What 10,000 Means to Me

A few months ago, we had a contest for CCAI’s 20 year anniversary and our achievement of 10,000 kids being adopted.  We had contests in drawing, coloring and writing about what 10,000 means to me.  We posted many of the pictures that contestants had drawn and colored, but we wanted to share the top essays from our adopted children entitled, “What 10,000 Means to Me.” Here are the winners and their essays:

Tina W. 17 years old        Dragon Award

The number and concept 10,000 can be interpreted in multiple ways. The number 10,000 offers people a numerical value on just how many children CCAI has helped to adopt from China. But more importantly, the value 10,000 is a symbol representing how many lives CCAI has helped change.

There is a famous Chinese proverb that illustrates the importance of the number 10,000. The proverb suggests that a bird, named Peng, was so large that he could go from the northern sea to the southern sea in one single bound. The children that were adopted from China represent the bird. The first children adopted are at the front and beak area of the bird. While the most recent children adopted are on the end or near the rear area of the bird. I am near the front because I was one of the first one hundred children adopted through CCAI.

The phrase “a Peng’s Journey of 10,000 Li” has become a popular term due to the ancient proverb. This phrase suggests that people will be able to travel far and have great success, a wonderful life, and a prosperous future. That phrase is a good representation of why CCAI was created.  It was created to help orphans find loving homes and to help them have a chance at a prosperous future. Therefore, the number 10,000 symbolizes getting a chance to have a future. So despite it only being a number, I think the most important connotation is the idea that 10,000 can represent the future for children. The achievement of 10,000 significantly demonstrates how many lives CCAI has helped improve. As a result, the proverb and the actual numerical value parallel one another. They both symbolize the idea of one having a prosperous future. Whether demonstrated through a fictitious proverb or factual mathematical value, both sources demonstrate the need to help people achieve a chance at having a positive future. Therefore, I believe that the number 10,000 most significantly represents the chance for a bright future.


Danielle D. 13 years old
Jade Award

Bao’s Fortune

Bao had always had a good memory. Everyone thought she wouldn’t remember being adopted nine years ago at the age of four, but strangely enough she did.

She had her own bed in a room with other beds and other girls her age. There was one woman who came into her room more than the others. She had black hair that fell to her waist and big, almond-shaped eyes.

One day that woman came into the room where Bao lay on the bed. Bao was supposed to be taking a nap but she was too busy trying to trill to a bird out her window.

“Bao,” said the woman.

Bao looked at her, smiled, and went back to talking to the bird.

“Bao,” she said again and came to sit on her bed.

“Aiya?” Bao said, snuggling into her lap.

She stroked her hair. “Your family has come.”

Bao blinked at her, confused.

“Remember I told you about your family?” she said. “They are coming to take you to their home now. They’ve adopted you.”

“Oh,” Bao said, pulling on a lock of Aiya’s hair.

Aiya sat her up straight in her lap so she could look in her face. “You are wan sing,” she said. “That means very fortunate indeed.”

Wan sing,” Bao repeated.

“Yes,” Aiya said. “You are very lucky, my little Bao. You are going to have a happy family and a good home.”

The woman carried Bao to a different room in the orphanage where a man and a woman waited. The woman had golden hair and the man had brown. It was a bit odd to see people with such strange hair colors but they seemed nice with smiles bigger than the size of Bao’s hand.

When she saw them smiling like that and the sparkles in their eyes, Bao let go of Aiya’ hand and walked over to them. She wrapped her arms around the woman’s leg and giggled.

On her adoption day celebration when she was seven, Bao remembered the words that the woman at the orphanage had told her and she told her mother.

She replied, “Your daddy and I are the ones who are wan sing. We were so fortunate the day you came to us.”

The year of Bao’s adoption day when she was fifteen, was 2012. The adoption agency that Bao’s family had worked with to adopt Bao had reached an adoption number of 10,000 children on their 20th anniversary.

“Remember those words?” Bao asked her mother. “Wan sing?”

“Yes,” said her mother. “Very fortunate.”

“I found out that wan also means ten thousand and ten thousand is a complete and perfect number. It’s like all ten thousand children and their families will have perfect and complete lives. And even though the family started out separated by countries and oceans, adoption brought them together.”

Bao’s mother wrapped her in a hug. “And you, my dearest Bao, have made our family perfect and complete. Wan sing.”


Audrey R. 11 years old
Pearl Award

The Impact of 10,000
By: Audrey Roberts

The number 10,000. Well, I can’t say that I can think of 10,000 things that it means to
me, so I’m just going to write about the few things that it does. Overall, everything that
10,000 means to me is positive, and I don’t see it as a “bad” number.
There is a bit of a warning in the number 10,000. If you haven’t noticed, turn 10,000
upside down, and it says 00001. This says that even if you have everything you ever
wanted (10,000 in China means infinite), you make one wrong move, and you have close
to nothing. There is another meaning to this: you cannot have 10,000 without starting with one.

You can break the number 10,000 into many smaller numbers, or you can multiply it into
larger numbers. For example, in my religion there is a story about 2,000 stripling
warriors. They were taught by their mothers at an early age what was right and wrong.
They went into battle, and because they followed their mothers’ teachings, all 2,000
survived. You could also think about the tens of thousands of people who have given
their lives so that this country could be free and a land of opportunity for all.
Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI) has helped 10,000 Chinese children to
find homes and forever families. I one of those children. I feel very fortunate to be here,
and so for me, 10,000 is also a number that represents good fortune.
Break down the number 10,000 into one. That one could be me. For me, just me, just
one, CCAI gave me the chance for a family, for an education, for wonderful parents and
great friends, for a community, for a life of opportunity and the chance to explore
everything I can be. And when you consider 10,000 children, each being given this
chance, the impact is infinite. One life has a great significance. There is no telling what
one person is capable of doing, 10,000 lives, well, that can impact the world. Just think.
Two people, Josh and Lily, have helped over 10,000 children to find out how many lives
they can touch.
These are the meanings that 10,000 has to me. Overall, I see the number 10,000 to be a
good number. For me, it means good fortune, a warning to you, the many brave men and
women who fought for our country, the difference of one life and the impact of 10,000
lives. I am glad that I had the chance to share with you my ideas and thoughts, and I
hope that you feel the same.


Congratulations again to our winners, and we hope that these essays are as meaningful to you as they were to us.