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For the first time since Anna Mae He was returned to her biological parents, her father Jack He is speaking out.
Jack He works at New Sardis Baptist Church. Anna Mae plays on the playground there.
For the first time, Jack He opened up about how Anna Mae is doing since she was reunited with her biological family.
He sat with Action News 5 reporter Janice Broach in the sanctuary of New Sardis Baptist Church where he works as a janitor.
He said 8-year-old daughter Anna Mae does not call him or his wife Casey, Mom and Dad yet. "She didn't say Jack or Casey, she didn't call Mom or Dad, she didn't say anything because at first she was very hostile."
He said she is doing better than he expected in the past few weeks since she has been living with her biological parents.
"She has been adjusting and making progress. Everyday we see more smiles on her face," said He.
He said Anna Mae did not accept her family at first. "She used to think in the transition she was Mexican not Chinese. She used to think she was Mexican not Chinese."
He said his wife learned to cook Mexican food because Anna Mae likes it.
Anna Mae lived most of her life with Jerry and Louise Baker.
The He's asked the couple to care temporarily for their daughter when she was an infant because they couldn't.
The He's have fought for years to get their daughter back and finally last month a court ordered that she be returned.
He added, "For my broken family to be reunited, I have been working about eight years as a dishwasher, as a janitor, as a delivery boy, all kinds of jobs I did before because in China I was a college professor."
Jack He said he would do it again if he had to. He also said there is the possibility that he and his family could be sent back to China.
Anna Mae He was born in January of 1999. Later that year, Jerry and Louise Baker agreed to take her in for 90 days while Jack and Casey He got on their feet financially.
The custody battle began in 2000 when the He's petitioned the Juvenile Court for Anna Mae's return.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in 2005 that Jack and Casey He terminated their parental rights.
In January, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned that ruling giving custody of Anna Mae to the He's.
The two families worked through juvenile court to make the transfer.