She recalled to Yahoo Shine, “It was an image of six babies sitting in a circle on the floor, and one had the most serious facial expression. That image stayed with me.” With her intentions clear, Kelley-Wagner started her journey toward adoption.
Remarkably, as a woman delving into parenthood on her own, Kelley-Wagner lucked out. At the time she decided to become a mother, China was one of the very few countries that permitted single people to adopt. And in 2001 her journey would come to a successful end.
That year, she brought home 10-month-old Liliana. Seven years later, she completed her family with two-year-old Meika. Her youngest daughter came to her with special needs, including a cleft lip and palate with which she was born.