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Adoption and more
Published: Thursday, February 09, 2006
Publication: Orlando Sentinel
By: Michael McLeod
Click here for the original article.
It took thousands of dollars, reams of paperwork and every frequent-flier mile they could muster for Jeff and Lisa Kircik to adopt their two Chinese-born children.

But the connection to their daughters' homeland did not end when they returned to their Winter Park home from China with Jenna, 5, and Annalise, 3.

Like most of the American couples who have adopted a total of more than 50,000 Chinese orphans in the past 10 years, they retain an abiding bond with the country where their children were born -- and with the orphanages in particular.

That connection was so compelling to Jeff, 38, a project engineer for Siemens, that he used two weeks of his vacation and $3,000 in savings to travel to China two months ago. He persuaded his company to donate a washer and dryer to one of the orphanages, and offered his services to Packages of Hope, a charity devoted to helping orphanages throughout the world. Kircik visited with Chinese workers and government officials and delivered money and other contributions to three orphanages.

"It just felt like a very natural progression to go back," he says. "I actually felt very selfish. I wanted to go there again. I wanted to do something for the children."

"We're just ordinary people," says Lisa Kircik. "We don't have unlimited resources. But we wanted to do something."

The abundance of Chinese orphans -- almost all of them girls -- is the result of social pressures and governmental regulations in that country, where it is illegal for couples to have more than one child.

Jeff Kircik says he would like to return to deliver more aid, though he'll have to start saving up his frequent- flier miles once again.

His efforts don't seem unreasonable to Dawna and Matt Prostak, a Central Florida couple who also have adopted two Chinese girls, Madalyn, 3, and Mackenzie, 15 months. "The bond is hard to describe. The last time we left China, it was hard to come home," says Dawna.

Michael McLeod can be reached at mmcleod@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5432.

Brought to you by The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education

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