This past Saturday six New York families came together for the twelfth time to celebrate the successful adoption of their "Chinese daughters." In late January 1997 we traveled as a group to pick up our daughters in Hefei, Anhui province, a city of 5 million people about 200 miles west of Shanghai.
One year later we gathered around our one year old girls and watched them crawl on the carpet of our living room. They shook rattles, squeezed dolls and played with musical toys that blinked and glowed. We fed the girls milk and baby food. The parents were mostly agile, anxious and loving. How life does quickly move on!
Now picture twelve adults sitting on sofas and chairs, each with a glass of wine, and all discussing whether their daughter should join Facebook and MySpace. Agility had been slowed by arthritis, anxiety by alcohol, and our love had matured.
Meanwhile the girls were together downstairs putting on makeup, eyeliner, lipstick and blush. Some tried on dresses and shoes, others listened to the music of Faith Hill and Katie Perry. Those who could used Facebook or MySpace made their sisters jealous by linking to their home page. And boys? Yes, there was discrete discussion of boys. These girls had come together from Rochester, Scarsdale, Brooklyn, Long Island and Manhattan. But they are all linked together by a single shared event. And they stay in touch via email and text.
They ate turkey chili, pasta, pigs-in-a-blanket, salad and cake. They drank sprite and orange juice. There were a few spills, but nothing disastrous. And our seven pound Maltese, Cleo, tried to stay up with the "big girls" as best she could.
At one point a surprise guest, Katie Couric, came by with a friend to say hello. She is a wonderful role model for our girls. Just take a look:
Georgina, Leah, Halle, Anna, Zoe, Cleo, Katie, Lily, Sydney, Caroline