Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Adopted daughter from China gives Hudson couple the child they longed for

Do babies come from China or a mother's belly?

Four-year-old Josephine Gross wants to know. Her parents worry what she'll ask in the future.

As an infant, Josie was found outside a dirty gray cinder block hospital in an eastern China farming community where bison pull plows and buildings slowly crumble.

There is no trace of who left Josie in the garbage-strewn hospital yard. No last names to Google. No cousins to someday find on Facebook.

This makes her mother cry.

"The more we can give her," Lisa Gross said. "The less she'll have a loss of."

On July 13, 2005, Lisa and her husband, Howard, stood with seven other American couples in a Chinese office building, waiting.

After three unsuccessful in vitro fertilization attempts, a failed domestic adoption and 13 months on a waiting list, it was finally time to meet their daughter.

"You've loved the child from the minute you conceived the idea," recalled Lisa, 43, an instructor at Keiser Career College in St. Petersburg. "Once somebody places that child in your arms, it's really not important how she got there."

Now an American prekindergartener who likes french fries, superheroes and SpongeBob, Josie is inquisitive and friendly. She has a play area full of toys and can sweet talk her dad into letting her eat corn dogs in front of the TV.

"I'm a riot," she tells a stranger.

The Gross family joined the local chapter of the Families with Children from China support group when they lived in Mastic Beach, N.Y. For a long time, they had a wide network of friends.

FCC families greeted them at the airport when they arrived home from China with Josie. The Grosses and other group members went to Chinese lantern and dragon festivals around Manhattan and Brooklyn.

"You see people walking down the street with little girls from China every day on the Upper East Side," said Sabra Larkin, communications director for the Manhattan agency the Grosses used to find Josie.

Last year, the family left New York, its cold winters and their circle of friends behind. They relocated to Hudson, where they know only one couple with a Chinese daughter.

"It's starting over," said Howard, 43, a substitute teacher.

Chinese New Year 2009 was spent with the local FCC chapter at a Chinese buffet in Clearwater. It was much smaller than Chinese New Year celebrations in New York. And much warmer.

The Grosses hope the few people they talked to will replace the friends left behind in New York.

Josie needs other children to share her heritage with, her parents said. She needs friends who can relate when those hard questions about her past come up in the future. Questions harder to answer than ''where do babies come from?''

"Every child who is adopted had to deal with the fact that … for whatever reason, they had to be given up," Lisa said as she fought back tears.

The Grosses want their daughter to know she is not alone.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at or (813) 435-7312.

Adopted daughter from China gives Hudson couple the child they longed for 02/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 14, 2009 2:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'


    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108