“There is an ancient Chinese belief that an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all those who are destined to be together. A king and queen rule a beautiful and peaceful land. They should be full of joy and contentment, but they both feel a strange pain that worsens every day. Then a peddler’s magic spectacles reveal a red thread pulling at each of their hearts. The king and queen know they must follow the thread — wherever it may lead. Grace Lin’s lovely adoption fairy tale is for all children and the parents who would search the world to find them.”
The Red Thread – an Adoption
Fairy Tale by Grace Lin
One very small boy living in an orphanage in China and one very anxious family in Huxley are only a red thread apart.
Seven thousand miles and mountains of official paperwork separate Mike and Jessica Leeds and their three American children from who they fondly refer to as Tyeson, their son in China. They have begun the adoption process to bring Tyeson Wu Leeds home to Iowa.
When Tyeson was 2 years old, he was abandoned on the side of a road in southern China. He was taken to an orphanage and eventually underwent surgery to repair three different medical issues in his heart. He was placed in foster care for a short time and then moved to a smaller orphanage. According to Jessica Leeds, it was rough couple years for this little guy.
“We have named him Tyeson Wu Leeds, Wu being his Chinese name,” Leeds explained. “He is now 4 years old and has Ellis Van Creveld Syndrome, a mild, but rare form of dwarfism. He also was born with three different birth defects of his heart.”
Even though Mike and Jessica have three children, they had always considered adopting an older child.
“It’s not an easy thing to adopt in the United States,” tells Jessica. “We really were not searching for a child. Some of our other family members have adopted children and one member in particular is a very passionate advocate for adoption.”
When the family learned about Wu in China, they fell hard.
“We have the ability and the capability to bring Tyeson home to a loving family,” Jessica explained. “This wasn’t just a leap for us. Two years ago we considered adopting a domestic, healthy infant from an ideal situation. But then we learned about Tyeson, a child with special needs and an international adoption on top of it, and we could not turn our backs to this child.”
The Leeds were prepared for endless documents and that’s what they encountered. Documents that needed to go to the correct people to be signed at the correct time.
“After the first week we got the hang of it,” she said. “Now it’s been a month, and every single day there are additional papers to fill out. We work through an agency in Seattle, and it is a huge process in all directions. We went through a home study interview and then a 20-page document with really tough questions that eventually will make it to China. There will be documents to the Department of Homeland Security and the adoption will actually take place in China. We have been told that once we are in China, to be prepared to stay seven to 21 days. He will become a United States citizen when we get him home.”
Mike and Jessica will eventually go to China to start the process of getting him home to the States. Once all the paperwork has been approved in China, they will pack their suitcases to travel there.
“Adoption is a situation where many times the family will start and then it will fall through; it’s hard,” tells Jessica. “You are given dates and you prepare yourself and it’s totally out of your control. You tell yourself that you are prepared, you have chosen a child and it’s so emotional, very trying.”
Communicating with a 4-year-old who doesn’t understand English will be another hurdle, but a doable one, according to Jessica.
“I have a teaching background and we plan to use a lot of sign language to communicate the most basic skills, to let Tyeson know that he is loved and that he is safe with us,” Jessica tells. “And there was a period in his life when he was in so much trauma that his development may have just stopped.”
It’s no secret that adoption is very expensive.
“We certainly do not consider this adoption as a burden,” explained Jessica. “It’s a huge expense and the expenses just keep continuing. We are so thankful that we have so many people in our families and community that are wanting to help. We have fundraising events taking place all the time.”
There will be an adoption garage sale at their home, located at 510 Parkridge, with all proceeds from the event going to the adoption fund. It will be held along with the Huxley City Wide sales on Friday, May 19 and 20.
On Father’s Day, June 19, from 8 a.m. to noon, there will be a pancake fundraising breakfast that will be held at “B fabulous BBQ” in Slater. Along with the breakfast there will be a ticket adoption for prizes and a silent auction. Again, all proceeds go to the adoption fund.
“There are so many orphans in the world,” comments Jessica. “I hope that more people see that adoption is doable and that they can make it happen; we want to shed that light.
And that red thread that connects Tyeson in China to the Leeds family in Iowa surely does manifest the theory that the red thread connects all people who are destined to be together.
“He is our son, and we can’t wait to get him home to Iowa,” Jessica concluded.