Left Behind by Kay Bratt on March 31, 2011 Imagine this—you bring home your 9-year-old adopted daughter after years of waiting and you cannot reach the sorrow that she is expressing through her evening ritual of tears. You go to an online translator and through exchanges your daughter tells you she misses her sister. With more questions and probing, you are astonished to find out your daughter has left behind her twin sister and is grieving the separation. You were never told she had a sibling, much less a twin. This is not a fictional story and it probably happens more than we know. But these girls are possibly a bit different than some siblings who are separated at birth—Anna and her sister, Audrey [as Anna has now named her], were raised together in a loving foster home for years. The twins have one major difference to contend with—Audrey is blind. When the directors decided that Audrey was ready to attend a school for the blind, she had to leave her sister to reside at the school during the week and in the orphanage on weekends and holidays. But despite the financial hardships and the 2 hours driving time each way, the amazing foster parents of these girls took Anna to see her sister at least once per month until the time that Anna left China.
For Nikki to witness her daughter’s anguish was excruciating and prompted Nikki to find out more. Luckily, Anna could remember the phone number of her foster parents and through a friend from China, Nikki was able to contact the family and verify all of the startling information and even receive photos of the girls together. She was told that Anna’s sister is not considered approved for adoption, but the directors have been open enough to send information pertaining to the girl’s current wellbeing. Nikki was even able to arrange a phone call for Anna to speak to her sister during Chinese New Year when the foster family received her for a visit. Anna has explained to her mom all the reasons she worries about her sister and one of her concerns is that the children in the orphanage have a history of taking the clothes and shoes the foster family brings for Audrey and exchanging them for old, worn ones. She said they even take Audrey’s food if no one is there to stand guard.
It is obvious that Anna was ‘Audrey’s eyes’ and now she feels her sister is left without anyone to protect or guide her through each day. In the middle of trying to bond with her new daughter, Nikki is also trying to help her daughter deal with this blow and has even encouraged Anna to remember her sister. They have framed the treasured pictures of the girls posed together and hung them on the family walls. Anna has one framed photo of her sister that she keeps in her room and at night she tucks it under the covers beside her, so that she can feel close to her sister as she falls asleep. Heartbreaking—I can’t even imagine! I am a twin and this story has torn at my emotions like no other. I’m sure that Anna has to feel some sort of guilt that she is living a life that both of them have probably dreamed of, while her sister is still left behind in China. Like me, you are probably screaming inside that you hope Anna’s family can also adopt Audrey so that the girls can be reunited. But life isn’t always so simple and this story is proof of that. Nikki and her husband now have 4 children, all close in age. During the paper chase and agonizing waiting, they felt that Anna coming home would make their family complete. Obviously during this time they had no knowledge of a twin or it would have changed everything. Financially, emotionally, and realistically another adoption for their family is just not feasible. But Nikki has reached out to the adoption community around her in the hopes that a family would come forward and feel like Audrey is meant to join them. We don’t know what would need to be done to facilitate changing her status, but the first step would be for a paper-ready family to declare they want to parent Audrey. [and it would be amazing if a family in Wisconsin would be chosen so that the girls could grow up in close proximity.] Anna’s family does not want to push this tragedy to the back of their minds and go on with their life. They have researched and reached out to try to find a way to help Audrey but feel that they still do not have a resolution. What am I asking from all of you? Advice. Perhaps by some miracle we can find a family for Audrey and people who know the steps to help her will come forward and offer assistance. Some questions I have are what type of assistance is out there for special needs children of her status if she should be adopted? Financial assistance? Many times I have a family tell me they are interested but not financially able to adopt or provide for future needs. Can any of you calm those fears with your own stories? It is also my hopes that you will put the link to this story on your own social sites for others to read, and perhaps a miracle for these sisters will emerge.