Guo Jiaming (郭家明), chief of Beijing-based adoption agency Love of Bridge, says his company began offering "root-seeking" services in 2009. The company has seen a growth in demand.Since we moved to China for 5 months in 2007, not surprisingly, I think this is a great thing! Not that 5 months is really moving to China! We would like to do this again, and stay longer next time. I saw the first trip back as kind of a practice run, with the girls only 6 & 3, not quite knowing how we'd do without our usual support system. We loved every minute of it! I can't apply for another Fulbright grant for quite a while, so we'll have to find some other way to get back there. . . .
"Last year, 300-400 [international adoptive] families come to us for this service," says Guo.
For some families, however, a quick trip and tour are not enough. Some families are actually relocating to China, where their children can form balanced cultural identities and parents themselves can satisfy their own wanderlust.
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Irish couple Ray Heraty and Sinead O’Donovan, both 39, were living in the United States when they began a three-year adoption process.
A China adventure grew appealing as they waited for their daughter, Jin, and was finalized when they picked her up in Nanchang at the end of 2008.
“Most of the other (adoptive parents) couldn’t wait to get out of China,” Heraty recalls of parents who waited with them in Guangzhou for their children’s immigrant visa. “We loved everything about it.”
Less than a year later, Heraty took a leave of absence from his job as a pilot and followed his wife’s work to China.
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By living in China, they're hoping that a connection to the children’s home culture will give them a stronger sense of identity and self-worth.
“The whole issue of identity for adopted kids is really important,” Elizabeth says.
Here's our blog from that time: Xiamen Adventure.