Anna Mae He is back in Memphis
  • Anna Mae He will spend summer in Memphis
  • Anna was at the center of a international custody battle
  • She left for China with her biological parents in 2008

(MEMPHIS 7/01/2011) -- The young girl who moved to China with her biological parents after an international custody battle that ended in 2007, is back in Memphis.

12-year-old Anna Mae He arrived at Memphis International Airport Friday. She was with her brother, Andy and her sister, Avita. Anna Mae's parents, Jack and Casey He, did not make the trip because they do not have passports.

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Jerry and Louise Baker, who raised Anna Mae until she was nearly nine-years-old, were allowed back beyond the security checkpoint to greet Anna Mae and her siblings as soon as they got off the plane.

A number of other family members waited anxiously for the group to come to the main concourse.

There were a few anxious moments until someone spotted Anna Mae.

"There they are," shouted someone in the crowd.

"It's just an answer to our prayers," Jerry Baker said. "There are no words to describe it."

Louise Baker still had tears in her eyes. "I couldn't believe how grown she's gotten, how big," she said about Anna Mae. "It's wonderful seeing her. It's been almost four years. She looks great."

For so many years, Anna Mae called the Baker kids her siblings. She shared a room with Aimee. The two were inseparable from the moment they spotted each other at the airport. They held hands as they rode down the escalator toward the baggage area to pick up luggage.

"Aimee, What's it like to see Anna again?" We asked.

"It was very happy for me," she said.

We asked Anna Mae if she was happy to be in Memphis. She responded with a smile and a nod.

The joyful emotions we saw at the airport Friday, are far different from the heartache the Bakers felt when they said goodbye to Anna in 2008. The Tennessee State Supreme Court ended years of courtroom battles in 2007, when it granted custody of Anna Mae to her biological parents, Jack and Casey He. The couple moved back to China with their three children.

Those who loved Anna Mae in Memphis wondered if they'd ever see her again.

"It's just been a struggle trying to work out where we could get them to come," Jerry said. "Louise and Casey worked as hard as they could to make this work."

The once strained relationship between the Bakers and the Hes, who battled so bitterly in court, is now described as cordial. The families talk almost every week, and the Bakers say they accept the will of the court, meaning Anna Mae will return to China.

The Bakers say Anna Mae, Andy and Avita are just here for the summer. Andy is expected to have surgery while he is in the United States.

"Is there any hope that she (Anna Mae) would stay forever?" We asked.

"Oh, no. her home is in China," Jerry responded. "We're just tickled to have her. If we could work this where they could come each summer. That would be great."

The Bakers say they simply plan to have fun. Anna Mae has a lot of new people to meet. The Bakers have four new grandchildren.