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NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Mark Welch, read from his new book

Scott Simon
Scott Simon

By Mark Welch/Seth Helton

Murray, KY – Scott Simon is the host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. He is also the best-selling author of two novels, a book about baseball great Jackie Robinson and a memoir.

"Adoption is a miracle," reads the opening sentence of Scott Simon's newest book,
Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption. The book tells the
story of Simon and his wife Caroline's journey to adopt their daughters from China.

Simon and his wife sought adoption from China as the result of process of
elimination. "Domestic adoption was very difficult for us, not because of my wife's but my own age," says Simon. "She is still young and spry, despite being married to me," he jokes; "but being over 40 would put us at the back of almost any adoption list."

"At that time in China, the waiting time was only about 9 months; in the actual event we waited about 18 months for our first daughter, Elise, and about 2 years for our second daughter, Lina. Now the waiting list is between two and five years." The adoption program in China also had the fewest complaints of scandal at the time, unlike the programs in the former Russian Republics.

Simon mentions in his book that China allows only about 8000 adoptions per year, and the number is slowly becoming more restrictive despite the nation being home to 15 million orphans already.

"I think they (the Chinese government) have to make some very careful choices
in realizing that international adoption has been questioned by the Chinese," says
Simon. "Billions of dollars were spent on the Olympics in Beijing, and many Chinese
citizens wondered why the money couldn't be spent on the children," he adds.

Additionally, it's become politically unpopular in China to adopt domestically because of the restrictions on how many children are allowed to be born to each woman, Simon says. Limiting families to one child means that women must either be sterilized, submitted to abortions, or forced to give up their children to have them be adopted by another family. All of these factors make China more timid about adoptions in general.

Despite the difficulties of adoption, Simon's book is a testament to the rewards his family found in it. "We felt reborn when they came into our lives, you feel yourselves getting re-wired," said Simon. "To touch them, to hold them, you realize you have turned your life over to them, and that realization is irreplaceable."