Son to enjoy first Thanksgiving with new family
When it comes to who has traveled the farthest for the Daun family Thanksgiving this year, it would have to be 4-year-old Adam, who came all the way from China to be with his new family.
Adam Christopher Daun arrived in Hudson just a month ago after being adopted by Mark Daun and Julie Dawson. The couple went to China to pick up their son, who spent his early years in an orphanage but more recently with foster parents.
Daun and Dawson had originally wanted to adopt an infant but when they heard it would take several years to get a baby, they decided to adopt an older child like Adam. They decided to adopt a Chinese child because they heard that the process was very streamlined and well-run and that the children in the program were healthy and well taken care of. It took just four and a half months to adopt Adam from start to finish.
Dawson said she had only to look at his photo to know she had found her son.
"First of all, the photo was so cute and then we read the description of his personality and what he was like and we knew he was the one."
Daun said the description they read of Adam was right on the money.
"They said he was happy and bright and very persistent. They wrote that when he played basketball he wouldn't quit until he made a basket. We saw that right away."
Adam was given over to the care of his parents just three days after they arrived in China. The family stayed there for two weeks while the adoption was finalized and they got to know one another. Adam took to his parents quickly and his transition has been smooth for the most part despite the fact that his parents don't speak Chinese and he doesn't know any English.
"We can tell a little about his life before from the way he acts. I think things were pretty regimented. He is very particular about a lot of things. The blankets on his bed have to be just so. He is very thorough for a 4-year-old," said Dawson.
His parents say he is a very loving boy and happy -- "except when he's not," said his mother, which seems to be a universal description of 4-year-olds.
Language hasn't been as big a barrier as one might expect, according to Daun and Dawson. Adam has already acquired an English vocabulary of around 200 words and was anxious to demonstrate how he could count to 10. He knows the words for all the important things to a boy his age -- milk, apple, banana and his personal favorite, camera.
While his parents were being interviewed, Adam carefully borrowed this reporter's camera and took several very well-composed photos including one of the family cats.
His parents say that he gets frustrated once in a while trying to make himself understood, but they are learning to communicate in other ways that are working well. He occasionally will tell them what is apparently a very important or funny story, all in his native Mandarin. "We've learned to laugh on cue."
Children like Adam tend to lose most of their native language within a year of their adoption. Daun and Dawson say that as he grows up they intend to expose Adam to as much as they can about both his culture and his language, and they look forward to taking a family trip back to China when he is older.
Dawson, an attorney with Thomson Reuters in Eagan, Minn., will be returning to work after the holidays, but is confident Adam will adjust well to daycare. "He will be seeing all his cousins over Thanksgiving. I'm really looking forward to them meeting and getting to know each other. And he's been to the Giggle Factory and doesn't seem to have any trouble making friends."
Daun, an engineer with Preio Laser of Somerset, said their adoption experience through Crossroads in Hudson and in China has all been positive. "We just found it to be the best option out there, both because of the short time it took and by the way it was run. And because of Adam. He is healthy and happy. We couldn't be more pleased."
And by all appearances, Adam agrees with his dad.
Crossroads Adoption Services
Crossroads is located at 911 Fourth St., Suite 214. The non-profit, non-sectarian agency places children of all ages. Adoptions are available in the following countries: Nepal, Philippines, Colombia, Ethiopia, China and the United States.
Crossroads holds monthly information meetings at its offices. The next meeting is Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. For more information, call (715) 386-5550 or visit www.crossroadsadoption.com.