Saturday, November 17, 2007

Update on the Sheldon Family

Lansing Woman OK'd to Return Home with Adopted Chinese Daughter
By JAMES PRICHARD Associated Press Writer

A woman whose husband unexpectedly died in China while they were there to pick up their newly adopted daughter is expected to return home Saturday with the child, a spokeswoman for a Michigan congressman says.Sylvia Warner said Friday that Sandi and Dennis Sheldon of Lansing, Mich., left for China on Oct. 30 to get the 17-month-old girl, whom they named Hannah. They originally had planned to return home this Saturday.But only days after the adoption process was completed, Dennis Sheldon suddenly died. The family was told that he apparently suffered heart failure, said Darlene Hill, Sandi Sheldon's mother.

Because the family's status had changed and Sandi Sheldon had become a single mother, the U.S. consulate in China told her that she could not leave that country with the toddler until new family-status paperwork had been filed. The process normally takes weeks.U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers and his staff learned of the situation on Thursday, when they were inundated with e-mails and more than 500 telephone calls from an online adoption community that knew what was happening.

The authors of several adoption Web logs that were following the situation posted telephone numbers for the offices of Rogers, other elected officials and various government agencies, encouraging readers to ask them for help.Rogers, a Brighton Republican, called the consulate late that evening -- first thing in the morning in China -- and worked out a resolution that involved fast-tracking the filing of the proper paperwork."Through the congressman's call to them and that ensuing discussion, they were able to move the process along," said Warner, his spokeswoman.Rogers' office was notified around 4 a.m. Friday that Sheldon, who had been staying in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, was cleared to return home with her daughter, Warner said.

Dennis and Sandi Sheldon were married for 19 years and Hannah is their first child, said Hill, who lives in Lansing with her husband, Herbert, and is now the grandmother of 13 children. Sandi, 42, works part time at a Wal-Mart store and Dennis, 46, was a custodian for Lansing Public Schools. Hill said family members, while still grieving their loss, were excited to learn that Hannah will accompany her new mother home."We got that news about 12:30 last night," Hill said Friday. "It's the best telephone call we've had in two weeks."

The Sheldons applied to adopt a child from China through Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Bethany Christian Services, one of the nation's largest adoption agencies. The process usually takes two to two-and-a-half years, said John Van Valkenburg, a Bethany spokesman. He called the pending homecoming a "bittersweet time" for the Sheldon family."We are very ecstatic that both mother and daughter are able to return home and join the rest of the family," Van Valkenburg said. "At the same time, our hearts and prayers go out to them for the loss of a father, husband and son."Dennis Sheldon's body was cremated in China and his ashes were returning home with his widow, Hill said. A memorial service for him will take place Nov. 30 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Lansing.


Kimmie said...

Hi Dawn;

Thank you for posting this, so nice to know more details on Sandi.

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted
*currently waiting on an adoption to Guatemala, God willing

Jinglebritches said...

praying for them and loving you from here!!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin