Yes, Virginia, There is a Fed Ex Man
By Rebecca Coates Nee
December 10th, 2001
the 2001 holiday season approached, I must admit to not feeling
very festive. Who could think about caroling around the Wassail
bowl when thousands have died so tragically, our country is
bombing a cave man and the chief duty of the homeland security
director seems to be to remind us of our insecurity? Not that
Ive ever caroled and Wassailed before, but it always
sounded kind of fun. So, in my pre-holiday funk, I thought
about that famous question posed to the editor of the New
York Sun in 1897 by 8-year-old Virginia OHanlon: "Some
of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says,
If you see it in The Sun, its so. Please
tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?"
Whew. How would the editor of the New York Times answer that
How would any journalist like to tackle that task? After all,
to be factual! Believe in Santa Claus? I dont think
Yet, the editor back then, Francis P. Church, told Virginia
friends were wrong. "They have been affected by the skepticism
of a skeptical
age. They do not believe except what they see," he responded.
there is a Santa Claus."
For me, Santa pulled up Dec. 1st in a sleigh laden with packages,
horses and painted with orange and blue stripes. The driver
didnt expect to
be accosted and photographed when he stepped out. But he was
and he complied.
"Oh, is this one of those?" he smiled and looked
down at the return address
Adoption Placement Agency. "Yep," he said and held
it up as he posed for my
Im trying to not use a cliché when I tell you
that the greatest gift I could
ever receive was inside that package. But I cant because
it was. The package
contained four photographs of Pan Xiao Shi translation:
"small poem." This
small poem was born Dec. 7, 2000 and found the next day, umbilical
fresh, abandoned at the gate of Nong Ken No. 3 hospital of
Gao Zhou City,
It probably broke her mothers heart to give her up.
Most likely, her
birthmother couldnt keep her because of Chinas
control policy. In a country where boys are preferred, girls
make the cut.
So she gave this gift to me indirectly, of course.
My husband and I have
spent the last 17 months waiting for this incredible present
and, after a
second delay a month ago, I began to have doubts.
But one look into the eyes of this small poem from China
has made me a
believer once again. Dreams do come true. Prayers are answered.
There is hope
in this volatile world. Xiao Shi now stands 27 inches tall,
weighs 19 pounds
and is described as healthy, alert, gentle and quiet by her
foster mom. In
January, we will bring her home to Florida as Nikaya Xiao
Is there a Santa Claus? The editor of the Sun wrote that
"there is a veil
covering the unseen world" which not even the strongest
man can tear apart.
"Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that
curtain and view and
picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond," he explained
to Virginia. "No
Santa Claus? Thank God he lives and lives forever."
Through Pan Xiao Shi, I have found faith, poetry, love and
My wish for you is to discover the same.
For the complete text of The Suns letter to Virginia,