Joy is awakened by the presence of profound gratitude … IMG_6169 - Version 2


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Chen,

Your daughter, Xincheng Chen, is in our loving care. I am thankful every single day for your sacrifice. I want to weep when I think of what it must have been like for you to surrender your child. Please know that not a day goes by that I am not profoundly and earth-shatteringly grateful for all you’ve given up.

The only comfort I take is in the hope that you know how loved she is. I’d like to tell you about her so that you realize what an amazing child you gave life to. I will humbly try to capture her spirit in words, knowing that mere language could never be enough.

You should know that she loves to dance. She regularly puts on her ballet shoes, complete with a tutu of tulle and a tiara of diamonds, and immerses herself wholly in acts of inspired movement. Her dances often have a beginning and an end, and are almost always set to music, whether it is of her own making or a symphony masterfully created by Beethoven. She raises her arms above her head, raises herself atop her tippy toes, narrows her sparkling eyes and spins, steps and prances as if she is a member of the National Ballet of China. Her dances almost always end with a polite curtsy, or a humble bow.

You should also know that she laughs often and with great abandon. It takes so very little to make her convulse in fits of laughter that take her breath away. Sometimes it’s a joke or a tickle that make her giggle, but often it’s the simple things, like being surprised or realizing her dad hasn’t brushed his hair or her mother hasn’t brushed her teeth.

She is fiercely independent and passionately committed in all she does. When zipping up her some-times-uncooperative jacket, she will persist until she has successfully brought the zipper head to rest snuggly under her chin. When writing anything, she will ask for the letters in sequential order and she will persist until she has the word exactly right.

Most of all, I wanted you to know that she is loved. I know we could never love her the way you would have, but sometimes I think … perhaps we love her as much or even more because we are loving her for both of you as well.

And with tears in my eyes, I write to you today trying to express how grateful we are for your sacrifice. I hope you are not pained over your decision to surrender dear Journey for without this unselfish act, we would never have known this ‘joy’ … this joy without which our world would have surely collapsed.


Christalee Froese

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