NYer Of The Week: Gongzhan Wu Pairs Chinese Orphans With New York Families
Adopting a child is a lengthy and stressful process but thanks to our New Yorker of the Week, it doesn't have to be. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
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Gongzhan Wu never thought he’d have the opportunity to live in the United States but a college scholarship brought him to New York. Today, he is helping Chinese orphans start new lives in the country he now calls home.
"I know there are 143 million orphans in the world," he says. "That's a lot of children in orphanages. What do they need? They need help. They need families. They need a home."
In 1995, Wu went back to China to visit an orphanage as a translator. What he saw changed his life.
"When you went in to the orphanage, it's very depressing," he says. "When you smelled it, very strong smell. From then on, I knew how to make (a) judgement of orphanages, if they're doing (a) good job or not."
Wu now dedicates his time helping Chinese children meet New York families through his work at the nonprofit Gladney Center for Adoption.
"This is such a big thing in your life, such a big decision," says adoptive parent Eileen Gormin. "You want it to go smoothly. You want to have a good team behind you that's going to support you through all the hiccups along the way. There are so many little things that can go wrong. You want the right people there to help you."
Wu's work doesn’t stop when families are matched. He watches them grow and eventually feels like a part of the family.
"Kids call me Uncle George," he says. "I stay in touch with the adoptive families, parents, children. I've been watching them growing up."
Uncle George's work involves translating to travel arrangements to legalities. The families' appreciation speaks for itself.
"It's just amazing to me how the children and the parents find each other a thousand miles away and they're just so perfect," Gormin says. "It really is true that you just feel like you were meant to be and you just feel like you've found each other and it's a moving experience and it just feels right right from the beginning."
"I feel very much full just to have seen so many happy parents and children," Wu says.
So, for helping families become complete, Gongzhan Wu is our New Yorker of the Week.