New Castle News

December 24, 2012

Little Princess, Part 1: New Wilmington girl celebrates holidays with new life, new family

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — This is the tale of an abandoned little princess, rescued from certain death by strangers from afar.

But unlike movies with fictional heroes, this isn’t fantasy. In fact, the story continues to unfold on a daily basis for the Vogel family of New Wilmington.

Visiting Orlando, Fla., last month and meeting some famous Disney princesses, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish program, wasn’t the greatest gift given the now 5-year-old Chinese girl previously known as “Ban Yun.”

In 2007, at approximately six months, she was left outside the gates of an orphanage in Xi’an, China. No other information about her was ever discovered.

Since China’s one-child-per-family policy often results in female babies being aborted or killed, abandonment was a blessing.

Afflicted with severe health issues, the baby’s future was bleak. Without intervention and medical attention, she would likely not live past age 8.

Two years ago, her world took another unexpected turn, but this time for the best.

And on Christmas 2012, Mia Ban Yun Vogel’s future is as bright as her smile. She has an adoring family to go with a new name and her own room.


Matt and Mary Vogel have two loving sons, Jacob and Logan. They thought their family was complete in 2003 when Mary delivered their third son, Killian. But Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) claimed Killian’s life 10 weeks later.

Matt and Mary had talked about having a daughter, but Matt had a vasectomy performed just before Killian’s birth, so their focus switched to adoption. It was a process familiar to Matt, who was adopted.

They petitioned for a baby girl, preferably healthy, but such requests often delay the course of action for years. So they altered their request, seeking a special-needs baby and accelerating the process.

The doors opened in December 2010 and they traveled to China to meet a little girl who would be their daughter.

Matt said Ban Yun was crying and confused when she entered the room. An interpreter was provided to bridge the language barrier.

After some conversation, the Vogels took Mia to their hotel. “She thought it was her new home,” said Matt.


On the flight home, Mia became dehydrated. She was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Mia had a bluish tint to her skin because of a lack of oxygen in her blood, attributed to a condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot.

She had the first of two open heart surgeries in March 2011.

“That helped,” Mary said. “She looked healthier and her skin turned pink.”

The next operation to attach more vessels to her pulmonary artery took place last December. The procedure left a shunt in Mia’s heart that will require changing as she grows. She will likely need four more surgeries before reaching adulthood.  

Special insurance and Medicare covered the medical bills.

“We knew there were some physical problems, but it turned out to be more extreme than we expected,” Mary said.

Last year, Mia was in the recovery phase of her second surgery during Christmas.

This year there are no surgeries for Christmas, just decorations, gifts, food and hugs.

TOMORROW: A big, new world for a little princess