive parents and children,  our knowledge about Jinchang and it's Social Welfare Institute is very limited, but will hopefully increase over time -  perhaps via somebody visiting Jinchang and the institute.  

With this site we have tried to give an open and honest account of the meetings with our children and our first days and years together. Clearly we hope that this site will inspire somebody, somewhere to consider adoption as an alternative, or help a future parent be a little more prepared for the first days with their new son or daughter. However on saying all of the above, I would like to stress that the site has been designed for Yanmei, Daji and the rest of our family, rather than an adoption resource on the internet. 

Whilst I've tried to optimise the pictures so that they download quickly - this hasn't been my primary concern. Likewise the site is best seen with a screen resolution 1024 * 768 or above - some scrolling will be needed with lower resolutions (sorry!). You can also select a smaller text size in your browser under the menu View --> Text size - this sometimes helps.

Finally I'd like to thank the people that have let me use their pictures on the site: Heidi, Conny, Dorthe and Lars in Denmark; Peppe and Lotta in Sweden; Jodi, Joan and Will, David and Claire, Ralph and Franice in the U.S. and Mary and Tony in Canada. A very special thanks goes to Mary for her support, feedback and good ideas whilst developing the site.

Copenhagen, March 2003
Copenhagen, January 2006