Adopted Teen Finds His Biological Parents
One Teen, Two Families: Christian Norris’ mother Julia adopted him from China in 2001. He remembered little from his early childhood, but his mother took notes. She was able to track down his biological parents, who had simply lost him while traveling by bus. On Friday night, East Coast time, Christian was reunited with his birth parents in Beijing. His U.S. mom was by his side.
(Aug. 28) – As most American teens plan their return to school, Christian Norris planned a different return –- to China, and the biological parents he thought had abandoned him.
Three years ago, Christian, now 17, asked his adoptive mother, Julia Norris, if she could look for his birth parents.
This summer, she found them. And what she discovered shocked relatives on opposite sides of the world. His family had not abandoned him. Instead, they had been separated by a tragic mistake, when his father lost him while they were traveling by bus. The parents say they never intended to let their son go.
This weekend, they welcomed him back.
The e-mails the parents exchanged tell the story.
“The world is so big, yet the love of a mother is even beyond that,” Christian’s Chinese father, Jin Gaoke, wrote. “A foreigner just devotes all the selfless love to a Chinese child, what an amazing internationalism! You are a great mother and I bow to you.”
Julia Norris’ mother, Joyce Norris, helped tell her daughter’s story, one that’s made headlines from CNN to The Baltimore Sun to daily newspapers in China. Her daughter was unavailable — she was traveling.
Julia Norris also tells her story on her blog. In 2000 Norris, a single woman of 33, journeyed on a mission with an adoption agency to China. There, a young boy captivated her. His Chinese name was Jing Jiacheng. He was found under a bridge in 1998, alone and in shock. Police couldn’t find his parents, so he was available for adoption.
Julia Norris, who wanted to be a mother but had planned on marrying first, couldn’t stop thinking about him, Joyce Norris said.
In the spring of 2001, she formally adopted him, and he came to live with her in tiny Easton, Md., near the Chesapeake Bay.
Over the years she jotted down whatever he recalled of his Chinese childhood. After her son asked her to search for his birth parents, Julia Norris tried to piece together what she could. She enlisted the help of a Chinese attorney. She scoured the Web.
This summer, she received an e-mail from Christian’s biological father, a doctor whose wife –– Christian’s mother -– had breast cancer.
He begged for his son’s forgiveness and asked to meet him.
Norris replied on behalf of her son.
“I hope in some small way you can find peace now knowing that during the time he was missing from your lives he was treated well and very much loved by his American family,” she wrote.
“My hope is that Christian never feels emotionally torn between two families that both love him dearly, but instead that he can think of us as one big family that now spans two great nations! I hope your family will also do the same.”
Christian, it turns out, had been raised partly by an uncle in China. Reports differ about exactly how he got lost, but all of the stories agree that the boy was separated from his father when traveling by a bus. That was in 1998.
Traveling to China this summer wasn’t easy on the family. In addition to Christian, Norris has a 6-year-old daughter she also adopted from China. As Joyce Norris said: “There’s too much month for the money” for the still-single mom.
But then an anonymous donor from the Norris’ church gave the family two plane tickets. Julia Norris’ boss bought a third ticket, her mother said. And a fund at a local bank accepted donations.
On Thursday, Julia Norris, her brother, her sister and Christian flew to Beijing to meet Christian’s Chinese parents. They planned the trip quickly, in case his birth mother’s health flagged suddenly.
At around 9 p.m. Friday night East Coast time, Christian reunited with his biological parents.
“The birth family was waiting for us when we walked into the room,” Julia Norris wrote on her blog. “As soon as the family laid eyes on Christian there were outbursts of tears. His birthfather literally knelt down in front of Christian holding his hands and sobbed. ”
Later the families ate together and took a boat ride.
Christian’s Chinese grandmother clutched the boy’s hand, Julia Norris wrote, like she never wanted to let it go.
(Tags: Chinese, Adoption, International Adoption)