The Orphanage in Guiping City

The Orphanage in Guiping City

Izze’s ‘Gottcha Day,’ Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In 2007, I was working in Italy when Vanessa and I got the call to go to China to bring our daughter, Israel Love, home to Ohio. You never know when these calls are going to come so families must be ready. Vanessa’s sister Robin, (Lady Robin to all of us) went in my stead and the ladies headed over halfway around the world to Nanning, China.

The first picture they sent us of Izze

The first picture they sent us of Izze

We knew even before we saw her first picture that Izze was our daughter, and that she would be ours forever… that she was family even before we met. The Red Thread is everywhere in this story.

When the girls were heading back from China, I drove up to Columbus to meet them at the airport. A late winter storm changed everything and I had to head down from Columbus to Cincinnati to meet them there. When they left the secure area and we walked down to baggage claim, the first thing Izze did when she saw me was to burst into tears. In her young life she had only been around women and a male figure was something new and somewhat disconcerting… especially the beard!

The road from there to here has been an amazing one. The infant who cried when she first saw me performed with her Irish Dance Class on St. Patrick’s Day and went ice skating with me yesterday… is reading at an eighth grade level and is full of love and amazing opinions.

The girls step out!

The girls step out!

The process of adoption is like an elephant pregnancy… to say the least it is long and nerve wracking. At the end of the road is boundless love… and a lifetime of family.

‘Could you bring my book downstairs?’ she says to Vanessa? The answer, of course, is ‘Yes!’

I cannot imagine life without her. She is my heart of hearts.

Welcome home Izze… on this day and every day!

'I think I'll have the udon... plain please...

'I think I'll have the udon... plain please...


  1. Comment made on March 23, 2014 by Jason

    Awesome. You’re never too yong to share your love with someone 😉

  2. Comment made on March 22, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    The dark side of the Russian government adoption agencies:
    Those who went through the process, were often urged by the agencies to adopt
    another or, more than one child.

    My friend responded to their suggestions, by stating that after her adoptive daughter had learned English and attended school; she was interested in adopting a “special needs” child.

    The Russian adoption agency representative asked:
    “What do you speak of?”
    My friend replied:
    “You know, a child with Downs Syndrome. I have the financial means to give such a child the special, private schooling and care, in Manhattan.”

    The orphanage’s government representative answered:
    “We don’t have any of those.”
    My friend countered with:
    “What do you mean, where can I apply to adopt a “special-needs” child?”
    The orphanage’s government representative replied:

    Uh, really?!
    It’s heartbreaking to think about what happens to “those”.

  3. Comment made on March 22, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    I remember my childhood friend, a beautiful adopted Korean orphan girl.
    Adopted by a lovely Jewish family, in the 1960’s.@Kate Sullivan

  4. Comment made on March 22, 2014 by Gary

    Wonderful entry in the blog! Thanks for sharing Jorma.

  5. Comment made on March 21, 2014 by Kate Sullivan

    We have two Korean “gotcha dates” in our family and together with my Chinese American niece, they all know how to get their Irish on for Paddy’s Day. It was wonderful watching them grow up. All the best to the Kaukonens.

  6. Comment made on March 21, 2014 by cyndyconsentino

    Dear Jorma,

    Thank you for your lovely post. Blessings and love to you and your family!
    See you tomorrow!!


  7. Comment made on March 21, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    It certainly does.@jim hitchcock

  8. Comment made on March 20, 2014 by jim hitchcock

    That kind of puts things in perspective, Barbara.

  9. Comment made on March 20, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    Another year has gone by so quickly:
    I remember last year’s “Gotcha Day” Jorma blog-post.

    Izze is a lucky girl and Vanessa and Jorma are lucky to have her in their family.
    Getting to the “Gotcha” is not easy. The rewards are worth it.

    I have to say that it seems that Chinese orphans are much better cared-for, than are Russian orphans.

    I posted a comment, last year, about my friend making several trips to Russia in order to adopt her “Gotcha” girl, several years ago.
    The Russian orphans were housed in rooms of 30 children. No air-conditioning.
    They were full of mosquito bites. They were kept plump, only because the directors ordered that they be fed a lot of cookies and other high-carb/sugar
    unhealthy food. Freezing in winter, hot and infested with mosquitos in summer.

    Putin has since prohibited the adoption of those Russian orphans.
    My friend achieved her “Gotcha”, just in time.
    We all love her “Gotcha” precious little girl.

    She had never seen a dog, (nor any other animals) while in the Russian orphanage.
    She was terrified of my friend’s little dog, when she finally arrived at her new home.
    The “Gotcha” has so many trials and tribulations and the adoptive parents deserve
    so much credit for their efforts.

  10. Comment made on March 20, 2014 by HOGAN

    The love you feel for your family is wonderful…
    Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend at the Ranch with some old friends..


  11. Comment made on March 20, 2014 by Hamneggs

    Love All Ways

  12. Comment made on March 20, 2014 by bob kelly

    good stuff,,best wishes to your family, from our family here.. stay well

  13. Comment made on March 20, 2014 by John R.

    Beautiful entry.

  14. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by John B

    Great story of love and devotion Jorma. Thank you for sharing these special moments of your life with us.

  15. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by Rob

    A wonderful young girl Vanessa and you are raising, had the pleasure of talking to Izze and Vanessa @ the acoustic show in NYC. She’s going to keep you young & sharpe for years to come J! God bless.

  16. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by johno

    It was all meant to be. You both are so fortunate to have such a darling daughter. And she is so fortunate to have such beautiful parents. It’s all so amazing the way things work out.

  17. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by doug mlyn

    very nice post 🙂 Like I said, she is one lucky girl, and you are one lucky Dad!

  18. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by phil zisook

    Great! So nice to be able to realize the gifts we have. Wonderful to read this.

  19. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by Joey Hudoklin

    Happy Gotcha Day to the Kaukonen family! A very touching story.
    I feel the love.

  20. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by Chaz

    Seconding Jeff. A bit early, but happy Father’s Day Jorma!

  21. Comment made on March 19, 2014 by Jeff

    Doesn’t get any better than this.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *