On April 15, 2017, Suzanna will turn 14 years old. This day will be a significant fork in the road of her life. While most children expect a celebration on their birthday, Suzanna’s 14th birthday marks something much more substantial. On that day, the door to adoption and a loving, permanent family will close forever — unless a qualified family steps forward now and completes the paperwork to bring her home before then.
In these first thirteen years of life, Suzanna has experienced many dips and twists, yet in every instance she has shown astounding grace and resilience. It is not known when Suzanna’s birth family made the difficult decision not to parent her, but since that time she was raised by a Chinese family who informally adopted her. When she was 8 years old, she was found in the hospital with her adoptive father, who was comatose and approaching death. Since she had no other family able to parent her long-term, she was admitted to the orphanage and became part of a group home. She has been living there ever since.
Suzanna still expresses sadness about her Chinese adoptive father’s death. But this resilient girl was able to adjust quickly to her life in the group home. She is a well-loved member of the home and is valued for her fine character. A caregiver who is close to Suzanna describes her as an honest, hard-working and well-behaved girl. “We are very proud of her,” her caregiver says. And it’s not hard to see why!
Suzanna is a healthy girl. She has a minor vision issue in her right eye, but this could be easily corrected by glasses. She attends school and is an average student who works hard at her studies. She tells us that she enjoys language classes but isn’t very good at math. Suzanna has had many good memories with her friends and teachers at school and hopes that if she is adopted she can continue to be in touch with the people she cares for in China.
Recently Holt’s vice president of the China program, Jian Chen, took Suzanna on a brief family vacation in China. Jian enjoyed her time with Suzanna, noting that she is a quiet, steady, observant girl who is always willing to help out. Always thinking of others, Suzanna declined to help play an April Fool’s Day prank on Jian’s son, saying she just couldn’t do it to him because he had been so kind to her.
Suzanna has been preparing for international adoption for many months and knows what it means to be adopted, having seen several friends go home with loving families. One of Suzanna’s best friends from the group home joined her adoptive family several years ago and the two girls have kept in touch. Suzanna has experienced serious disappointment related to adoption as she waits for a loving, permanent family. But even in this time of waiting and hardship, she continues to shine. She tells us that she would like to be adopted by a family who will love her and treat her well. Thanks to her ongoing connection with her adopted friend, she knows that this might be possible for her, too.
The twists and turns of Suzanna’s life journey have surely left their marks in her heart, but those who know her are touched by her continued hopefulness and caring spirit. We would like to see her life’s road curve in another direction — into the arms of the loving, permanent family she has been waiting for.
Jessica Zeeb | Child Match Coordinator, Holt China Program
If you would like to learn more about Suzanna, please contact Jessica Zeeb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-505-5578.