By Joyanna Love/ Editor
After finding her birth parents and visiting the organization in Taiwan that handled her adoption, Julia Davis has found ways to help those who helped her.
Davis was adopted from Taiwan as a baby in 1974 through Mustard Seed Mission.
“I was adopted when I was three days old. All of the paperwork wasn’t complete until a few months later, but my parents picked me up from the hospital in Hualien when I was 3 days old,” Davis said.
She had been born two months premature and pediatricians at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Taipei were angry at Davis’ adoptive parents, Delbert and Carol Freeman, for transporting her.
“When my parents told him that I wasn’t in an incubator at the other hospital, he changed his tune. He told them that it was likely that they saved my life,” Davis said.
The hospital charged $126 dollars a day for her care, which was a lot of money for Davis’ new parents. Several people offered to donate to her care. Yet, Davis’ parents were certain that God would take care of the entire amount. An anonymous donor stepped forward to cover the entire hospital bill and all post-natal care. Davis was in the hospital for at least two weeks.
It was not until 2011 that Davis began to consider looking for her birth mother.
“I did usually think of her on my birthday, and other meaningful moments of my life. I always hoped that she wasn’t sad and I wished that she could know that I was happy and that everything had turned out so well. I also wondered if we looked alike, and if I had any siblings. I did know that she had freckles, my parents had met her one time. I loved knowing that fact, and thought it was special that my mom, birthmother and myself all had freckles,” Davis said.
In 2014, Davis said her parents reminded her that she had been adopted through the Mustard Seed Mission. Davis looked them up and found the organization still existed.
“When I read about founder Lillian Dickson and her hope to build strong people so that love and righteousness could be passed down from generation to generation. I remember thinking, ‘That’s me!’ I am one of those she hoped to help. I felt a strong connection to the mission,” Davis said.
While contemplating whether to begin a search for her birth mother, Davis was inspired by the story of a man who was reconnected with his twins after 40 years.
“I saw that after over 40 years, this man was still so emotional about finding his children that I decided that I would try to find my birth mother. I thought that it would be sad if she felt like this man and I never even tried to find her. I knew that I may have the power to bring peace to her life and if she needed it, how could I not even try. But how do you even find someone on the other side of the world, when you don’t speak Chinese and don’t have a large amount of money to hire someone? The Lord had a plan and it was amazing to watch it unfold,” Davis said.
Her first step was to email Mustard Seed Mission. They tried to contact her birth mother through the email address on file, but it was a dead end. Then, Davis connected with James Hanks through Mustard Seed’s English Facebook page.
“He had also been adopted through MSM and had recently found his birth mother. He began sharing with me the steps to take. We hit many dead ends, but he never gave up I usually would think, ‘Well, that’s good. At least we tried. I have peace with that,'” Davis said.
Later, they connected with Agnes Yang, who is a social worker in Taiwan.
“Agnes and the police detective successfully found my birth mother. I remember thinking at one point, that I just needed one person in Taiwan that would care enough to help us…we found that one in Agnes,” Davis said.
Davis received photos of her birth mother and send her a letter.
“When I knew that we had found her, and that our DNA matched, I felt a peace that I had never known was missing previously. It meant a lot to me that she had received my letter and she knew that I was ok, thankful, not mad, happy and blessed,” Davis said.
Agnes met with Davis’ birth mother and arranged a Skype video call on Dec 30, 2015.
“The actual video chat with her was very special … I would consider that moment to be one of the highlights of my life,” Davis said.
Davis met her mother in person in 2016.
“We met in person at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport … She and many family members met us at the airport. They had signs and we took pictures,” Davis said.
Davis, along with her husband Matt and children, stayed in Taiwan for two and a half weeks, making special memories with her birth family.
Davis finally met Agnes Yang.
“Without Agnes Yang, I still would not know my birth family. It was an honor to be able to spend some time together,” Davis said.
Although Davis had never been fond of authentic Chinese food in the United States, trying the local cuisine was a requirement on this trip.
“The family said that if we didn’t gain a few pounds while we were in Taiwan, then they weren’t good hosts … In Taiwan, it seems to me that giving food is equal to giving love,” Davis said. “They wanted us to get to experience all that Taiwan had to offer since we would only be there for a short time.”
Every day held a different adventure.
A huge surprise for Davis meeting her birth father.
“This was completely unexpected. We spent about an hour together and it was nice to meet him. He suggested that we visit longer during our next trip to Taiwan,” Davis said.
She also visited Mustard Seed’s Agape Children’s Home and met staff member Rae Chen, who had helped look for Davis’ birth mother.
As Davis was planning her trip to Taiwan, she also planned a fundraiser to help replace the more than 60-year-old facility.
“This new home will be better suited to meet their needs in a healthy environment, which will help prepare them for a successful future. It will also have an area to house single mothers along with their children, a place for young adults as they transition into the workforce, and their vocational training center will also be housed here.”
Davis raised funds for the project by running in the Mercedes-Benz Marathon.
“The Mustard Seed Mission set up a website for the fundraiser, and I shared what we were doing with my friends through social media and email,” Davis said.
The efforts raised more than $5,000.
“The Mustard Seed Mission still has millions of dollars to raise for this one project,” Davis said.
(For information about making a donation, visit https://www.mustard.org.tw/locale/en/tab/898)
Davis also wants to help others adopted from Taiwan locate their birth parents. She is developing a compilation of resources at http://jujudavis1000.wixsite.com/taiwanconnections to help adoptees connect with people who can help in Taiwan.
“It has been meaningful to me to connect with others who were adopted from Taiwan. I have found that our life stories and experiences are so varied, but there is a still some kind of a special bond that we share,” Davis said.
However, Davis said some do not have the happy ending to their search that she experienced.
“They do not find any answers. Or sometimes they find great rejection. I still think that brings a sense of closure, because they aren’t living with the question of ‘What if I had tried?’ Now they know,” Davis said.
“I think it takes bravery from the adoptee and their family members, along with the birth family. Nobody knows what will be found behind that closed door. Opening those doors bring facts that are sometimes hard to face. For me, facing the past only enlarged the future and I feel it brought healing to the hearts of many involved.”
Davis said it was the support of her friends that kept her going through her six months of searching.