CNN World News

American couple finds joy in Chinese adoption

[Hollander and Meiming]

Mei Ming part of a growing trend

September 13, 1995
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT)

From Correspondent Andrea Koppel

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Her name is Mei Ming. She is a happy, healthy eight-month-old Chinese baby girl, and she is the newly adopted daughter of Americans Ron Hollander and Virginia Cornue. Today the family lives in Beijing, where 53-year-old Ron is a Fulbright scholar and 50-year-old Virginia is a doctoral candidate in anthropology.

Their decision to adopt in China came after years of trying to conceive on their own and more years of trying, again unsuccessfully, to adopt in the United States. Once in China, they said, they were surprised by how quickly and efficiently the Chinese government processed the adoption.

"They said, `Do you want a girl or a boy?'" Cornue said. "Well, that stopped us because we didn't know that there'd be any boy babies available. There are boys with minor handicaps available. But we said, 'Oh, well, just give us a girl.'"

Until the day they adopted her, the only thing Cornue and Hollander knew about their prospective daughter was what they could see in a tiny black-and-white photo. So with videocamera in hand and their hearts in their throats, they documented their journey in June to an orphanage in Wuhan.

[Meiming] After the magical moment when they first saw their daughter- to-be, "that was it. We were a family with a kid," Cornue said. But not just any family with a kid. Both Cornue and Hollander are older than the average parent. But their ages did not cause a problem in China, where the minimum age to adopt is 35. (230k AIFF sound)

For Hollander and Cornue, adopting a girl was the natural decision in a traditional society that tends to favor boys. Also, the two are longtime feminists who were concerned for years about improving the lives of women back in the United States. Hollander said he is furious that anybody would abandon his beautiful little girl, but also thankful in a way, because otherwise, they wouldn't have her. (264k AIFF sound)

[Graphic of visas for children] According to officials at the U.S. Embassy, adoptions of orphaned or abandoned Chinese girls by American families have skyrocketed. In 1988 the embassy issued only 11 visas for immigrant children. By last year that figure had increased to more than 1,000. And in the first eight months of this year, more than 1,500 visas already have been processed.

"I don't want to sound like a salesperson or anything, but I find myself doing that increasingly," Hollander said. "I mean, people are looking for a child, and they want a child who is reasonably healthy, identifiable, is there, and is in great need. They should come to China."

For Cornue and Hollander, Mei Ming has been a gift, a messenger about what is really important in life, such as laughter and patience. And because they are older parents, they said, they are making the most of every day they have with their daughter. Their feelings are reflected in the name they chose for her: "Mei Ming" means "beautiful tomorrow," the couple's wish for their child.


Copyright © 1995 Cable News Network, Inc.