Parents Abandon Newborn Baby at a Store – 23 Years Later, She Gets a Letter With the Heartbreaking Reason Why
Zoe Halbeisen’s meeting with her birth parents was more than two decades in the making.
Families come in many different forms, shapes, and sizes. There are many reasons why and ways that people choose to become parents, but there are also valid reasons why someone can’t be a parent at that particular stage in their life.
Still, for a child whose parents left them as a baby without explanation, it can be a trauma they live with their entire life.
Enter this heartwarming story about a girl discovering why her parents left her 23 years ago.
How One Little Girl Had a Difficult Upbringing
When Zoe Halbeisen was just nine days old, her father left her outside a department store in Changzhou, China. Store employees discovered her, wrapped up in blankets, and called an orphanage. Media at the time picked the story up, of course, painting the picture of parents who no longer wanted their little girl.
Halbeisen grew up with that narrative her whole life. When she was three, the orphanage adopted her to American parents: Valli and Stephen Halbeisen. The Charlotte, Michigan, couple traveled to China to pick her up, and they never looked back.
Why would they, after all, when all they were shown were news clippings of Zoe’s discovery outside that department store?
So, although Halbeisen had a happy childhood, she always felt a lost connection to her roots. Growing up in a town where she and her adoptive sister were the only people who looked like they did made the situation even harder.
How a Couple Went on a Search for Their Daughter
Unbeknownst to Zoe, her parents had watched her from afar after they dropped her off on that fateful day. They didn’t want to give her up, but they already had one daughter, and because their new baby violated the government’s former rule of one child per family, they were slapped with an enormous fine. They couldn’t pay it, so they sent her off for a better life and immediately regretted it.
Unfortunately, the orphanage refused to return Zoe, and the people running it never told her about her parents’ true identities. So she was sent to America, and her birth parents spent the next 20 years searching for her. They finally found her when she was 23 years old and reached out.
They arranged a video call to meet, and Zoe discovered she had two birth sisters — one older and one younger. She also had various other relatives who were so excited to meet her. Her parents begged her to forgive them, and Zoe planned a trip to go see them.
How One Woman Finally Went Back Home After 23 Years
Zoe’s adoptive parents and her boyfriend accompanied her on the trip back to China.
“All these pieces just came together right,” Zoe told Lansing State Journal. “I have a home there. I have a home here,” she said. “I don’t even look at it as two families. I see one huge family. I have lots of places to call home.”
Not only was Zoe’s homecoming emotional, but it was overwhelming in the best way possible. She traveled to the department store where she was separated from her parents (which is now a hotel) and was met by 20 or so employees who worked there when she was a baby.
“We thought we’d be meeting with a couple people,” Zoe continued. “There were over 20 people there. They had an electric sign on the hotel that said, ‘Welcome home Zoe,’ and in English, no less.”
How One Woman Proved the Importance of Forgiveness
These days, Zoe is in contact with both her families, and her life feels full. But what would have happened if she ignored those initial pleas from her birth parents and didn’t open the door to having those conversations with them?
Everyone’s trauma is different, and not all situations are forgivable. Some people are perfectly fine with the past the way that it is, and that’s okay too. However, this story reminds us that sometimes it really is easier to forget than to hold onto hurt and pain.
So if you’ve been harboring hard feelings about a certain situation, or are in a fight with someone you love over how they’ve treated you and refuse to meet up with them or accept an apology, maybe rethink your decision.
You never know: you may be happy that you did.