Many of the dealers that work at Fox Riverwalk Antique Mall were deeply touched by the journey taken by the owner, Joe Apollo’s daughter Terri, 37, her husband Scott, 37 and their children Bill, 16, Alex, 14, Katie, 12 and Rianne, 11. A journey that took them behind the Great Wall of China in an endeavor to adopt Emma and Anna, 2 year old, orphan twins.
After trying to have more children without success, Terri and her husband had come to the conclusion that this was the “Lord’s way of telling them to adopt.” However, it was the inspiration of others, such as a friend and Christian singer: Curtis Chapman who adopted two little girls that set them off on the road to China.
The one child per family policy in China has created a situation where boys are more highly valued and girls are abandoned or killed at birth, this has left orphanages filled with thousands of little girls, Terri explained.
Terri emailed home every day, this was her way of keeping a journal and the dealers hung on every line. Many dealers were deeply moved, sharing in the joy, excitement and quiet whisperings of fear and anticipation that echoed from the pages.
Terri conjured up the fragrance of China in a later email, and emanating from every crevice of her account was the experience of smelling the stench of raw sewage mixed with the mouth-watering smells of Chinese food.
Terri and her family had ventured into a land steeped in culture, renowned for its large cities and facade of prosperity, the great office and apartment buildings hide another world; A world of alley ways that run between the buildings, filled with peddlers and their shacks. The buildings constantly drip with water and occasional signs adorn the buildings warning: Beware of the rats.
There are the elaborate temples, incredible street artists that work in every alley reproducing works of art for as little as 15 cents per oil painting. It is the land of many bicycles, a land that reveals a stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots. A land where only scrawny cats wander the streets that are too thin to be shanghaied.
In Terri’s account however, she expressed that despite the facade, “The country itself was beautiful…outside the major cities, it was mostly farms, with people literally working in the rice paddies. There was much poverty.” Terri’s feeling overall was one of hope for a country about to flourish.
They were received by the Chinese people well, the Chinese were fascinated by the children’s blonde hair and Terri said that, “Probably more than 20 people had their pictures taken with our kids.”
Causing quite a sensation by just being there, Terri said, “One day in the park, a group of people asked us to sing an American song for them, so we sang ‘Take me out to the ball game’ for them!”
Filled with the burning desire to finally be united with their twins, to behold and to hug them, the family arrived in Nanchang, the twins’ hometown. Huddled by their hotel room door, they all took turns peering through the peephole, their hearts fluttering, and the waiting, long; it was only two hours but it must have seemed like a lifetime.
Finally the moment arrived. Terri said, “It is hard to describe the feeling when we finally saw them after we had waited five months since seeing their pictures. Very happy and relieved to finally have them.”
Almost immediately the twins seemed to understand them, despite the fact that they had never met any other English-speaking people. Both Anna and Emma liked to be held and would stretch out their arms to be lifted up.
Since arriving in America Terri says, “They have been great! No adjustment problems whatsoever…They are clearly very happy… (They) finally started to like American food, although we try to feed them as much Chinese food as possible…Their English is developing rapidly, they are little chatterboxes! … Their favorite show is Barney, they love to ride in the car and they especially love watching their brothers playing volleyball. Terri and Scott have bought a new extended vehicle to fill their families needs; the number plate reads: 6 FROM GOD.
Scott is a Physician and Terri does home schooling. Terri said,” We want to be the primary influence on our children’s lives…we don’t want them to live daily in the evil that is so prevalent (and accepted) in our schools today, such as drug and alcohol use, gang violence, premarital sex etc., and choose rather to teach them about these things in the light of Christian Values in our home.”
Terri studied at Waukesha County Technical College and Scott went to U.W. Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Grandpa Joe adores his little China dolls and proudly displays pictures of all his grandchildren. He is just tickled pink! Grandma Rosemary loves to spend time with them teaching them nursery rhymes.
Emma and Anna survived against all odds; what began as a mere glimmer of hope, became a journey of faith that brought home two little Chinese lanterns of love.