Made in China

Local family recalls adoption process

Allen and April Strauch knew early in their marriage that they would not be able to have biological children. Without much hesitation, they decided that adoption was the way to go for them.

Although the Strauchs knew they would be adopting children, they weren’t sure where they should adopt from. Then, one morning at their church service, they recalled listening to Paul Hatmaker speak to the congregation. He was a spokesperson for Living Hope Adoption Agency.

Living Hope’s main adoption site at that time was in China. Shortly after they heard Hatmaker speak, the Strauchs were drawn to adopt from China. “China is by far the largest place for foreign adoptions,” said Allen.

At that time in the early 2000s, over 100,000 babies were abandoned each year in China. Children were abandoned frequently due to China’s one child policy. The Strauchs also remembered being told that only one in ten babies would survive in Chinese orphanages. That means at least 90,000 babies would die each year.

There were some minor drawbacks in the adoption process. April recalled that “Allen had to be 29 before we could start the paperwork, so we waited and called on his 29th birthday.” They also remember that the terrorist attacks in September 2001 happened only three months before they were supposed to pick up their first baby.

After the paperwork was finished, the Strauchs adopted two girls from China. Once in 2001 and again in 2005. Typically the adoption process takes around six years to complete each time, but it took them only two years each time from the beginning of the paperwork until they got to meet their little girls for the first time.

You Yi was adopted from the Hunan province in 2001 and renamed Lily Strauch, and Tong Min You was adopted from the Jaingxi province in 2005 and renamed Rayelle Strauch. They were both brought home shortly after their first birthdays.

The flight to China took about 14 hours each time. They flew from the U.S. to the city of Guangzhou, where the U.S. consulate is located.

Allen remembers that there were more time delays on their 2001 trip. “It took 37 hours from the time we left home until we made it to the hotel.” Also, when picking up Rayelle in 2005, they realized that she had pneumonia and they had to call a respiratory specialist to check on her at their hotel.

At first, the Strauchs were concerned about what people would think when they returned home. They live in a predominantly Caucasian area and didn’t know how people would react to white parents with Asian babies. Allen says, “I don’t know why, but when it came down to it, people were more accepting.”

The Strauch Family
(From left) Allen, April, Rayelle and Lily Strauch sit on the famous red adoption couch.


Lily is now 16 years old and Rayelle is 13 years old. When asked how being adopted has affected her, Lily said, “I never really thought about being Chinese until more recently… a lot of people aren’t as privileged to live in a community as accepting as ours.” The Strauchs are a normal American family with two Chinese-American daughters. April also said, “We were always open and talked to our girls about [adoption].” They wanted to make sure Lily and Rayelle felt comfortable asking questions and knew where they were from.

A few funny thoughts popped into their heads too. “I’m Chinese, but I can’t speak Chinese,” said Lily. “It just feels weird.” The family also recalled that when the girls were younger they got treated like royalty at Chinese restaurants. “I remember them giving us bags of candy to take home,” said Lily.

Lily admits that she is the sister who asks more questions. She has always been more curious, and Rayelle follows her lead. Lily is also interested in going back to China at least once. She wants to tour the place she once called home.


Digital News Analysis

The following is my personal analysis and comparison of the writing styles of two articles regarding a newly proposed bill in North Carolina.

LA Times: “After transgender bathroom battle, North Carolina looks to ban same-sex marriage”

The LA Times covers this story by first mocking the state of North Carolina in the lead paragraph, and then goes into more depth, showing a new bill proposed by three Republican state legislators that would go against a Supreme Court ruling. The LA Times shows quotes from other legislators, republicans, democrats, and scholars. They also include some statistics and poll results outlining the support of same-sex marriage in the state. They compare it to the Supreme Court rulings against segregation in public schools, and how the rulings were challenged for years afterward.

This story also states that the bill is not likely to pass, and that it will not even be discussed at the next hearing.


Washington Post: “North Carolina bill banning same-sex marriage again won’t be heard, House speaker says”

The Washington Post article sticks to the facts of the bill. The article begins by saying that the bill is “dead on arrival,” letting the readers know that there is nothing to fear about this bill. The article then goes into more detail as to why the Supreme Court ruling will hold, and also goes into more detail about what the proposed bill contains.

After explaining what the proposed bill entails, the article takes a slight turn and goes on to discuss House Bill 2, the bill regarding transgender people using the bathroom of their choice, which was overturned recently.



The LA Times article was not necessarily opinionated, however any reader would be able to tell what stance the author was taking. The Washington Post article, however was very straightforward and very factual. By reading the Washington Post article, I would have no idea what the opinion of the author was. That is something that is important to me. I strive to write articles that are purely factual, especially when it comes to politics.

The use of quotes was also very different between the two stories. The Washington Post article had only a few direct quotes from two sources, and quoted the proposed bill twice, whereas the LA Times article was made up of about 50 percent quotes. Quotes are important, but the quotes in the LA Times article became almost unnecessary near the end.

The Washington Post article also used a few multimedia elements, such as photos, tweets and links, whereas the LA Times article only had one photo as the feature image.

In my opinion, the Washington Post article was written better than the LA Times article. The style of writing in the Washington Post article is what I would like to think my style of writing encompasses.

Winter Storm Stella Knocks Out Northeast

BENTON – In the week leading up to the storm that hit on the night of March 13, meteorologists warned civilians about the weather that was about to hit with full force. However many people brushed off their concerns, until the snow started to fall.

Meteorologists were initially calling for 8 to 10 inches of snow, then the predictions kept getting higher for Columbia County. The night before the storm hit, the predictions were up to 14 to 24 inches.

In the Benton area, total snow accumulation racked up to 30 inches in some places. This left people trapped in their homes if they didn’t have a snow plow or a hired plow service. Catrina Coppola, a resident of rural Benton, said, “We were trapped in our house for three days. The plow service didn’t come until Thursday to dig us out.”

A plow truck arrives at Coppola’s residence on Thursday.

The storm also caused problems for people trying to get to work. Although there was a state of emergency declared for Pennsylvania, some places like hospitals needed to stay open. Eventually, the National Guard was called to transport people from their homes to work at local hospitals.

Local schools shut down for the entire week, with the exception of Monday. The amount of snow that fell left main roads too dangerous to travel on, even days after the initial storm had passed.

Some people anticipated the enormous amount of snow. Another resident of Benton, Lori Lyons, visited the local grocery store on her way home from work to prepare to be trapped in her house for a few days. “When I got there they were completely out of milk and bread, and the store was packed.”

Lyons measures the snow outside her home on Tuesday.

Lyons also prepared to dig herself out. She said her plan was to start shoveling her long driveway when the snow started, and continue to shovel every few hours to keep up with the snowfall. Her plan was not a success. “I fell asleep for two hours and when I woke up there was already 6 inches of snow. I realized then that I wouldn’t be able to keep up,” she said.

Lyons shovels out her vehicles on Tuesday.

Bloomsburg was also hit hard by the Nor’easter. The following links are to stories about the impact of the storm in the Bloomsburg area:

The Legends of the Benton Tigers a Huge Hit

Current and Former Lady Tigers


BENTON – Over 35 Benton High School alumni showed up at the L.R. Appleman Elementary gym to put on a real show on Dec. 27, 2016 for a good cause.


The Benton girls’ basketball team hosted the first alumni basketball game in Benton in over 20 years. The game was titled “The Legends of the Benton Tigers,” and was used to help the girls’ basketball team raise money to cover some expenses. The money that was raised will help the team purchase new uniforms and pay for team building trips and activities.

The team raised money by collecting donations for admittance, selling 50/50 raffle tickets, and running a concession stand.

Faith Schlichter is the scorekeeper at the girls’ games and is very involved with the team. She said, “They raised a little over a thousand dollars,” and later added, “I was surprised, they did really good with it.”

Regina Schlichter (left) and Wendy Kriebel (right) fight for the ball

                However, the real entertainment was in the games. The women alumni played first at 6:00 p.m. and the men played at 7:30 p.m. The players ranged in age from 19 to 55 years old.

Some of the standout players were Faith Schlichter’s younger sisters, Wendy and Kristen Kriebel.

                Wendy Kriebel was the first woman at Benton to score over 1,000 points, and she went on to play basketball in college at the University of Nebraska. Her sister Kristen also played basketball for Benton and later for Rider University.

                When asked how it felt to be back on the court, Wendy said, “I haven’t even touched a basketball in close to 20 years, I’ll be lucky to make it down the court!”

                That seemed to be the consensus for most of the alumni who played in the game. Players were calling for substitutes quite often in both the men’s and women’s games.

                Kristen commented, “The fun was in the fact that we were all playing so terribly…the crowd loved it.”

Alumni men race up the court

                The Legends of the Benton Tigers was an exciting event in the community, and the girls’ team felt very proud for organizing something so successful. They plan on hosting another alumni game over Thanksgiving break in 2017 to raise money for next season.

To learn more about Benton athletics, you can visit or to find out about upcoming games and events, find the schedule here: