Don’t Be Afraid
An older child’s touching letter to the children waiting for their families
A message from Chloe’s mother:
Chloe wanted to help older kids who are still waiting for their families to bring them home. She recalled having fear of what it meant to be adopted, to come with me, what would happen to her once home with me, how she would be treated.
So what better way to ease the mind of a child soon to be adopted than a first-hand account of what Chloe recalls?
Here’s the letter she wrote —
My name is Chloe, but in China my name was Min Lu Yun. I lived in XinYang in an orphanage in Henan. I was adopted to America in 2009. You are getting an American family soon, and I wanted to help you know what that means and not be scared.
American people are very nice. They care about you very much. When my mom first came I was scared. I did not know what to expect. I remember she smelled good. She had brought my little sister who was also adopted from China many years before and as a younger child so she did not speak Chinese anymore.
We signed papers. We went to eat. My mom smiled at me often. She wanted me to pick anything I wanted to eat. We pretended our chopsticks were coming out of our ears, or out of our heads, and we laughed.
We went back to a hotel and mom had a suitcase of stuff for me: clothes, shoes, coloring pages and nail polish. I got to play with my new little sister. I took a bath with many bubbles, it was my first bath. I learned my family had picked the American name Chloe for me and it meant “blooming” like a flower. I really liked that because Lu Yun was very hard for them to say.
We had a guide, a Chinese woman who helped us get to appointments we had to go to for my adoption, and who helped my mom go to the store. We went to a big store and bought many things to take back to my orphanage. I got to pick out anything I wanted for me.
Soon we flew on a plane, my first plane ride, to Guangzhou. Every American family goes to Guangzhou to finish the adoption papers to bring you to America. Sometimes I was bored. We waited for papers to get done and I was missing my friends from the orphanage.
But soon it was time to fly to America. It was a very long flight. I noticed in the airport in America no one looked like me now. Many people looked different. Red hair, blue eyes, blond hair, brown eyes. People were tall, short, heavy, thin. All different and interesting. I stayed close to my mom who made sure I was with her and safe.
We got home the next day. I met my new brothers and dad. I was scared of my dad, I had not been around any men who were nice in China. But I soon learned my dad was very nice. Quiet, but he cared about me. Wanted me to be happy.
It was hard at first. I could not talk to anyone in Chinese. I missed Chinese food. I missed smells of China. I cried. My mom and dad had someone come over who could speak Chinese to see if they could help. And they worked with me to teach me English. It seemed so hard at first, but it really was not long and I could ask for things, I could talk to people in my family in English. My mom and dad tried very hard to help me find foods I liked, to understand what I needed when I tried to tell them in English.
I was finding things that were good about America, not forgetting China; I will never do that. But there are good things in America and about having a family. First I always have enough food now. I did not in the orphanage. I have nice clothes, new things, my clothes are washed and clean, I do not have to worry that I will not get my clothes back. My mom takes me shopping when I grow and I got new shoes. In the orphanage I got one pair of shoes and if my feet grew I had to wear them until the next New Year when we got a new pair of shoes. Here, I get new shoes when I need them. And I have more than one pair.
That does not mean my family buys me everything. No. I would like to have a cell phone, I wanted an I pod. I just got an Ipod for Christmas (big American holiday) I do not have a cell phone yet. That is the something my parents have to decide when I can have one. My parents are good to me, they have never hit me. They do not make me do a lot of work, I help by keeping my room clean. I take a turn once a week washing dishes. Americans want to adopt Chinese children to give you a family. That is a very good thing. It gives you people who care for you, who will help you, who will always be there for you, even when you are grown. Family is people you can trust.
You will get an education. Some American families have school at home. Some send you to school in a big yellow bus. I go to school on the bus. My mom made sure to find me a friend who speaks English, and she is my best friend now. She helped me every day to get to classes, to help me understand English. And you get a special teacher to help you learn English too. Teachers here are kind and everyone wants to help you.
It is important to honor your new family, call your new parents, mom and dad. It is not okay to be rude, to be mean to them or to your new brothers or sisters. That is not good to do. You can chose to try, to learn English (practice) and be happy or be sad all the time from missing China. There is much good, so I am very happy and I can still love my China.
Having a family is good. I will always be Chinese, but now I am also American too. My mom says I have the best of both places. I still speak Chinese, my mom found out when I was adopted I had two brothers who were at the orphanage. And she said they would go back for them. I did not believe her at first. I saw pictures of my family and there were five sons, so I thought they did not want my brothers. Now we all have a family. My family love me and your family wants to love you. They want to get to know what you like, what you do not like, they want you to be happy, make friends, give you a chance to have a great future. You can dream here, of what you want to do with your life and actually do it. Be a teacher, be a translator, be a scientist, a nurse, whatever you wish. I get to cook Chinese food. We celebrate Chinese New Year and Moon festival and my family even celebrates each year on the date of when my mom came to China to get me. I get gifts.
I had to learn with my new family that I was important but also ALL the children in the family were important. I am special to them, they wanted me. My parents may tell me no and I do not like that, but they want what is best for me. They teach me about being in America- things that are different than China, so I can learn. They care if I am happy, sad, tired, mad. They treat me the same as their other children even when I was scared and thought they would love the children already here more. They show me that they can love more than one child, they can love many. And I can have a brother with red hair, a dad with blue eyes, it does not matter. I get to teach my family about China.
It is the best thing ever, to have gotten a family. I am not an orphan anymore. My only wish? I wish I had gotten my family sooner. It is funny but my mom says the same thing- she wishes she had ME sooner. I am happy to have them now, that I do not have to grow up forever without a family to care about me.
Many older children are currently waiting for families! One of them could be waiting for you. Learn more on our waiting child page.