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Adopted girls get new families, familiar friends

From: The Grand Rapids Press, MI - May 27, 2004

Thursday, May 27, 2004
By Gary W. Morrison
The Grand Rapids Press

Four girls raised together in a Chinese orphanage will have a chance to play together, go to school together, attend church together and eat ice cream together after their adoption by two area families.

Last week, Grace Lin Post, 14, and Summer Docter, 13, arrived in Grand Rapids with their adopted mothers. When the girls met their adopted fathers, brothers and sisters, they also were reunited with two girls who lived with them in the same orphanage in Nanjing, China.

Grace Lin is the adopted daughter of Charley and Elaine Post, while Summer is the adopted daughter of Wendy and Art Docter. Their new families in Grand Rapids include their friends from China, Anna Mei Post, 10, and Amy Docter, 10.

The Docters and the Posts live within a mile of each other. Their adoption reunites the girls after two years apart.

The four girls grew up as friends, yet knew that adoption would split them. But the wheels were set in motion to bring all four girls to the United States after the Docters adopted Amy two years ago.

"We have four biological children, but have it in our hearts to adopt," Wendy Docter said. "Besides Amy and now Summer, we have three other adopted children." Olivia, 8, and Ahni, 6, are from China and Melea, 7, is from the United States.

The Posts have three biological children ages 20, 18 and 10. Grace Lin and Anna Mei are their only adopted children. They adopted Grace Lin the day before she turned 14, just within the age limit that the Chinese government allows children to be adopted, Charley Post said.

"Anne Mei was adopted by us this February," he said. "It is the first time under current adoption rules that the United States and China have allowed an American family to adopt two children from China in the same year."

Summer, like Amy, is profoundly deaf. But after the Docters adopted Amy two years ago, they arranged for her to have a cochlear implant in hopes of restoring her hearing and speech.

"We're in the process of testing Summer right now, and everything looks good to restore her hearing," Art Docter said. "We were allowed to adopt because of the care and other medical services that are available in this area for children like Amy and Summer."

The Posts and Docters adopted their children through Chinese Children Adoption International in Denver. That agency handled 800 adoptions last year.

The families are still celebrating the arrival of the newest additions to their families. Grace Lin and Summer are learning how to swing and swim and are visiting such places as the mall and zoo.

Every day is a new experience for the girls, Art Docter said. In their house, the younger girls are teaching the older girls what it is like to be in a family, he said.

"Everyone in the family had to sacrifice something so we can bring these children into our home," Art Docter said. "To show our appreciation to our children, we're doing a family celebration of thanks for what they have had to give up."

© 2004 Grand Rapids Press.



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