Maizi Rose is the happy ending to a long ordeal for Jim and Corrie Merklein. When the SARS virus hit parts of Asia last November, it forced a halt to their adoption because their daughter was born in China. Maizi's homecoming was delayed by two months when travel to China was banned. The Merkleins finally got word they could go in August and they left to get their daughter in October.
When the day was finally here, Corrie's parents, aunts, uncles and cousins couldn't hold back their tears and excitement. "It's something they’ve been waiting for a long time," said Corrie's mother Rose, "They've been married a few years and knew a child of their own wasn't possible so international adoption was the best thing."
Minutes after the plane touched down at Central Wisconsin Airport on October 17, a flood of emotion greeted Jim and Corrie, and Maizi was in the arms of a new loving family. Corrie says one of the biggest adjustments for the baby is interacting with so many people after living her first nine months in an orphanage called the White Swan, in Beijing.
"They normally have one or two caregivers in the Chinese orphanage per 20 to 30 babies so they spent a lot of time in the crib and you have to change that," says Corrie.
Life with Maizi has turned their world upside down but they wouldn't change a thing. "I'm taking everybody's advice on different things and we're just kind of finding our own way," says Corrie. Maizi can already stand on her own and she'll be turning one on December 31. The Merkleins will also celebrate her "gotcha day" every year when they first met Maizi in China on October 7.