by Sarah Mummert, Student Public Relations Writer
In 2005, 18 families from the U.S., unknown to each other previously, adopted daughters from the Hunan province in China. All born within six months of each other, the girls were placed into their new parents’ arms in the same room on the same day.
Two of those girls were Hannah Woller and Sophia Delp. And now they are rooming together as freshmen at Cedarville University.
Woller, a biology major from Montague, Michigan, and Delp, a business management major from Center Valley, Pennsylvania, consider themselves sisters by heart rather than by blood. And the same goes for the rest of the “Yueyang family,” as the families call themselves. Their connection wasn’t severed when they went to their separate homes in the U.S. The following year, they began their annual family reunion, which they’ve held for the last 17 years.
“The girls just click like sisters every time they see each other,” said Woller’s mom, Sarah. “They were all in the same orphanage room – many were crib mates – and it is really a special bond.”
The reunions are complete with matching T-shirts and traditions, including Chinese food, escape rooms and a movie night. The T-shirt designs always include the name “Yueyang family” on the front and a quote on the back, along with where the reunion was held and all the places they’ve been. They’ve been to each other’s hometowns all across the country and other vacation hotspots.
“We call each other our ‘China sisters,’” Woller said. “My parents are like parents to Sophia, and her parents are like parents to me.”
Deciding to major in biology with a premed emphasis was a simple choice for Woller. In the years following Woller’s adoption, her family adopted two more girls from China, both with physical challenges.
“We’ve gone through a lot of doctor appointments and physical therapy with them, and I got to come along for a lot of those,” Hannah said. “I fell in love with kids and people helping others in the medical field, and I really wanted to do that.”
Delp chose business management for its versatility in the workplace. “I feel like God gave me the gifts to work with others in this department,” she said.
Both girls have loved their time on campus, including the genuineness of the campus community and daily chapel services. But one thing that really brings them comfort is the presence of the other on campus.
Adoption comes with unique challenges, but this band of sisters found strength in the bond they have and in the truth of their adoption in Christ.
“As I got older, the idea of abandonment hit,” Woller said. “But being in a Christian household helped a lot, because we’re all adopted into the family of Christ, so that perspective helped me through that.”
“It’s really nice having Hannah,” said Delp. “Since I already knew her, it felt like family, so it wasn’t that hard of a transition.”
“We never saw each other more than a couple times a year, and now we get to see each other every day,” Woller said.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,456 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Science in biology and Bachelor of Science in management, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.