Ringing in the Chinese New Year with a troupe of adopted girls
Steamboat Springs — Autumn Hilley, 10, and her younger sister, Lauren, 7, can’t remember their days in China.
Autumn was 18 months old when she was adopted by Steamboat Springs residents Steve and Rebecca Hilley. Lauren, from a different part of the country, was 13 months old.
Despite having spent nearly their entire lives in the United States, they considered it important to celebrate the Chinese New Year at Panda Garden Restaurant in Steamboat Springs on Sunday.
“It’s important. It’s a part of the Chinese culture,” Autumn said. “It’s important for us so you don’t forget about it.”
Nearly two dozen young Chinese girls who had been adopted by Steamboat Springs-area parents crowded into the dining room at Panda Garden on Sunday night, joined by their families.
They dined on Chinese food, and the girls ran laps around the restaurant with a large cardboard dragon. They celebrated the way little girls from any country do: with games, giggles and a few treats.
“We try to get all the kids together. We’ve been doing it for four or five years now,” Steve Hilley said. “We try to get them together to celebrate the new year and to celebrate their heritage.
“This is where these kids are from. It’s what’s in their genes and we try to carry a little of that through. Sometimes it’s tough. Learning Chinese, that’s tough. But this we can do. It celebrates the kids, their heritage, their adoption and how much we all love them.”
The opportunity was not lost on the girls, who seized the opportunity to meet and play with other adopted children.
“You get to interact with more Chinese people,” Piper Eivins, 8, said. “We’re from the same country, so it’s fun. We get along with them.”
The group continues to expand and included one new family this year.
“It’s truly a unique bond,” said Kristin Hager, who has two adopted Chinese daughters, Annie, 7, and Elizabeth, 5. “We keep growing.
“It’s hard, in this community, to learn about Chinese culture, but it’s important for the girls.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Steamboat Springs is expected to finish off July with slightly more precipitation than in previous years.