Sunday, August 3, 2003

3 families secure adopted daughters

Catching up

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Cathy Davenport with new daughter Sara Grace.
(Family photo)
| ZOOM |
Three area families were featured in the Enquirer's April 22 story "SARS doesn't deter adoptive parents". The story told of international adoptions complicated by the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak.

As the disease began to appear more frequently, especially in Asia, adoptive parents worried that the door would close on their chance to hold the Asian child they had hoped for months to adopt.

The families were undaunted by the danger. Barry Congrove, 44, and his wife, Penny Kee, 42, of Columbia Tusculum and Matt, 31, and Tracy Tepe, 33, of North Bend were able to bring their new daughters, Ruby Congrove and Maggie Tepe, home in the spring.

"It was never an issue of 'Do we go?' " Congrove said in April. "We had to go get our daughter."

For 47-year-old Tom Davenport and his wife, Cathy, the path was anything but smooth.

The Flemingsburg, Ky. couple, who returned from Beijing last week, expressed high hopes in the April story for their paperwork to clear for the journey to their daughter, Sara Grace.

When the borders closed for a few weeks in June, it seemed like an eternity for the Davenports. Travel to China resumed in late June. Soon after, they traveled to Beijing with five other families.

"We left July 11," says Cathy Davenport, 45, "but when we got to Beijing, we found out our passport and visa had expired two days earlier. The other families and guides had gone through, but we were detained."

Fortunately, an airline employee was able to secure the final paperwork from the guide, show them to the customs authorities and help the Davenports secure valid visas to continue the trip. They returned in late July.

Sara Grace Lifeng Davenport is 14 months old now. Mom reports that Sara has a happy disposition and follows her new 5-year-old sister, Rebecca Joy Chunfang, everywhere. Rebecca was adopted by the Davenports in 1998.

Brenda Raymond-Ball, Ohio administrator for Families Thru International Adoption in Blue Ash, says people wanting to know about international adoption can attend the Celebration of Children reunion 11 a.m.-2 p.m. today at Parky's Farm in Winton Woods. Adoptive parents will share experiences. Free. Information: Web site, 794-1515 or (888) 797-9900.

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