Local Family Stuck In China After Adopting Baby Girl

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

This picture, taken just days ago, shows an overjoyed Sandi and Dennis Sheldon, who have just adopted Hannah, a 17-month old special needs child in China.

This picture will now be one of the few memories the family will ever have together.

Dennis Sheldon died in China this week from diabetic shock, just days after being united with his new daughter.

"These are one of those emotional things that just tear your heart out. It's hard enough losing a husband, now you have a baby who won't know their father," says Congressman Mike Rogers.

If that weren't tragic enough, now the U.S. government is saying the family's status has changed, and they won't let Sandi bring the baby back home to Lansing until brand new paperwork has been filed.

That process can be long and complicated, so Congressman Rogers has gotten involved.

"Our real work starts Thursday night at about 7:30, first thing in the morning in China," says Rogers. "We'll try to get them home as quickly and as dignified as possible."

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the congressman is doing all he can to make sure the family gets back in time for that holiday.

"You can imagine the challenge," Rogers says. "She's [Sandi] going through the grieving process, losing her husband, at the same time as she's adopting a new baby."

Friends say the only thing keeping Sandi going is the hope she'll bring her new daughter home.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Beth Location: Jackson jail on Aug 5, 2008 at 10:16 PM
    plenty of black babies to adopt into a white family. did you set anyone on fire?
  • by jimmy Location: E/R on Dec 27, 2007 at 12:09 PM
    your Mother would be so proud of all of you who will stand-up for what you think is right and in this case if you need help standing on that line agian let me know i will be there. Thanks jimmy C
  • by Teresa Location: California on Nov 17, 2007 at 04:20 PM
    The US Govt employees were just trying to deal with an unusual event with no precedent. It was a CYA (cover your ___) event dealing with international visas. All they needed was someone (like a congressman - Thanks Mike Rogers!) who was willing to be that covering. We have dealt with the consulate in China. They are hardworking people who delight in seeing children being adopted into the US. They simply didn't know how to proceed with such an unusual situation and needed to make sure that all the rules were being followed. They are not heartless people.
  • by Sheryl Location: Reedley on Nov 16, 2007 at 11:30 PM
    I am so glad to hear that Sandi and Hannah are coming home.
  • by durand the milkman Location: battle creek on Nov 16, 2007 at 04:19 PM
    I know Dennis from delivering to his school. I think what he did was the most honorable thing he could of did. I know he was exiceted about finally becoming a father, and he sacrificed his life for his daughters. I myself have five children and would not even think twice about trading my life for one of theirs. Dennis tou are my HERO i'll never forget you.
  • by Paula Location: Lansing MI on Nov 16, 2007 at 09:41 AM
    It is true, they will be home Saturday evening.
  • by Dawn Location: Minnesota on Nov 16, 2007 at 08:55 AM
    I know this family from our online adoption chat and we are so sorry to hear this. Let Sandi come home with her baby!!!
  • by mary Location: mason on Nov 16, 2007 at 07:53 AM
    I grew up with the Hill family, I know everyone will be there for sandi and Hannah and help her through this tragic time. Your in my thoughts.
  • by Lisa Location: TN on Nov 16, 2007 at 07:24 AM
    This is unbelievable. We let in thousands of illegal immigrants each year, but we won't allow a US citizen back into the country.
  • by cjb Location: Canada on Nov 16, 2007 at 05:55 AM
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