how i found you


How I Found: My Son
January 31, 2010, 8:55 pm
Filed under: my son

I found my son, Eli Zheng, while waiting for a daughter. I spent much of my thirties trying to get pregnant before my husband and I decided to adopt. In September 2004, my husband and I sent our paperwork to China, and six months later, on my brother’s birthday, I got the call from our adoption agency in Portland that the China Center of Adoption Affairs had matched us with a healthy baby boy.

One day before we left for China, I folded all the girls’ clothes we had gotten as hand-me-downs, and I said good-bye to that ghost daughter I would never raise. My mom likes to remind me, though, that I’d always wanted a son. I felt lucky. It’s ironic, as a writer, that the only reason we were joined with our son is that I wasn’t gender specific in our request. We asked for a healthy baby child, and most people wanted girls, because they would be “easier.” So this gorgeous, chubby boy dressed in pink became ours, in the flesh, on my sister’s birthday, May 12. The Chinese have many beliefs about numbers, so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my son shares my dad’s birthday, July 15. They’re both resilient, charming, and wickedly funny. He’s the love of our lives.

Alex Behr is a writer and musician in Portland, Oregon.