YANMEI AND DAJI
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
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
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:
act as a reminder for us, both of our unbelievable trips to
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Yanmei's and Daji's sites are mirror images of each other. Each is
split into four main sections:
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
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.
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.
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