Cordelia: A New Family, a New Future

Adoption Subsidies Bring a Special-Needs Child Home 

Cordelia had no future in China. As an orphan with Down syndrome, there was virtually no chance of her being adopted. Under Chinese law, once children turn 14, they can’t be adopted at all. 

That’s precisely why Jennifer Zeuli, a teacher in Massachusetts, decided to adopt her. When she read an article about children in China with special needs and the lack of services for them, she says the idea hit her: She needed to adopt a special-needs child.



“I’ve always wanted children and this felt like the idea I’d been waiting my whole life to have,” she explains. “But I felt drawn to China, knowing that a child in the U.S., even in foster care, would at least have the advantage of Western medicine and education.” 

Thanks to Wide Horizons For Children China program, Jennifer’s dream came true. She was matched with Cordelia. Though Jennifer was between teaching jobs at the time, that uncertainty paled compared to the future she knew she could give Cordelia—and the happiness Cordelia would soon provide. 

“[Without subsidies], I would have had to postpone payment for months while I saved more money, and during all that time Cordelia would have been waiting for me in her orphanage.
Mom to Cordelia

Because costs of international adoption are high, the adoption subsidies Jennifer received through Wide Horizons For Children were key to bringing Cordelia home. Without those, Jennifer says, “I would have had to postpone payment for months while I saved more money, and during all that time Cordelia would have been waiting for me in her orphanage.” 

When Jennifer finally brought her new daughter home, Cordelia was 2 years old and weighed only 16 pounds. She had never experienced the outdoors. She didn’t know what it meant to be hugged. There were many challenges, but Cordelia became healthier and more social every day. 

Today, Jennifer calls her daughter resilient and adaptable, and Cordelia is loving and blows kisses. Mom and daughter are both enjoying their new family and new journey—together.

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