Girls trip to China brings back memories
Arizona Daily Star
July 24, 2007

Author: JEFF COMMINGS, ARIZONA DAILY STAR Estimated printed pages: 2

A Tucson teen recently made a trip to China with her adoptive parents and saw her birth country for the first time since she was a baby.

Kia Hitt, now 13, made the trip with Mike and Linda Hitt last month through the Dillon International adoption agency, which helped the Hitts adopt Kia in 1995.

Kia said she doesn't have many memories of the 2 1/2 years she lived in Qing Yuan, China, before the Hitts adopted her, but she always talked about a "rainbow bird" that seemed so exotic it couldn't possibly exist.

During the 12-day trip, Kia was able to prove the small bird does exist, and many memories of smells, sights and tastes lodged in her subconscious came back to her.

"It felt like home," she said.

This is the second year Dillon International has offered families an opportunity to travel to China. The agency has helped families arrange trips to Korea for many years, said Rebecca Hackworth, director of social services. Families are responsible for all travel costs, which were about $12,000 for the Hitt family.

The Hitts had been planning a trip to China for years, Mike Hitt said, but were glad they were able to coordinate a trip through Dillon International.

"Any time you go with a group with a common interest, you get a lot more out of the trip, and you're not just a tourist," said Hitt, 54.

The Hitts were one of the first families to adopt a Chinese child from the agency. Dillon International added China to the growing list of countries it serves in 1993, Hackworth said.

The Hitts took the trip this year with five other families who adopted Chinese girls through Dillon. Kia and the other girls learned about Chinese culture, clothing and calligraphy. They also visited their respective orphanages, where the Hitts met the director who handled the adoption.

"He recognized Kia right away," Mike Hitt said. "They had adopted 750 kids, but she stood out to him."

However, Kia was unable to meet her birth parents.

Chinese law prevents many families from having more than one child. In cases of multiple births, one child is given up for adoption. If a girl and a boy are born, the girl is almost always given away. The male child can carry on the family name.

Records of birth parents are not kept well, the Hitts found, because the mother might have dropped off the child at a hospital or police station without giving adequate information.

As she sat between her parents and recounted events of the recent trip, Kia's tears suggested a desire to meet her birth parents.

"I can't imagine the shock of being that age and everything you've smelled and tasted and experienced are taken away and you're in this new environment," said Linda Hitt, 53.

In the U.S., Kia has won several state math contests and is learning to speak Mandarin Chinese, which was helpful on her trip. She will enter the eighth grade in the fall at Desert Christian Middle School, where Linda Hitt is an administrator.

Kia is the third adopted child for the Hitts. They also have a 22-year-old daughter and a 23-year-old son, both from Korea.

* Contact reporter Jeff Commings at 807-8431 or
Page: B3

Copyright 2007 The Arizona Daily Star
Record Number: MERLIN_5290014