Family Stuck In China Coming Home

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

"Remember we love you and can't wait to see you tomorrow. Goodbye," Darlene Hill says to her daughter, Sandi Sheldon, on the phone. The next time Hill speaks to her daughter, she'll be home.

That's unbelievable to this family, who didn't know when or if their daughter and her new adopted baby from China would come home.

"You don't want to hope too much, but you want to have faith," explains Hill.

And faith is exactly what they needed for this bittersweet situation.

After trying unsuccessfully for 20 years to have children, Sandi had gone to China with her husband Dennis to adopt baby Hannah.

Just days after that precious adoption was final, Dennis died unexpectedly in China.

The U.S. government told Sandi her family status had changed and the adoption-- in their eyes-- was no longer final.

"It's so unreal, they wanted all those years to have a baby," Hill says. "Then he was with her just a week and then to have the baby almost taken away, too..."

Congressman Mike Rogers talked with the U.S. Consulate in China to make sure that didn't happen, and in the wee hours of Friday morning, Sandi's family finally heard the words they'd been praying to hear.

"'I'm coming home!'" Hill recalls. "I screamed."

But knowing Dennis isn't coming home hurts.

"You gotta take the good with the bad."

And the good comes in the form of a new baby, who'll carry on Dennis' legacy.

"We'd call it special," Hill says. "She was meant to be."

Sandi Sheldon and baby Hannah will be home Saturday afternoon.

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