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Scott Simon's Family: 'In Praise Of Adoption'

Scott Simon, the host of NPR's Weekend Edition, became a father for the first time at the age of 50, when he and his wife, Caroline, adopted the first of their two daughters from China.

In his new book, Baby We Were Meant For Each Other, Simon describes how he and Caroline decided to adopt after struggling to conceive, and then traveled to Nanchang, China, from their home in Washington, D.C., twice -- first to bring Elise home, and then five years later, when they went to pick up Elise's little sister, Lina.

Simon tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he fondly recalls Elise's reaction to seeing her little sister for the first time.

"They knocked on our door, and sat this baby down on the conference table, and she did not look like the girl in the picture [that we had received]," he says. "Now, we couldn't have cared less, but what we didn't want was them coming back in a couple of hours and saying, 'Oh, there's been some terrible mistake. You got the baby that was meant for [another] family and they got yours. Let's make a switch right now.' Because as soon as they brought that baby into the suite, we were falling in love with her. And I will never forget that our oldest daughter, Elise ... she just reached out with her little hand, with a kind of tenderness you usually don't see in 5-year-olds, and she said, 'It doesn't matter.' "

Simon says moments like these have made him extremely glad he became a father -- and that the process of adopting his daughters has changed his life.

"I have never loved a human being or a human moment more," he says.

Interview Highlights

On the initial reaction of his daughter Elise upon meeting her new parents in China

"We were feeding her, holding her. We bathed her. [But] she just didn't become happy about it for another couple of days. Looking back, the transition is very quick. She immediately became our child, and our identity with her deepened every day and deepens every day even now. [But] the initial reaction is there's no Hallmark card moment when your little girl is put into your arms. ... The only world they've known is behind them -- and the idea of another change just when they were getting comfortable in a world they knew, in an orphanage -- the idea of change is obviously obnoxious."

On becoming a father relatively late in life

"I'm aware of the fact that I'm not going to be around for a lot. As I say that, I have just delivered the eulogy at Dan Schorr's funeral and he was even older when he became a father and he was told the same thing and he lived to the age of almost 94. And his kids are in their 40s. And he was around for a lot. So that's the only con I can think of. I think I'm a much better father than I would have been when I was younger and I think everyone who knows me would probably agree."

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