LOCKPORT – When Michael and Megan Foster of Lockport flew to China last week to adopt an 11-year-old girl, the whole world was able to tag along, via Facebook.
Monday, the Fosters posted a Facebook video of the moment their new daughter, Fen, first met them and three of her new siblings. The video had been viewed more than 105,000 times as of Monday night.
The girl, in a yellow blouse and red and white skirt, runs across the room and hugs her new mother and father and her new siblings, one of whom was operating the camera.
Although Fen doesn’t really speak English, the girl repeatedly said “Mama” while hugging Megan. She called Michael “Baba,” and the siblings “brother” and “sister.” She was wearing a locket necklace, one of the gifts the Fosters had sent her in the past 10 months while waiting for the adoption red tape to be completed.
“Just after the video cuts off, she literally jumps up and down and shouts for joy with the biggest smile you’ll ever see. MIC DROP! AMAZING!” Michael Foster wrote on Facebook, “Our guide, Simon, who has seen over 500 adoptions in over 20 years of work in China, is moved to tears as he says he’s never seen a child so happy to meet her parents.”
The Foster family now includes three biological children and three adopted children. The biological children – Clay, 11, Charis, 10, and Mikaela, 8 – made the trip to Guangzhou, China. The two adopted boys, who are both from Ethiopia, are Matthias, 6, and Abram, 4, who has Down syndrome. They were deemed too young to handle the trip to China, so they remained in Lockport with their grandparents, Paul and Becky Foster.
Michael Foster, who is the associate pastor of Ridgewood Bible Church, said he and his wife rescued Fen from “a very bleak future,” since she was about to “age out” of the orphanage in which she’s been living since her birth. She was abandoned at the orphanage’s front door when she was a newborn, Michael said.
“She’s seen hundreds of children come and go,” the 36-year-old pastor said by phone. “Most of the children in that orphanage have been adopted by the time they’re 3 or 4, but she never was. She’s seen it all. She’s seen some of them come back to visit with their adoptive families. She has a very good understanding of adoption.”
By age 12 or 13, she would have been ousted from the orphanage and might have ended up on her own. “There’s not really a system for her,” Fen’s new father said. “They end up on the street, basically.”
Fen hasn’t been educated past kindergarten, because that’s all the orphanage offers. She’ll stay at home for a year, bonding with the family and being home schooled, before her parents think about sending her to public schools.
“She speaks love, and we speak love, so we’re communicating in that language right now,” Michael Foster said.
Ironically, Fen’s notebook was full of drawings of the number 8 – which is considered a lucky number in China – and she does bring the Foster roster to eight people, and her “gotcha day” was 8/8, so the drawings are full of symbolism.
Asked about getting an older sister, Matthias said, “It’ll be fun. Then I’m going to have another sister. We’re having eight kids.”
His father, however, assured a reporter that Fen will be their last child.
Matthias was adopted when he was about 1 year old, and he’s aware of his background, although he has no memory of Ethiopia. He said Monday he’d like to visit Ethiopia some day “to meet my mom.” In the meantime, Matthias, who enters first grade next month at Roy B. Kelley Elementary School in Lockport, will meet Fen when the rest of the family returns home Aug. 19.
Lifesong for Orphans, a faith-based organization, gave the Fosters a matching grant to encourage people to donate to their adoption effort. The fundraising efforts included a yard sale that raised $6,000. Christ Community Church of Brockport made a donation to the matching fund, as did the Chapel in Amherst. Adoption Star, an Amherst organization, also helped with resources.
“For us, adoption is a picture of God’s love for us,” Michael Foster said. “If you step out in faith on an adoption journey, you won’t be alone.”