Jeff Lutes

Orphan Reunion: Two Kids from China Meet in Texas After a Decade

Filed By Jeff Lutes | June 13, 2011 10:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: deaf people, orphan, parenting

Last Friday I got a call from a friend who was supervising an event at the Texas School for the Deaf. The "Family Weekend Retreat" invites parents with deaf children from around the state to come to Austin for a few days of fun and connection. My friend said she had just met a family that adopted a deaf boy from China last year. This couple had finalized the adoption three days before the boy's 14th birthday - most likely saving his life, since Chinese officials toss kids out of the orphanage and into the streets when they reach that age. Given that my son is also 14, deaf, and adopted from China (my partner and I went to get him in December of 2000 when he was four years old), my friend thought the boys might enjoy meeting and suggested we come to the event.At the orphanage.jpg

When we arrived, the two teens began chatting instantly. I introduced myself to the boy's parents and within 45 seconds we were all stunned - mouths wide open. It turns out that both my son and their son lived in the same orphanage in Nanjing, China - and here is the eerie part - at the same time!

When we got home, I immediately dug up the photo album of our trip to China 10 and a half years ago. Lo and behold, I realized I had not one, but two, photos of the now 14-year-old boy when he was only four. One of those photos (on the right) is of my son (in red) and their son (in blue) goofing around in the playground at the orphanage.

Call it chance, fate, a God thing, a cosmic alignment of the planets - or whatever best fits your personal belief about such things. All I know is that this parenting gig is full of magical moments and my heart is constantly overcome by unexpected blessings. What are the mathematical odds that two deaf children in east China with the same orphanage nannies would find each other again over a decade later in central Texas? Astronomical.

I hold back tears when I consider how this boy waited for so many years to find his forever family. I shudder at the terror he must have felt, knowing he was 72 hours from sleeping alone on the streets of Nanjing. I rejoice because, instead, he now has a family that will love and cherish him for a lifetime.

Sometimes I am distracted by the daily grind, endless errands, and nonstop worries that go along with parenting my own children. I fail to remember that every child, every person, and every loving relationship is a precious gift to be protected. Tonight when I climb the stairs to kiss my sleeping kids on the forehead, I will breathe in one simple truth and vow to never forget it again.

Love is all that matters. Everything else is inconsequential.


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Lisa Rogers | June 13, 2011 10:57 AM

Thanks for sharing and showing up, pal! Go, Daddio!

What a truly touching story Jeff....and one that has so many truths on different levels.....and therefore should be shared with as many people as possible.

I particularly liked the way you phrased this para.

"Call it chance, fate, a God thing, a cosmic alignment of the planets - or whatever best fits your personal belief about such things. All I know is that this parenting gig is full of magical moments and my heart is constantly overcome by unexpected blessings. What are the mathematical odds that two deaf children in east China with the same orphanage nannies would find each other again over a decade later in central Texas? Astronomical."

it would be a waste of time to argue how this happened.....we can all just stand back in awe and say how amazing for you, the children and all the families involved.

Amazing story. I've been re-telling it everywhere. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks Jeff,

Amazing story. What does Nikko have to say about it?

Niko is thrilled. He understands the odds and can't believe he met someone he use to play with at the orphanage in China. We have received several emails from the boy's parents saying he can't stop talking about it. So, we are hopeful that they will maintain a friendship.