In April of 2004, Will and Sherri Sakson embarked on a journey that would change their lives, and their family, forever. The Sakson’s wanted a baby: someone that they could love, cherish, and nurture. Little did they know that their simple desire would lead them half-way around the world with 13 other families desiring the same thing.
After trying, without success, to conceive naturally, Will and Sherri Sakson felt a shift in their hearts. “We began to feel a different calling, a calling to adopt,” explained Will. “Love is an infinite thing. You can’t run out of it. We knew that we had love to share. We had something worth sharing with someone: our faith, our marriage, our home.” Thus began the Sakson’s journey to find Zoe, the daughter awaiting them on the other side of the world
“The first 6 months was a paper chase,” explained Will concerning the process of filing for adoption. Locating documents, submitting forms, and meeting with social workers, consumed much of the next year. However, nearly 12 months later, all the waiting became worth it. In April of 2005, Sherri and Will received the document containing the identity of their soon-to-be daughter. In an instant, they were ready to bring her home. Six weeks later, the Saksons found themselves on a plane to do just that.
Will and Sherri used Great Wall Adoption, a non-profit located in Austin, Texas throughout their adoption process. Great Wall Adoption has assisted the Chinese Government in placing more than 9,000 children with families. In April 2005, there were thirteen families adopting children alongside the Saksons. Soon after arriving, these thirteen families found themselves together in a conference room in Lan Zhou, China, anxiously anticipating the moment that would change their lives forever.
All eyes were trained on the elevator doors attached to the conference room: every parent knowing that once the doors opened, they would gaze for the first time into the eyes of their child. As the doors opened, groups of people carrying babies exited. “It was all very surreal,” explained Will while depicting the gravity and overwhelming joy of the moment. Tears flowed freely from the eyes of moms, babies, and dads alike. The room buzzed with happiness and newfound love, every family swapping cameras and taking photos for each other.
After eight more days of bonding and fellowship, the Sakson family returned to the States with Zoe, their daughter. Will and Sherri were greeted at the airport by their parents and in-laws. Reflecting on that day, Will remarks, “It was so great to let her meet her grandparents”. The journey to finding Zoe had ended, and a new life, full of amazing experiences and adventure, awaited.
Though many years have passed, the families that gathered in the conference room on that fateful day share a bond unlike any other. They remain in close contact and get together as much as they can. Since being back in the States, they have had two reunions, one of which was hosted by the Sakson’s in College Station, Texas.
In ten short days, Zoe will be thirteen years old. Her father, still as in love as he was the moment he first laid eyes on her, proudly remarks, “She is a great kid. She is everything that you would want your child to be.”