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China adoption diary: Join the odyssey to adopt Madeleine

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Courtesy of the Belsie family

(Read caption) During their journey to China, the Belsie family visited the Maoming Social Welfare Institute, where they adopted their first daughter, Grace, from in 2003.

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When you talk to adoptive parents, you often hear about that moment when you “know.” Some call it divine, some call it psychological – but it’s that moment of certainty when you lock on and the child is yours, no question.

For me, that moment came quickly. In the half-light of a Pennsylvania motel room where we took our daughter the night after she was born and her birth mother handed her to me. Out of the flannel bundle in my arms, her eyes twinkled and demanded my gaze – we stared at each other, and … I knew. Mine; beyond DNA, beyond any relinquishments or court proceedings, my child.

This moment happens every day with adoptions all over the world. And, I’m here to tell you it’s the antidote to the adoption angst that media and popular psychology seem to focus on, such as infertility grief, bureaucratic tangles, and the uncertainties of timing. Most adoption goes right, just like most births go right.

And that’s what stands out to me in every adoption – the beauty of a family morphing into new and enduring shapes that bring love and, yes, the challenges that burnish that love. When Monitor business editor Laurent Belsie made the rounds of the newsroom in May with a photo of a little dark-haired girl his family was setting off to adopt in China – I knew we were all going to be fortunate witnesses.

Laurent’s newsroom rounds more typically involve his 10-year-old daughter Grace, a prodigy of poise and vocabulary (not to mention an adorable smile) who carries a basket of homemade cookies or leftover Halloween candy from desk to desk, melting hearts and deadlines. Everyone here in the newsroom has watched Grace grow since Laurent and his wife Gretchen brought her home from China in 2003.

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