Anna Mae He: Coming Home? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Brooke Sanders

Anna Mae He: Coming Home?

Plans are being made to bring Anna Mae He back to America.  The news comes from Anna Mae's biological father, Jack He, who says life in China is not what he thought it would be.

Anna Mae, at the center of an international custody battle for years between her biological parents and her Mid-South foster parents, Jerry and Louise Baker, moved to China earlier this year.

Jack He can easily sum up how his family is adjusting to life in China.

"It's a big mistake for me to return to China with my kids," he said by telephone in a recent interview.

It was a suprising admission given that, just months ago, we saw Anna laughing and apparently happy in her new homeland.

"She does not easily show her emotions on the surface," Jack He said. "She does not cry or have tears."

In fact, He said, there is real pain behind Anna's smiles.

"Every day I can tell she does not feel comfortable in this kind of environment," He said. "It's not only strange to her, but it is scary to her."

Scary, for a number of reasons.  Anna doesn't speak the language in an overcrowded city, where she and her brother and sister attend an overcrowded school.  With 60 or more children in her class, it's a far cry from her small classroom at St. Agnes Academy in Memphis.

"My children do not receive sufficient attention from the teachers, so I am very concerned that they can't catch up with the students academically," He said.

And, Anna isn't making many friends.

"She is not interested in interacting with others," He said. "She keeps thinking about Memphis."
   
Anna is not alone. Her brother and sister want to come back to Memphis as well.

"My children are U. S. citizens," He said. "They were born and raised in the United States."

So, although Jack He has two teaching jobs in China, he wants to bring his family back to Memphis.  He can't do that until he gets help with immigration laws, and an American company to sponsor his family's return.

He hopes someone in Memphis will help.

"It means everything to me to return to the United States with my children," He said. "It means everything."

Until then, Jack He said, his family is doing the best it can to stay happy.


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