Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Adopting A Chinese Baby

Written by: on June 14, 2018

I have a twin sister named Sandy. No we are not identical–she got all the hair and brains, all I got was the height (it is surprising how many people ask if we are identical). My twinkie Sandy is a VERY courageous woman, as she proves DAILY, through one of the most selfless acts humanly possible–she adopted a baby from China 16 years ago.

Annie Pei is my niece, and we love her very much. Unfortunately, Annie Pei was a major victim of the Communist Party of China’s “one-child policy” and because of her female gender, she was discarded by her family who was looking for a “desired” male heir to save their family name from hard-to-understand shame. Thankfully, by the grace of God, her life was somehow spared, and she ended up in an over-crowded orphanage mainly for unwanted baby girls. I am aware many Chinese girls did not get that same opportunity, which is so difficult to comprehend. If abortion is America’s scourge, then this policy was nothing short of a tool of God’s enemy. There is no way to sugar coat the unfathomable lies of Satan in this realm.

The repercussions of being an innocent baby, who is not able to bond with a mom from day one, rarely held by human hands, neglected beyond comparison for needed family connections, is staggering! My sister and her husband had no idea of the gut-wrenching challenges they would face in loving Annie Pei as their own. I am all for adoption! However, I have learned it is unbelievably expensive, full of trials, and not for the faint hearted. One had better be called by God himself to adopt, or the malaise will crush your marriage and potentially decimate your faith.

After a two year process, finally bringing their dream bundle home, it only took a matter of days to realize they were in for a long and protracted dream-shattering ride. To this day, I have to check my unrighteious anger at a Chinese society that would start a precious child out un-privileged and massively neglected for no reason other than her gender didn’t supposedly match up. Perhaps Bill Hybels was right when he said Christians should have a “holy discontent” to such atrocities in the world! [1] It would be a massive understatement to say my niece was 70 yards behind at the start of her 100 yard race.

The irony in Annie Pei’s life is that she holds significant resentment towards herself for being raised in America. I am not a psychoanalyst, but even I can figure out her situation was not her responsibility or fault. But somehow, she longs for her homeland which treated her like trash, and she revolts against the sacrificial love of her forever family as if they were to blame for rescuing her. Unable to cope naturally, peace has been fleeting and inner healing has happened only in tiny increments, and then only by God’s power. Being a female Ishmael is difficult to ascertain for a child-like mind like Annie’s…

For these reasons alone I had a hard time stomaching our reading this week. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China [2] by Jung Chang, is a riveting read. It is not the author’s responsibility or fault for my baggage. As a fact, this is the first time I have put down in words my disgust-able rage towards China’s policies. I hope it helps to let it out a little.

I wanted to read a review this week from a non-westerner. Fortunately, I was able to find a Chinese website that would translate to English. 余麗玲 is the name of the reviewer, and these symbols were the only thing that was not translated. He or she wrote a most compelling review, including,

“It is a very unusual masterpiece . Everything about it is extraordinary . It mores (sic; moves)  in part , like a ghastly oriental fairytale , but the authority and the reticent passion with which the author speaks her memories is unmistakable.”[2]

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from my sister, my brother Ron has responded much differently to China than me. In fact, like G from our Cohort, my older sibling not only brushes all resentment behind, he then became a missionary to China! In fact, he did the completely opposite of what I was willing to do, he brought his young children to Beijing and brought them up in their communist regime. Talk about faith, forgiveness and a Christian attitude towards depravity, Ron has been a shining example of Jesus’ teachings on loving others. (side note: He had to take his pregnant wife to Hong Kong to birth their baby–one more connection to the place we will visit soon).

My Brother and his wife are told often of their sacrifice, but when I look at their faces, there seems to be no acknowledgement of such sacrifice. Perhaps only missionaries can understand their feelings that to obey God is not a sacrifice, it is a Divine privilege. Oh me of little faith.

I know, I know. This has not been very academic of a blogpost. I apologize. Simply wrote from the heart this time. Now I close with a poem that somewhat asks what I have in my mind. What amazes me is the date this was written!

Traditional Chinese Thinking

“Book of Songs” (1000-700 B.C.)

“When a son is born,
Let him sleep on the bed,
Clothe him with fine clothes,
And give him jade to play…
When a daughter is born,
Let her sleep on the ground,
Wrap her in common wrappings,
And give broken tiles to play…” [4]


[1] Hybels, Bill. Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire That Ignites Personal Vision. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2007.

[2] Chang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. William Collins, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016.

[3] 余麗玲. Recommendations of nice book: Wild Swans. Flamingo Publishers, Hong Kong. Accessed June 11, 2018. library.ats.edu.hk/.

[4] Goodpal. Dark side of one child policy of China. soapbox.com. Updated June 7, 2018.  Accessed June 12, 2018. https://soapboxie.com/world-politics/the-dark-side-of-one-child-policy-of-china/.

About the Author

Jay Forseth

Superintendent of the Western Conference of the Evangelical Church. Blessed with 28 years as the husband of my amazing wife who I can't make it without. Now three of four in our family are attending University, but both my children are way smarter than me.

7 responses to “Adopting A Chinese Baby”

  1. M Webb says:

    Awesome introduction and personalization to the affects of the “one-child” policy in China. Last year we sponsored two nursing students on a short-term mission to Luoyang, China with Show Hope and they went to Mari’s Big House of Hope. It only houses 150 special needs orphans out of the over reported 600,000 in China. As atrocious as you have learned and spoken about the gender-discriminated orphans in China, it is worse in Afghanistan. When I served there it was common to find or hear about new born girls being discarded in the open trash pits in the neighborhoods.
    You have family extremes when it comes to China! Will your brother visit you in HK? Keep your armor on brother and remember, no matter how bad it is, Paul still says it is not a battle against flesh and blood.
    Stand firm, 站立得住
    M. Webb

  2. Jennifer Williamson says:

    Jay, I hear you passion and your pain. The only word that seems out of place in your entire blog post is the word “perhaps” in this sentence: “Perhaps Bill Hybels was right when he said Christians should have a “holy discontent” to such atrocities in the world!”

    Absolutely we should have a holy discontent about such things. And that discontent should drive us to our knees and move us to action. Thankful for people like Sandy and Ron.

  3. Dan Kreiss says:


    Wow!! Amazing personal connections with China and the text for this week. I found the book hard to stomach as well and I didn’t have any of the history your family shares. I can only imagine how difficult this week’s reading was for you. Though spared of much of the Maoist regime’s psychological warfare I believe that the people of Hong Kong does share much in common with those that were on the mainland. It will be interesting to see how different that culture is to the one we just read about.

  4. Trisha Welstad says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with us Jay. What a painful journey for everyone involved. It just goes to show that none of us are an island and our lives and choices and those of governments (whether our own or not) effect us in a so many ways. So, this might be an odd question but I wonder, do you think your niece would be interested in reading a book like Wild Swans? Is she interested in knowing her history and culture as a Chinese American?

  5. Jason Turbeville says:

    Thank you so much for your story. What a heartbreaking thing to be discarded for no good reason. It really breaks my heart. Then your brothers ability to follow God’s will in his life just continues to reinforce what a great family you have. Thanks for your continued faithfulness.


  6. Jean Ollis says:

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story. Professionals have spent years trying to understand and treat the complexities of trauma and identity. I’m glad that the Wild Swans story made you angry – I hope you can use that to spur your passion for human rights issues around the world. My prayer is that Annie Pei will find peace within and learn to know and understand the love and sacrifice of her family.

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