Best Friends Forever

Children in Chinese Orphanage Find “Forever Families” from Prestonwood

We were blessed to celebrate Stand Sunday recently, and as National Adoption Awareness Month comes to a close, we’re grateful for the heart of our church family to raise awareness for foster care and adoption. Along with millions of orphans around the world, hundreds await in our own backyard for a “forever family.” Many families at Prestonwood have experienced the joy of adoption, and each have a wonderful story to tell. The story of how the Clary and Sykes families became connected forever through adoption is just one of them.

Waiting for his best friend in the whole world, Dawson Clary—or Dada as everyone calls him—fidgeted as he kept watch for Hannah Sykes. And after what seemed like forever, but was really only a few minutes, he spotted her with her brothers and her mom, walking toward the front doors of Prestonwood.

Sharon Sykes and Amy Clary meet at the Prestonwood KIDZ Indoor Playground for a playdate with their children Hannah Sykes and Dawson (“Dada”) Clary, who lived at the same orphanage in Changsha, China.

Dada sprinted across the tile floor, hugged Hannah before she could even step inside, and they jumped and danced and screamed in words only they could understand. But no wonder. Hannah and Dawson have known each other longer than anyone else in their young lives. And after almost a year apart, they’re back together again.

Hannah and Dada spent their first years together at an orphanage in Changsha, China. They’d been given up by their birth parents because both had significant medical issues—Hannah was born with a cleft lip, and Dawson with a condition that causes fluid to build up in his brain.

At the orphanage, they were inseparable. And then Sharon and Andy Sykes traveled all the way from Lewisville to adopt Hannah as their daughter.

During the adoption process, when they’d received photos of their daughter-to-be, the couple noticed a little boy in nearly every one. And when they visited the orphanage and saw Hannah and Dawson together, “I thought, ‘We can’t leave this boy in China,’” Sharon said.

Even before they left to return home, Sharon began posting photos of Dawson on Facebook, praying and pleading that someone, somehow, would provide him a home near his lifelong friend.

Chris and Amy Clary, a couple now members of the same Bible Fellowship at Prestonwood as the Sharon and Andy, quickly stepped up.

Chris and Amy weren’t planning to adopt. They already had three children – all younger than 4. But when Amy ran into some friends at Chick-Fil-A and saw Sharon’s Facebook photos and saw Dawson’s smile, she realized there was room for another child in her life.

“That’s where I first saw him,” Amy said. “But then, everything seems to happen at Chick-Fil-A.”

Chris initially took a more pragmatic view, she said.

“At first, he was like, ‘Let’s see what God is saying,’” Amy said.

But to her, God was already saying yes, and Chris soon agreed. Now, Amy said, “he’s a real advocate for getting kids out of orphanages.

“With me, he’s like, ‘Hey, we could do this again!’”

Mostly, though, Chris talks with other dads about the possibilities of adoption, she said.

“One of the things he tells them is to quit playing ‘I don’t want to do this’ and thinking instead that ‘I’ve been called to this,’” Amy said.

The Clarys traveled to China in late summer to meet their new son and bring him home.

When they met Dawson at the orphanage, Amy gently spoke to him in English.

“I told him, ‘I’ll be your mommy forever.’ And he said something to me in Chinese. I asked the translator what he said.

‘He said, “I know.’”

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the Clarys walked off the plane and found a very excited welcoming committee, including the Sykes family and Hannah in particular.

Dawson and Hannah hadn’t seen one another since she left China 11 months before. But in an instant, it was as if they’d never been apart.

They fell into each other’s arms, dancing, hugging, laughing.

“They must have hugged 400 times,” Amy said. “They kept hugging and getting so giddy that they would fall over.”

Playing together, Hannah and Dawson (“Dada”) make up for lost time.

“That went on for like 20 minutes,” Sharon said.

The video of their reunion—with a story by Fox4’s Lori Brown, another member of the Uprising Bible Fellowship—hit the Internet and went viral. Their story spread around the world, garnering so much attention that ABC News named the Clary and the Sykes families its “Persons of the Week.”

And the flurry of media attention gave Sharon and Amy an international opportunity to talk about adoption for the millions of children who need families to give them a home and love them unconditionally.

Today, Hannah and Dawson live about five minutes apart. Their families are close and they see each other often.

And Hannah and Dada are still best friends forever.

Published: November 28, 2016
Author: Michael Young

Add Your Heading Text Here

Date: March 25, 2021


Online Giving

Simple and secure. Give a single gift, or schedule recurring giving using your checking account, debit, or credit card.

Give Now

Serve at Prestonwood

Prestonwood offers many ways to use your gifts and talents in serving others – from cameraman to choir member, technician to teacher, parking attendant to prayer warrior. Click here to find out more.

Learn More


Besides opportunities to watch services, we’re pleased to provide a variety of incredible opportunities to plug in to resources for young believers and mature Christians.

Live Streaming

Prestonwood.Live, our online community, exists to fulfill the our mission of Prestonwood for those who cannot attend a Prestonwood campus.

Visit Prestonwood.Live

On Demand Services

Miss a Sunday Worship Service? Want to catch up on a sermon series? Click here to see past recorded services at Prestonwood. Search for titles, filter by speaker or series, or browse by dates.

View Messages

Connect with Prestonwood

To find out more about the ministries at Prestonwood, click on any of the links below.

Adult Lifegroup Bible Studies

Through our LifeGroup Bible Studies, small-group ministry, every person who comes to Prestonwood is provided an opportunity to build key relationships that can last a lifetime.

Find a Group

Life Recovery Ministry

We want to help men, women and students recover from emotional, physical, relational and spiritual wounds through the power of Christ. Through classes, small groups and individual discipleship, the Life Recovery Ministry will help people pursue, overtake, and recover a life of peace and purpose.

Learn More

Core Values

We unapologetically value six core areas in the life of our church. Together, these shared values identify who we are, rally us toward all that we desire to accomplish, and unite us in fellowship.

Learn More

Becoming a Christian

The most important decision in your life will be whether you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

Learn More


No matter which campus you attend, you’ll find warm smiles to greet you; vibrant, worshipful music to lift your soul; and powerful teaching from God’s Word that will transform your life.

FIrst Time?

You’ll feel welcome from the very beginning of your visit to Prestonwood. We have something for everyone in your family so let us help you plan your first visit.

Plan Your Visit

Next Step Class

This class serves as the centerpiece for helping new members and those considering Prestonwood plug in to the life and ministries of our church.

More Information