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Babies from far, far away

WARRENSBURG To see them running through the house in search of a toy, youd never know they came from an orphanage, but Dr. Ron Parisi and his wife, Maggie, know their roots. Dr. Parisi is the pastor at the Assembly of God in Warrensburg. Not long ago, the couple decided to adopt a Chinese child, and just a month ago, brought home a second. Maggie was very sick for a long time and we didnt know if shed make it or not, Parisi said. We prayed a lot, and she recovered. Maggie was an adopted child herself, but her experience wasnt all good. My adopted father wasnt great, was all she said. I never thought Id want to adopt a child, but when I heard about the Chinese children in orphanages, a light went on in my head. Dr. Parisis parents raised foster children and he has an adopted sibling, so the prospect wasnt unknown to him. Despite the fact that both Parisis are in their 50s, they decided to adopt. We heard about this orphanage in China where we found Katy, Maggie said. It had no heat and the children wore layers and layers of clothing, it was about 48 degrees inside. Katy, now 3 years old, was abandoned at birth by her family. The Parisis found her in Nanchung in central China. When she first got here, she used to store food in her cheeks, Maggie said. At the orphanage, they had to eat when food was served or not at all, so the kids would store it for later. The Chinese still value boys much more than girls, she said. Especially if theyre perfect. She said that Chinese law prohibits families from having more than one child because of overpopulation, and some families hide the fact that they are having a child in case something goes wrong so they can have another. Only the very rich can afford to pay the fines and have more than one child, she said. When women go to the hospital to have a baby, they automatically get their tubes tied. Their newest addition is Jimmy, who is almost 3 years old. He had a cleft pallet so he wasnt perfect, Dr. Parisi said. His family abandoned him in a crowded park where they knew someone would find him. He said that families that decide to abandon a child but still love it, usually do so in a public place and wait in hiding to make sure the child is found and taken away safely. He was in a much nicer orphanage, Maggie said. They traveled to Baoding, about 250 miles from Beijing to pick up Jimmy. The Parisis, like most families that travel to adopt, did some sightseeing during their trips. We always wanted to go to China, Dr. Parisi said. I thought it would be very oppressive because of what we hear, but it wasnt. It totally blew my mind, we could go anywhere, and the people were very friendly. The Parisis have three grown children between 21 and 27, so they are no strangers to child rearing. I have so much more patience this time around, Maggie said. Katy is speaking some English now, and Jimmy is beginning to say a few words. He sings at the top of his lungs and we cant understand a word of it, it must be in Chinese, Dr. Parisi said. Everything here is new to them, they are amazing to watch. At first Katy had no concept of any toy actually belonging to her. He said that Chinese orphanages turn children out at 14 with only the clothes on their back. Many turn to drugs and prostitution, he said. Its a blessing that they are here. We want to thank everyone who helped us. Maggie said that their two trips to China were almost totally paid for by donations, through family, friends and Christian organizations that help sponsor such adoptions.

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