Daughter And Dad: Strong Ties And Big Questions

Originally published on July 1, 2011 1:12 pm

Bob and Alice Gerold adopted their daughter, Aimee, from China when she was a baby. Now 14, Aimee has many questions about how her parents met, and why they decided to adopt. She spoke with her father recently to get the answers.

"How did you meet Mom?" Aimee asks.

"I can tell you the date: Sept. 14, 1984," Bob says.

Interrupting him, Aimee asks, "Back when dinosaurs roamed the land?"

"Yeah, I was protecting her from the dinosaurs," Bob says.

More specifically, Aimee asks, "So, when did she like, decide to date you?"

"Well, she was willing to go out with me," Bob insists. "And at least one day a week, I left a rose Scotch-taped to her front door."

"And she didn't find that creepy?"

"Creepy? No, she actually found that nice," Bob says. "I better tell your boyfriends not to do that!"

"Well, a rose, you don't know who it's from," Aimee says.

"Oh no, she knew who it was from," Bob says.

Bob and Alice have now been married for more than 25 years. They adopted Aimee on June 10, 1998.

"Now, what made you decide you want to adopt a child?" Aimee asks.

"Mommy had a ectopic pregnancy, which means the pregnancy was in the tubes," Bob says. "After that, she couldn't get pregnant. We considered adopting, and we actually said we wanted a smart, assertive kid. Don't take this the wrong way, but we viewed intelligence over beauty."

"Great," Aimee says with a laugh.

"Well, but no! I mean, you turned out to be both," Bob says. "But that's what we said. And when we got to talk to the nannies about you, they said you were a very determined little child."

"Huang Xi, very strong-willed!" Aime says, referring to her Chinese name.

"That's right," Bob says with a laugh. "As much as I grate over your assertiveness, I'm glad you are. You never take my word as law; you always have to negotiate."

"I want to tell you something. You have absolutely changed my life," Bob says. "The most interesting thing for me was the idea of the Red Thread. In Chinese adoptions and in the Chinese culture, the Red Thread means that we are, with our souls, connected to a specific person. And we got you. And I am so pleased that you're part of my life. I just love you so much."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman. Recorded in partnership with WUWF.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(Soundbite of music)

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for StoryCorps, where family members get to ask each other about their lives. Fourteen-year-old Aimee Gerold brought her dad, Bob, to StoryCorps. Aimee was adopted from China by the Gerold family when she was a baby. And as her father found out, Aimee had a lot of questions about how their family began.

Ms. AIMEE GEROLD: How did you meet Mom?

Mr. BOB GEROLD: I can tell you the date: Sept. 14th, 1984. It was...

Ms. GEROLD: Back when dinosaurs roamed the land?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GEROLD: Yeah, I was protecting her from the dinosaurs.

Ms. GEROLD: So, when did she like, decide to date you?

Mr. GEROLD: Well, I mean she was willing to go out with me, and at least one day a week, I left a rose Scotch-taped to her front door.

Ms. GEROLD: And she didn't find that creepy?

Mr. GEROLD: Creepy? No, she actually found that nice. I better tell your boyfriends not to do that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GEROLD: Well, a rose, you don't know who it's from.

Mr. GEROLD: Oh no, she knew who it was from.

Ms. GEROLD: Oh, okay. Now, what made you decide you want to adopt a child?

Mr. GEROLD: Mommy had a ectopic pregnancy, which means the pregnancy was in the tubes. After that, she couldn't get pregnant. We considered adopting, and we actually said we wanted a smart, assertive kid. Don't take this the wrong way, but we viewed intelligence over beauty.

Ms. GEROLD: Great.

Mr. GEROLD: Well, but no. I mean, you turned out to be both. But that's what we said. And when we got to talk to the nannies about you, they said you were a very determined little child.

Ms. GEROLD: Huang Xi, very strong-willed.

Mr. GEROLD: That's right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GEROLD: As much as I grate over your assertiveness, I'm glad you are. You never take my word as law; you always have to negotiate.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GEROLD: I want to tell you something. You have absolutely changed my life. The most interesting thing for me was the idea of the Red Thread. In Chinese adoptions and in the Chinese culture, the Red Thread means that we are, with our souls, connected to a specific person. And we got you. And I am so pleased that you're part of my life. I just love you so much.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: Bob Gerold with his daughter Aimee at StoryCorps in Pensacola, Florida. Their conversation will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. And you can get the Podcast at npr.org.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.