Suponchick lives normal life after adoption



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Photos courtesy of junior Samantha Suponchick’s foster mother Chris Leitel.

Junior Samantha Suponchick was found by a Chinese official sitting alongside a road at six months old in a small basket in Yanchun, China, a small city near Hong Kong. She was brought to the Yangchun Orphanage to be taken care of.

Some parents who abandon their child leave a note explaining basic information, such as their birthday. However, Samantha’s biological parents didn’t. A Chinese doctor estimated her birth date.

“I don’t even know who [my parents] are or what my real name is,” Suponchick said.

It is the adoption agency’s goal to foster all the children they find abandoned. While taking care of Suponchick, the orphanage had over 30 baby girls, which made it difficult to give each baby the intensive care they needed, even with the help of several nannies.

“We would be in the same cribs when we’re not supposed to and we’d get illnesses,” Suponchick said.

After years of trying to conceive with no success, Suponchick’s foster mother Chris Leitel said in an email interview that she was referred to the Chinese Children Adoption International (C.C.A.I.), located in Littleton, Colorado.

“My heart was leaning toward China and after talking with C.C.A.I. about the China process, my worries about traveling to another country were put to rest knowing that the China government/people have the greatest respect for Americans who adopt their orphans,” Leitel said.

When they’d completed their paperwork for the adoption process, seven to ten selected parents were matched with babies in the same orphanage. Leitel requested the youngest baby possible and was matched with Samantha. The orphanage sent them the little information they had about her. Soon they began their trip to China to bring back their new baby.

“Our adoption process took exactly nine months from start to finish. Currently, families wait approximately 36-48 months for a child referral,” Leitel said.

Getting baby Suponchick was quite a journey. They first flew to Hong Kong, traveled by bus to Guangzhou, China then continued another 160 miles southwest to Yangchun.

Once arrived, they couldn’t just walk into the orphanage to pick up Suponchick because of the rules of the Chinese government. Instead, they stayed at the YMCA Hotel and waited until June 5, 1996, when the babies were brought to the selected parents and introduced one-by-one.

“Chinese people walking by us on the streets would smile at us and say she was a ‘Lucky Baby,’” Leitel said.

Though their first time seeing Suponchick was when she was six months old, Leitel said adoption feels no different than having a baby by birth.

“The love you feel when you see their beautiful face for the first time is beyond what words can describe,” Leitel said. “Our trip to China was amazing and was definitely a dream come true.”

Suponchick’s parents are caucasian, so finding out she was adopted wasn’t much of a surprise she said. She asked her parents if she was adopted when she was young.

“My parents never really sat me down to tell me; I just figured it out myself,” Suponchick said. “I knew that I didn’t look like them.”

Since her adoption, Suponchick sees her life as normal. She said she asks as if her foster parents are her biological parents. She said her parents raised her as an “American child.”

“I don’t really have much to do with China anymore, except for how I look on the outside,” Suponchick said.

At the end of the day, Suponchick is grateful she was adopted. She understands that girls aren’t treated with the same respect that boys are in China, and is thankful that she lives in America.

“My adoption [parents] probably would have treated me better than I would have been treated in China,” Suponchick said. “In China, actually a lot of parents don’t want their kids. Mostly they don’t want girls because they don’t carry out the last name.”

Suponchick believes her birth parents leaving her might have been because of China’s one child policy. Leitel said the policy is good for their family but bad for China’s future.

“Poverty is abundant and the people are left with unbelievable choices to make,” Leitel said.

After left alongside a road, Suponchick’s life was saved from this poverty by her parents’ choice to adopt.

“I thank God everyday for what I believe was my purpose in life for me to be able to travel to China and adopt my precious little girl,” Leitel said. “I consider myself the luckiest Mom ever.”

Hailey Stolze
Website Editor-in-Chief and West Wind Commentary Editor