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The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Fed Ex Man
By Rebecca Coates Nee
December 10th, 2001

As 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 I’ve 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 O’Hanlon: "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?"

Whew. How would the editor of the New York Times answer that question today?
How would any journalist like to tackle that task? After all, we’re trained
to be factual! Believe in Santa Claus? I don’t think so.

Yet, the editor back then, Francis P. Church, told Virginia her little
friends were wrong. "They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical
age. They do not believe except what they see," he responded. "Yes, Virginia,
there is a Santa Claus."

For me, Santa pulled up Dec. 1st in a sleigh laden with packages, powered by
horses and painted with orange and blue stripes. The driver didn’t 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

I’m trying to not use a cliché when I tell you that the greatest gift I could
ever receive was inside that package. But I can’t 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 cord still
fresh, abandoned at the gate of Nong Ken No. 3 hospital of Gao Zhou City,

It probably broke her mother’s heart to give her up. Most likely, her
birthmother couldn’t keep her because of China’s one-child population
control policy. In a country where boys are preferred, girls usually don’t
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 Shi Nee.

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 romance this
holiday season.
My wish for you is to discover the same.

For the complete text of The Sun’s letter to Virginia, go to