Name: Hailey Anna-Maria Dalton
Race: Singaporean (Adopted by Mathias Dalton and William Burke-Dalton in 2004 from Thailand after the Indian ocean tsunami took the lives of her parents. Was 8 years old at the time)
Given Name (Before Adoption): Adeline Jiang
Parents (Biological): Derrick Jiang (was 22 at Hailey’s birth) and Ainsley Zheng (Was 16 at Hailey’s birth)
Parents (Adoptive): Mathias Dalton and William Burke-Dalton (Lives in Miami, FL)
H/C: Black (With pink highlights)
E/C: Green with brown specks
DOB: February 18th, 1996
Story Begins in: Miami International Airport/Miyagi Prefecture, Japan (Tohoku, specifically)
On: March 10-11th, 2011 at 11:16am
Time Zones: EST (Eastern Standard time, US/Canada) JST (Japan Standard Time, JPN)
Hailey Miami Intl. Airport 3/10/2011 7:15pm EST
“Hailey, be careful sweetie!” One of my Dads yell as I try to balance myself on the railing while we wait to board our plane to Japan.
“I am Daddy!” I say as I hop down and my other father walks back from the counter.
“They are getting ready to ask us to board the flight.” He tells Daddy, who nods as I make sure my Kimono is on correctly.
“Japan Airlines Flight 221 is now boarding at Gate Three. Japan Airlines Flight 221 is now boarding at Gate Three.” The lady who announces our flight says and I grab my PINK carry-on bag with things to do for the next 13 hours.
On the plane, I sit next to the window and see a small TV in front of me. Digging through my carry-on, I find my favorite movie. I Am Legend. I put the disc into the tray and plug in my headphones, as Daddy sits with me.
“Daddy, when we get to Nana’s, what are we going to do?” I ask him and he chuckles, brushing my hair from my eyes.
“Nana is making you a late birthday cake, My daughter.” He says, my Daddy is Japanese American, with my Nana still residing in the outskirts of Tohoku in Japan. I smile widely, excited to see Nana again.
“Good Evening Passengers, this is your Capitan, Aito Tanaka. I will be piloting you from Miami International Airport to Sendai Airport in the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan. Thank you for choosing Japan Airlines.” The Capitan says and then the plane lurches forwards and soon we are in the air.
About five hours into the flight, I get sleepy and start to doze off. I am abruptly woken up to the plane shaking and the seatbelt sign on as well.
“Please fasten your belt, ma’am.” One of the flight attendants say and I latch my belt as I hold onto the tray in front of me, seeing dramatic lighting flashes outside my window.
“Daddy! Make it Stop!” I cry out and both of my fathers wrap me in a hug to try to calm me from the shaking, but it doesn’t stop the flashback from returning.
Thailand, December 26th, 2004
“Papa!” I scream as I hold onto a tree, cold water freezing me. I climb up higher, searching for my mother or father.
“Mama!” I cry out again as I begin to wail. Soon, the waters recede, allowing me to get out of the tree, but I don’t get fully out of it. I remain on a branch somewhat up the tree.
Why did we come here? Why couldn’t we have stayed home?
“Hailey! Baby, please say something.” I hear Daddy say and I open my eyes to see that I have an oxygen mask on my face and realize that I just had another panic attack.
“I’m okay.” I whisper out and the people return to their seats as I remove the mask and put my face in my hands.
“Honey, it’s okay. These happen, baby girl.” Dad says as he rubs my back, but I shake my head.
“It happened seven years ago, Dad. I shouldn’t be having these still. They only happen when bad things are going to happen.” I say and he shakes his head, gently rocking us back and forth.
“it’s going to be okay, Hailey. Nothing bad is going to happen.” Daddy says and I slowly look out the window to see a blueish sky.
About six hours later, we touch down at Sendai airport, and hail a cab. Glancing to my watch it reads 10:15 am local time. Dad begins to hail a cab, and soon we are on our way to Nana’s home, arriving shortly after 12pm.
“Nana!” I say as I race into her arms, and she chuckles as she hugs me tightly.
“Lunch is waiting for you, dear one.” Nana says as we enter the home and I race to her kitchen to see my favorite food.
“She seems a little edgy, my sons. Did something happen on your journey?” Will’s mother asks and I nod.
“She had a panic attack on the plane, as well as a partial flashback from 2004. She believes that something bad might happen on our stay here.” I explain and she glances into the kitchen, watching Hailey eat her sushi and rice.
“She is gifted with the power to see the future, my son. She predicted my stroke three years ago, and had she not been around, I may not be here today. She predicted that you would have to be hospitalized due to a gastrointestinal issue, Mathias. She also predicted that the plane crash that occurred two years ago would happen, and refused to let William on the plane. You need to take her word for what she says, My sons.” She says and I nod as I see Hailey entering her room.
Two hours later 2:39PM
“You don’t look American.” My Japanese friend, Akita, says and I nod.
“I was born in Singapore, but lost my family in Thailand during the Tsunami in 2004. I was adopted by my fathers, Mathias and William, in 2005.” I tell her and she nods as she sets her ball down, but soon her cell phone begins screaming and sudden shaking occurs, throwing us violently to the ground.
“Dishin! Dishin!” Akita screams, and although I know very little Japanese, I know what she is saying. Earthquake. As her hand grabs mine, we hold on tight as we wait for the shaking to end. The shaking finally stops about five minutes after it began. We both stand up and see some houses in ruins and others still standing tall. Looking to Akita, I see the look of fear on her face, as the quake last for a long time.
“I need to get back to my Nana’s home.” I say and she nods as we turn to go back to my Nana’s, but see that the road is impossible to travel on by car or foot, a lot of it gone.
“I know a back way!” Akita says and we begin walking to get to the back way of the road. After walking a good six miles, her phone begins to scream again.
“This is a Tsunami Warning! Areas that will be afflicted are Ta-Shui Park in the Tohoku region of the Miyagi Prefecture, South Port of the Tohoku region of the Miyagi prefecture, Tohoku region of the Miyagi prefecture. Get to high ground now! DO NOT STALL! Your life is in immediate danger!” Her phone says and we look to each other, before rushing into a building, climbing up a ladder to the highest floor possible and rushing to the pillars to hold on.
I see water racing to us, and soon feel it as it crashes into us. I hold on as tightly as possible, clenching my eyes shut as I brace the wave. I’m caught off guard when I hear Akita scream.
“Hailey!” She screams and I see that she’s being sucked out of the building and rush to her, and we manage to grab each other’s hand before we are pushed out of the building and into the now flooded street.
I grab hold of a floating board, and Akita does as well, blood dripping from her forehead.
“We are going to die.” She says and I shake my head as I push her onto the board and manage to find my footing to push her to the really big tree we passed.
“Climb up.” I tell her, allowing her to go first then I scale the tree, only realizing then that I have a major bruise and cut on my left side, along with several other tiny cuts on my legs.
“Are we safe up here?” Akita asks and I nod, watching as the wave begins to recede back into the ocean, relief washing over me as it does.
“We are. I’m going to try to find something to bandage our wounds, you stay here.” I tell her and she nods as I jump down, mud coating my shoes as I walk around, eventually finding a medical box.
I pick the box up and make my way back to the tree. I scale the tree again, but this time feel extreme pain envelope my entire side as I do. After I get seated, I open the box, seeing not one drop of water inside on the medical supplies. I gently begin to wrap my side with the widest roll of gauze, then wrap it with one of the Ace wraps to prevent any broken ribs from moving and to slow the bleeding down. Next, I clean off Akita’s forehead, examine her cut, noticing that she needs stitches. I gently stitch her forehead shut temporarily before wrapping it with a roll of gauze and then wrapping her entire head in an ace bandage.
“Akita, we have to get you help.” I say as she sits up, her pupils fully dilated, a sign of internal bleeding near her brain. She nods, and I realize she needs help now.
“Come on.” I say as I jump down and she follows. I see a car on a higher point and pick up Akita, racing to the car. I notice that the keys are still in the ignition and gently place Akita in the passenger seat. I turn the key over and the car starts, allowing me to drive it to the hospital downtown.
As I get to the hospital, I see many EMTs working to help people. One comes over to me and starts speaking Japanese.
“He says to park and they’ll get us help, and he’s asking if you can help them afterwards.” Akita says and I nod, parking the car and removing the key. Doctors rush Akita inside while an EMT rewraps my side, as another tells me where I need to go to help.
Getting inside the car, I drive to West Tohoku, and begin to find many people who need help.
Many people are crying in Japanese, and I park my car and exit to try and provide help.
“My daughter, she no wake up!” A young woman says and I gently take her child, and begin to do CPR. After ten minutes, she begins to wail as I hand her back to her mother, allowing both to enter my car so the child gets further evaluation.
My car is soon full of passengers, and I return to the hospital, helping EMTs get them out.
“Is there any way I can get to the south end of the city?” I ask one woman who shakes her head. I drop to the ground, my heart shattering as I realize I have lost my family to yet another tsunami.
“My daughter! Please, can you find daughter?!” I hear a woman beg the EMTs and get up.
“I can find her.” I say and she rushes to me, a thankful smile on her face.
“Please, she only 7. Here is picture!” The woman says and I nod as I take the slightly wet photograph and see the little girl in the photo.
“Her name Sakura, but she called Saki. Please! Find her!” The woman begs me and I nod as I get back into the car, setting the photo on the speedometer before beginning the search.
I drive through a very destroyed area, calling for Sakura with help from my translator, and right as I am about to leave the neighborhood, I hear a cry for help.
I fly out of my car, rushing to the place where I heard the cries, and see a small child trapped underneath a wooden door frame. Working quickly, I get the frame off of her, and scoop her up, seeing a big bruise on her abdomen and getting bigger.
“Sakura?” I ask and she nods, relieving me as we go to my car, and begin our way to the hospital.
“Saki!” the woman cries as I get her daughter out and EMTs rush to me, taking her.
“Thank you.” The woman says as she wraps me in a giant hug, and I notice another photo of a small child.
“This was my sister, Adeline. Our parents passed away from Thailand wave in 2004. I heard that American men adopted her and she went to the great land.” The woman says and I look at her face, seeing the resemblance that we share, but shake it off as we cannot be related.
“Hailey!” I hear a man’s voice yell and look around to see who is screaming it, when I see both of my fathers looking for me.
“Daddy!” I cry as I climb on top of the car, and they race to me as the woman leaves to find her daughter. My fathers wrap me in a tight hug, as we all begin to sob with joy that we found each other.
“Nana? Is Nana okay?” I ask and Daddy looks away as I realize that she didn’t make it. I drop to the ground, crying as this is the second grandmother I have lost in my lifetime.
10 years later March 11th, 2021
New York, New York
“Here with us today is the girl who survived two natural disasters that devastated her life, but in a sense made her stronger. Everyone, Hailey Dalton.” The interview lady says and I smile as I walk out
“It’s been 10 years since you experienced the tsunami that devastated the Tohoku area. It has also been 16 years since you lost your biological family in the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Thailand. How are you doing today?” she asks and I sigh as I remember both tsunamis.
“I am doing well, thank you. My girlfriend, Akita, and I both survived the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 in Japan, her with serious internal bleeding, and me with a cut on my side that had to be closed with 44 stitches. The 2004 tsunami in Thailand caused me to lose my entire biological family, as they were all on the beach when the waves began to crash on the shore. I had an older sister, Kimiko, who was in Japan with her father studying at the time of the 2004 tsunami, and I lost two younger siblings, Ryder who was 1 and Naya who was 3 when the tsunami in Thailand occurred. I am grateful for my fathers, Mathias and William, who gave me a second chance for a family. Akita and I are expecting the arrival of our twins in the summer of this year, and are planning to reside in Tokyo with them.” I say and she closes the interview as I stand and Akita comes in, proudly showing off her baby belly to the world.