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Guest Blog: Our Flower from Japan

Oct. 7 - Today’s guest blogger is Solange Piton, the wife of our Commercial Officer in our Consulate General Osaka, who writes about her experience adopting a girl in Japan.


Patience Pays Off After Much Paperwork

Hana's first birthday at our house

Summer 2003: We arrived in Tokyo, for my husband's assignment as a Commercial Officer. Our two boys, 4 and 9 years old, were excited about this new adventure. Our family had everything we needed to be happy, but something was missing ...

Thanksgiving 2005: After much reflection, we decided to adopt a daughter to complete our happy family. So we started filling out a lot of paperwork.

Spring 2006: We found an international social service in Tokyo. After a few meetings (and more paperwork!), we had an interview that changed our lives. Our social worker asked, "Have you considered adopting from Japan?" This news was a gift for us. We loved living in Japan. Having a Japanese daughter felt right. So we accepted! Then we began more paperwork ...

Visiting Kyoto in 2011

September 2006: I received the good news from our social worker: she had found a match, a three-year-old girl! She asked us to think it over for a few days. We agreed the very next morning. Having only boys in our family, we had nothing "girly" for her. We didn’t know her exact size yet, so how to prepare her clothes? Our youngest son, soon to become a middle child, agreed to share his bedroom. Our neighbors came to help. I cannot recall the number of friends who gave us girls' clothes and toys. Our adoption had become a community project.

October 2006: We took the train to Osaka to meet our new daughter. It was love at first sight! She was so little but so independent. She would stay with us some in the visiting room and then leave (but she always came back; she seemed very curious about the boys!) Hotaru (her name at birth) had never met a non-Japanese person before, yet she wasn't shy. Our boys couldn’t stop laughing to see this little girl running so fast ...

After six days we took her back with us to Tokyo. It was not an easy train trip for her. She cried; she was scared; but then she calmed down in my arms. It took a while for her to adapt to us. We decided to change her name to Hana Hotaru, and after just a few weeks, she only wanted us to call her Hana, the Japanese word for flower.

Today: Hana speaks English, watches the Disney Channel, puts up with her big brothers, and is our daughter ... forever. Hana may now carry a U.S. passport, but she'll always be our flower from Japan.

- Solange Piton

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