Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008



'We’re lucky they’re alive’
Couple’s trip to China to adopt twin sisters almost turns tragic

By Kelly Kazek

For a few seconds, BiBi Beasley Mok stood in the middle of the living room without holding anything — not the table, her grandmother’s knee or her sister’s shirt.

Marveling at this new ability, she looked up at a visitor and grinned.

BiBi’s not quite ready to take an unaided step but it won’t be long, and then her mother, Beth Beasley, will have her hands full.

Because walking on the heels of 10-month-old BiBi will be her twin sister, Maxine. Beth, 42, an Athens native, and her husband, Mok Waiwan, 41, who now live in Venice, Calif., adopted the girls from China in July.

Going to pick up her daughters was, for Beth, the culmination of a lifelong dream to be an adoptive mother. What she couldn’t know is that it would nearly end in tragedy.

Before Beth could get back to the United States with the girls, both their lives would be threatened by a sudden illness.

“We are so lucky to be back with both of them alive and well and healthy,” Beth said.

How it began

When Beth was 2-years-old, a family friend went to Montgomery to adopt a child.

“So Beth said, ‘I want to go to Montgomery to get my babies,’” recalls her mother, Linda Beasley of Athens.

Beth, an architect, never forgot. In 1999, she married Mok, who was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States with his parents when he was 16.

Knowing that so many baby girls in his homeland had been placed in orphanages led to the decision to look to China as a place to adopt.

“His mother always wanted to adopt a baby girl from China but they were never able to,” Beth said.

But until Mok became a citizen, the process would require more paperwork. So in April 2006, with his citizenship official, the couple contacted Nightlight Christian Ministries, a California-based adoption firm, and began the adoption process.

They qualified to adopt twins but they did not know what child would be theirs until June of this year when the agency called to tell them about the twins, whose names at the orphanage were Jin Bi Yun and Jin Bi Xia. In China, the family, or sur, name is written first.

Mok, whose given name actually is Waiwan, was called by his family name Mok upon arriving here by people who did not understand the Chinese custom. The confusion is why Beasley decided to keep her last name.

The girls, however, will be called Maxine BiXia Beasley Mok and Elisabeth “BiBi” BiYun Beasley Mok, keeping their Chinese names as middle names.

In July, more than two years after beginning the adoption process, Beth and Mok were ready to travel to Nanning, China, in the Guangxi province to pick up their twins.

Beth arrived in Nanning July 17, traveling with her mother. Mok, an architect with Gehry Partners who was in the midst of a large project, followed on July 20 to sign papers. He returned to the U.S. the next day to continue the project but Beth and Linda had to stay until all Chinese and U.S. documentation could be completed, which was expected to take several days. Beth and Linda went sightseeing, careful to avoid drinking or brushing teeth with the water, and carefully adhering to feeding the girls’ the formula they were given by their caretakers.

On July 25, mother and daughter traveled to the Guangzhou province, taking the twins on their first airplane trip, to finalize papers. There, they were joined by Beth’s sister Jamie and nephew Austin.

What happened next

While in Guangzhou, Beth realized Maxine was having difficulty breathing.

Panicked, Beth took Maxine to the recommended hospital, Guangzhou Children’s Hospital.

She was in for a surprise.

“There was an outdoor waiting room and then you went upstairs to stand in line to see a doctor and describe what’s wrong with the baby,” she said. “A doctor at a desk writes out what tests are needed, then you go down to the cashier, where you had to pay in Chinese money because that’s all they would take and nothing is done without money.”

Everyone, including Chinese, was required to pay before any hospital services could be done, she said.

After taking Maxine back upstairs for tests, Beth had to wait for results.

“We had to get back in line and wait to see the doctor,” Beth said.
The process repeated itself when the doctor prescribed treatment. Beth went back downstairs to pay for the treatment, then took the rapidly sickening Maxine back upstairs, where the treatments seemed to have no effect.

Linda arrived to find Beth sitting on the filthy floor in the emergency room holding a tube to Maxine’s nose to get oxygen to her.

“It was 100 degrees in there. There was no air conditioning, nobody attending to Maxine,” Linda said.

Finally, doctors agreed to admit Maxine to the pediatric intensive care unit, which meant Beth had to carry the ailing child back down to the cashier to give the hospital more money.

At that point, Beth noticed the baby was turning blue.

Finally, doctors agreed to admit Maxine to the pediatric intensive care unit, which meant Beth had to carry the ailing child back down to the cashier to give the hospital more money.

At that point, Beth noticed the baby was turning blue.

Exhausted, she gave Maxine to Linda to carry back up to PICU.

“I was carrying her and her fingernails were blue and around her mouth was blue,” Linda said. “I didn’t think we’d get there.”

Both were relieved to see the PICU seemed clean and modern. Doctors told them to leave the baby, promising to call with any news.

Hospital visits were allowed each day only at 4 p.m. When they arrived the next day, Maxine had been hooked up to a ventilator but no one had called to tell Beth.

Eventually, doctors would diagnose severe viral pneumonia. With Maxine’s prognosis still unknown, BiBi also grew sick. She was admitted with the same diagnosis to a regular room at the hospital where a family member had to stay 24 hours a day because there were no attendants. By this time, Mok had returned because Beth and Linda feared he might never see Maxine again but he soon had to leave again.

In the meantime, Beth and Linda had called home to Linda’s husband Jimmy begging for help in getting the girls home.

Jimmy went to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and asked the highest-ranking doctor, Margaret Rush, if the hospital could help.

He was shocked when she said yes. An evacuation plane staffed with Vanderbilt doctors would have cost the Beasleys about $250,000, but at that point, afraid for the babies’ lives, they were willing to try anything to get home.

But then Rush was told China would not allow the plane into its air space and the plan was scrapped.

Fortunately, the girls began to recover quickly and within days were ready to come to their new home in the United States.
Linda and Beth changed airlines so they could fly nonstop to Los Angeles, then they flew to Nashville, where Vanderbilt doctors checked the girls thoroughly, giving them a clean bill of health.

Another homecoming

Beth’s visit with her parents here in Athens will come to an end this weekend and she’ll return to Venice and her husband with the girls.

Linda and Jimmy have enjoyed the weeks with their granddaughters and will miss having them in the house, Linda said.

“They’re beautiful and so outgoing,” she said. “They’re just wonderful.”

But the Beasleys have an excuse to fly to California next month — the twins’ first birthday.

“We’ll be flying a lot,” Linda said.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some new old pictures from Tennessee...

The twins had their first "photo shoot" in Tennessee by Shane Shiflet, a horse photographer! Look how they have changed in less than a month! These were taken on August 20th, I believe.

Photos courtesy of
Shane Shiflet

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What you have all been waiting to see....

Maxine & BiBi - Rascals du jour

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

WE'RE HOME...finally!!!

The girls and I flew in last night with the aid of my "mannie," my dad. He's the greatest! He has never really done in child/baby care and he was a champion "mannie" yesterday. And we passed all of Vanderbilt's test with flying colors! Vanderbilt's IA clinic is just terrific. We cannot thank Vanderbilt enough.
So we are finally home. I'm just trying to get settled, get supplies for twins, and slowly unpack the assorted 7, yes 7, checked bags/boxes that I brought home. One tends to accumulate a lot of stuff when travelling extensive periods with twins.
Oh and, one quick tip I have for those of you travelling to China soon. You can never take too many or too much antibacterial wipes or antibacterial liquid soap. More travel tips to come. But leave you with the 2 most important items to take to China. Ergos and Sit n Strolls. Could not have functioned without them.



Wow, how time flies when you have two beautiful girls!!!! I truly can't believe it has been one month since Beth and Mok finally met their wonderful babies.

I would like to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers during this immensely stressful time in Mok and Beth's life. They were definitely answered. Mei Mei and Bibi are thriving thanks to the wonderful, caring, professional Chief of Staff, Dr Margaret Rush at Vanderbilt's Children Hospital, Dr. Cooper, Dr Rothman, and all the nurses and staff.

They will stay in Tennessee for the duration of August to be close to Vanderbilt to ensure they are completely virus free and ready to travel to Venice. They are pulling up on the crib and cruising around it. Bibi favorite thing is to lie on Mei Mei until she yelps for help:) It is amazing to see them so happy from the fragile state they had been. I see them having so much fun in Venice visiting all of you who can't wait to meet them for the first time. They have stolen my heart and I am so happy they have found such wonderful, loving parents. Mei Mei and Bibi are so lucky to have so much family surrounding them right now. Aunt Chavigny is AWESOME and so are Jeb, Jasper, and Mike. Need I mention Marmee (Grandma) and Grandy. They are beyond the most special grandparents I know. Mei Mei is such a charmer. She melts everyone's heart and Bibi is a little rascal.

Happy Happy Happy One Month Anniversary!!!

Love to all,

Aunt Jamie