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Cai, gearing up for a ride during the Chitwood family Fourth of July celebration.

As with most Americans, the Fourth of July is always a big celebration day for our family. The day includes a family reunion, fireworks, and way too much food. For the past several years, my father’s farm has been the host site.

By all standards, this year’s celebration was another success. No rain, although the pasture could have used it. The mercury didn’t climb as high as predicted and a light breeze stayed with us most of the day. I managed two grills without burning the burgers. No major injuries from the fireworks or four-wheelers. Indeed, the 236th year of our nation’s independence was safely, rightfully, and joyfully celebrated.

And so was the American citizenship of the only Asian girl at the party. Ironically, the Fourth of July marks the day our daughter, Cai, became a US citizen. That was the day, five years ago, when our flight home from China touched down. Bringing her home was the final step in our adoption process, securing not only Cai’s place in our family but also her citizenship in our country.

Cai was an abandoned orphan, doubtless another byproduct of China’s one child policy. That policy has resulted in China having the highest abortion rate in the world, with many of those abortions reportedly forced upon unwilling mothers. Due to the severe penalties exacted on families with two children and the cultural preference for a male child, the abortion or abandonment of infant girls is common practice.

Cai was a newborn, umbilical cord still attached, when found abandoned in a marketplace. She was taken immediately to an orphanage to be warehoused with others who had escaped murder in the womb but would have no mother to hold them. Instead, she spent her first ten months tied to the metal rails of her shared crib. Then, God brought her to us.

The bruises left by the ropes disappeared in time, as did any memories my daughter may have had from the first few months of her life. Today, she is a healthy, happy girl who loves to swim, enjoys her Sunday School class, and keeps her family laughing.

She is also a citizen of two countries. Interestingly, though no one in China wanted her, the Chinese government will always consider her a citizen. As she was welcomed into our family, she also became an American citizen.

A third citizenship, however, is our goal for Cai. As thankful as Michelle and I are that she is our adopted daughter, we pray for the day when she will be adopted once again, this time in Christ, “no longer a foreigner and alien, but a fellow citizen with God’s people and member of God’s household.” (Ephesians 2:19)

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