Wednesday, July 8, 2009


(About a year ago, ASIA had the privilege of placing Honour with her family just prior to her 14th birthday. A year later she is now speaking fluent English, playing piano, participating in Chinese dance and adding much happiness to her new family. Honour and her family are stupendous advocates for older child adoption. We hope her letter will inspire you to adopt an older child.)

Dear Friend,

My name is Honour Grace. I came from China in August 2008, when I was almost 14 years old. I would like to tell you my story because I heard you might to be adopted by a foreign family soon.

When I got adopted, my Mom showed me a beautiful song called “She’s a Butterfly.” A few times when I lived in China, I felt like a butterfly but most times I felt like I was in a cocoon. In America, I always feel like a butterfly. Now I can feel my true colors, who I am, what I like, what I can do, where I can go. I can feel my heart.

My first day in America was good and easy. I landed at the local airport with Mom and my sister Haley. At the airport, I met Grandpa and my other new sisters. I felt happy – and different. A good different. I was starting a new life with all these people. It was cool. When we got to the house, I saw my Grandma. I liked her a lot at first sight. Everyone was so excited about me! They wanted to show me my room first thing. When I got there, I saw lots of pink. But I like blue. It was ok – they didn’t know. You got to give your new family some grace. I remember many presents. I was so happy. Then we went to eat dinner at the Lotus Garden. The aunties had taken me to eat lunch before I left them – they said I should eat a lot because maybe I wouldn’t get Chinese food in America. So I thought America didn’t have any Chinese restaurants. I was glad to find out it does! (I also thought I wouldn’t know Chinese people here – but we are surrounded by Chinese friends!)

Back to food. I often say “there is no such thing as AMERICAN food.” American food is food from lots of different places because America is people from lots of different places. Where we live, Mexican food is very popular. We often eat Italian food because Grandpa’s family came from Italy. Americans eat a lot of cheese and pizza. The first time I ate cheese in America, I liked it. But they eat cheese with almost everything – even sandwiches – and sometimes just plain cheese. So now I do not like cheese much. We often cook Chinese food, but we cannot always get exactly the same stuff at the Chinese market here that you can find in China. My parents like me to pick out things I like from the Chinese market. Chinese food in America doesn’t taste the same as it does in China. Maybe you want to eat a lot of Chinese food before you come so you can remember it.

HOW Americans eat is different too, and it seems important to everyone here. It has been a little hard for me to learn American table manners. Be quiet when you eat. They put food in the middle of the table too, but when you want a different food, you ask someone to pass it. Remember to say “please” and “thank you” lots more than you do in China. I’m still learning this! Our family eats with what they call “silverware” and chopsticks but I think most families don’t use chopsticks.

If you learn some basic English when you are in China, things will be easier for you and your family. You don’t have to be scared to learn English. Sometimes it is fun; sometimes it is a little hard. My parents bought me an electronic translator when I was adopted but I didn’t want to use it then. Now I use it when I can’t think of the right word. Mom always says English is crazy, so we try to make it fun. My parents are good sports – they are always trying to learn more Chinese. I like teaching my Dad because he surprises me with how much Chinese he knows already. A computer program called Rosetta Stone helped me learn English a lot but it was kind of boring. I like learning English by playing games, and by listening to inspiring American music and DVDs.

I also like to stay up late talking with Mom and Dad. They want to know everything about my life. They ask me many questions about my life in China. It makes me happy to share because they really care about me, and it helps them understand my heart more. I like it because they know that my new life in America was not the start of my life. They respect the life I had when I was in China though my problems there makes their hearts hurt. They wanted to look at every picture I had – when I was ready to share with them. They wanted to know all about my friends. I liked that they let me burst out of the cocoon in my time.

Maybe it will be hard for you to call your parents “Mom” and “Dad.” It took me a couple of months to do that. One of my sisters kept trying to get me to say that, but my parents never made me. They said I could do it when I was ready. I liked that. I love having a family because someone cares about you forever. You have a name forever. Someone to go to my graduation, my wedding. Your children will have grandparents. I love having a family. But that doesn’t mean you can get and do anything you want. A family loves you so much sometimes they say no because that is the best thing for you. They will try to tell you why this isn’t good if they have to say no. They pay attention to what you really need. That makes me feel so safe and loved.

Being in your own family and being in an orphanage family is different because your very own family is with you forever. You are with them forever too! You can’t run away or leave, and neither can they. At the orphanage, you can try to just forget the problems with people there and hope they go away. In a family, if you are mad with someone, you can’t just avoid them. You have to talk it out and solve the problem so you can keep living in love. The best thing is when you are sad, there are people who will help you and listen to you and hug you. You don’t have to ever be sad by yourself. The orphanage people can help you grow, go to school, get food, but they cannot stay with your forever. Maybe the auntie will get married or retire. Someday you have to leave the orphanage by yourself. Maybe you will be all alone then. But having a real family of your very own is always better than staying in the orphanage. You will never be alone then. A family is a treasure, take good care of the gift. If you open up your heart, it will be easy.

The last thing I want to share with you is about making friends. In America, the first people I knew were my parents, and then I saw my sisters. And later I made friends in America. Some days, I wanted to make friends first. Though I did call China a few times, and a few of friends from China who now lived in America, I missed my friends still in China and that made me sad. A lot of people told me “don’t worry.” I had to learn “family first” and then make friends. After a year, I think that was a good thing. Because I learned how to be part of the family first, that made it easier for me to make true friends in America. I am no longer sad, even though I think lots of my friends in China have moved on. If you get lonely in America, talk to your family. They want to know what’s in your heart. They will love you from the inside out.

It is very nice to get to share my story with you. I hope you have fun with your new family. I hope you get to open your heart wings and fly like a butterfly very soon!

Wishing you happiness and health, Honour Grace


  1. This is an absolutely stunning post, Honour! I am warmed by your story and wish you all the happiness in the world!

  2. Honour-Thank you for sharing such a wonderful letter! You are an amazing young woman!

  3. Honour, what can I say, except: WOW! You are a remarkable young lady, and I am so very glad you have found, and were found by, your family!

  4. What a beautiful letter from a beautiful young lady! This exciting program makes me very happy!

  5. I've adopted older kids from China and I loved your letter. You are right on about the cheese. Also, I made my daughter get to know her family before she made friends too. : - )

  6. Honour:
    Thank you for sharing your story. May God bless you and your family. I am so joyous that you are happy here and know you are loved and cared for.

  7. Honour,

    Your story is absolutely beautiful! I followed your mom (and prayed), as she and your family looked so hard for you in China so that they could be your very own family forever!

    What a blessing to hear that you have opened your "heart wings" and are flying like a butterfly! A beautiful butterfly!

    Thank you Honour for sharing your story. I pray that it gives many others hope!

    With love from Texas~

    Tina (Mama to five, including one beautiful little Chinese butterfly who is learning to spread her wings!)

  8. That was so incredibly beautiful to read.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this! My husband and I have a son adopted from China this year, he is 13. We also have 2 younger daughters, also adopted from China. Blessings to you and your family Honour

  10. Thank you for your story. I have an adopted son from Russia and he has his struggls. Your story is an inspiration. May God continue to bless you!!!