Holt China Tour Blog: Annabel Meets Her Foster Mom

Ten-year-old Holt adoptee Annabel Horvath reunites with her foster mom and visits her finding site on the 2015 Holt China Family Tour. This post originally appeared on the blog Bringing Home Annabel.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
YUANLING

As our travel group prepared to depart for our respective provinces, the larger group of adopted girls all became a bit pensive and introspective. It was clear they were all preparing themselves for the days to come. We all parted ways and our family left for the town of Yuanling in the Hunan Province to see Annabel’s orphanage and meet her foster mother.

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In Yuanling, we were able to reunite Annabel with her foster mother, and the orphanage where she was found. Just as we did nine years ago on Annabel’s Gotcha Day, our family has been anticipating this day ever since we started planning the trip. We took a short video of the moment Annabel and her foster mom met again after nine years. She was very sweet with Annabel and clearly loved her very much. Annabel gave her a few gifts, and then she asked several questions about Annabel’s life in the U.S. and what she did for sports and more importantly, how she did in school. Then, without a word, she jumped up and started braiding Annabel’s hair. Annabel, who would normally have protested this kind of activity, did not make a peep of resistance. Andrea said that this all made sense as Annabel did not have enough hair when she was a baby to braid, so her foster mom must have wanted to do this for some time.

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We saw the “finding place” (a large Oak tree), where Annabel, wrapped in a blanket, was found by the orphanage staff, which was literally right outside the door to the orphanage dining hall. We were very surprised to find the orphanage itself is now a home for the elderly, and there are no children there. There are no babies left at the orphanage anymore in Yuanling, which is a fantastic thing. Generally speaking, there are no children in China being adopted out internationally anymore unless they have special needs. For a variety of reasons, Chinese babies are finding homes in China which is a positive development. Yuanling is a city of over 100,000 people and the main streets of the city have sky rise buildings. It’s still mainly a farming community, but is clearly growing fast. There was construction going on everywhere, and new buildings were being erected on every block.

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We had lunch and dinner with the orphanage director and her staff. They were extraordinarily hospitable. In the evening, we went for a walk near the river that flows through the city. The area was a large square where vendors sold all sorts of goods and foods. The square itself was like a carnival. People were line dancing all over the place. There were several separate groups, each with a different set of dance leaders, music and dances. Mia and Annabel also jumped into the dance, and participated in some of the other carnival activities like this crazy car.

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At the end of the evening, we said goodbye to Annabel’s foster mom, and it was a tearful moment. She asked Annabel to visit China and Yuanling often.

Andrea Horvath | Oakland, California

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