My name is Sadie Jo Li Larson. I was found abandoned in a market in Hunan, China when I was less than a year old. I was placed in the Chang De orphanage and given the name Chang Li Chun, meaning Spring. Luckily, there was love and happiness awaiting me. My parents, Steve and Linda Larson, came all the way from California to adopt me once I was 16 months old. They used the adoption agency Holt to proceed with the steps needed to adopt me.
On March 29th, 1999 we became a family.
We share the date with other families adopting girls from the same orphanage, with whom my parents traveled with. Special shoutout to Cadie March for being my "twin" and cheering me on for all of these years!
The first meeting was met with moments of overjoy for both of my parents as well as anxiousness. They were so excited to start our family and could not wait until they could spend their lives with me. Little me was in awe of what was happening and remained quiet, and stiff while the orphanage director and caretakers handed me over. After the initial night I instantly found comfort in being with my parents and moved around the hotel room, filling it with laughter and joy.
After a few more weeks completing the paperwork and transition process we were on our flight home to Ontario, California! At home we were a cozy little family but something was missing, a baby sister. After a year my parents started up the adoption process again and applied through Holt. Since they used the same agency and the agency knew what amazing people my parents were, they reached out to them about a beautiful little girl in Vietnam who was in need of family. She had been categorized as having a special need due to a lack of nutirtion. After seeing a picture of her in the Holt newsletter they knew that she was their daughter. The days leading up to going to Vietnam to adopt her I was so excited and helped my parents buy her clothes and set up a room for her. There is a video of me giving my future sister a tour of the house she would be living in. At one point in the video I was showing her a bed and I hit my head so hard you could hear the thunking sound. My excitement got the best of me though and I barely registered the pain with a simple "ow" and continued to talk to the camera.
On February 5, 2001 we adopted Sophie Lan Larson. Her birth mother had given her the Vietnamese Phuong Lan, meaning flower, and similar to me our parents wanted to include some of her cultural name into her American name, hence the middle name Lan.
After her adoption process we flew back home and lived in Minnesota for a while until returning back to California. My family and I currently live in Southern California. My parents are two of the most amazing people to have ever existed. They are wonderful parents and have done so much to raise me and Sophie for the past 19 years. Sophie and are are both currently in college and our parents receive us with warm hugs whenever we go back home for vacations. I am pursuing an electrical engineering bachelor's degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and my sister is pursuing a cognitive science bachelor's degree at the University of California, Irvine.