KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Michael W. Perry has thanked Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka several times, but for an act he and his family haven't made public until now.
Perry is well-known in Hawaii as half of the top-rated "Perry and Price" morning radio show on KSSK. But back in 1976, he was an afternoon DJ at an AM radio rock station when he and his wife decided to adopt a baby girl named Margaret, who was found by one of his wife's family members in Malaysia.
"They knew of a baby girl that was probably going to be abandoned, and they knew we wanted to adopt at the time, and we said that sounds pretty good," said Perry.
The brother of his wife's stepfather adopted the little girl in Malaysia on their behalf, which was allowed under Malaysian law. Then they tried to get the baby to Hawaii. That's when they ran into trouble at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
"While they were in line, they closed the quota for immigration from the hemisphere, indefinitely," said Perry. "We had a baby. No way to get her here."
"It was at the time the Cambodian refugees came in," said Vickie Perry. "So they had let so many orphans into the country that they had to close the quota at some time."
The Perrys were at a loss, until someone suggested they write their Congressmen. They wrote Dan Akaka, who was in the U.S. House at the time, and Sen. Daniel Inouye. The lawmakers aid they could introduce what's known as a "private bill" to get their new daughter into the country.
"What, an act of Congress? A private bill for the relief of this child who is over there and couldn't get over here? We had no idea that you could do that," said Michael W. Perry. "The Dans made it happen."
Akaka introduced a bill in the House to the allow the girl to come to the United States. Inouye introduced a companion bill: "S. 2349, for the relief of Margaret Perry," in December 1977. The bills were approved, and Vickie got a call from Akaka.
"We have passed this bill by unanimous vote, and we expect your daughter will be arriving by Christmas Day," Akaka told Vickie Perry.
The legislation was signed by President Jimmy Carter, and the little girl, now known as Carlyn, met her parents in Hawaii for the first time on December 22, 1978. Thanks to an act of Congress, and the Dans.
"I know a lot of kids get adopted every day, but I don't think a lot can actually say the president or senators became involved and helped me, one person, to come see my family or to be with my family," said Carlyn Perry.
Carlyn Perry has never met either senator, but would love to meet Sen. Akaka while she still has the chance to thank him. "What a gift he and Senator Inouye have given me and my family," said Carlyn of Akaka.
The Perrys have kept this story private, but decided that with Inouye's passing and Akaka's retirement, it was time to tell it publicly. "There's so many personal stories. There's so many personal touches," said Michael W. Perry. "There's probably thousands of stories like this that will never get old. A personal touch, a personal touch, a Christmas miracle, because of Dan Akaka and Senator Inouye."