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Chen Sutherland is a normal Californian nine-year-old boy. He likes to skateboard and play video games, and hang out with his friends. He may also be the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.
Alex DeMonaca and Mr. Whitney get involved in a custody battle when the Sutherlands, Chen's adoptive parents must fight to prove they have a right to be Chen's guardians. Six year prior, they adopted Chen from a Chinese orphanage, feeling incredibly lucky to have found a boy, a rarity in patriarchal China. The Hongs, a couple claiming to be Chen's biological parents, allege that their son was stolen from them and that the Sutherlands' adoption was illegal.
Alex soon discovers that the Hongs are represented by the Chinese government who had a political stake in reclaiming custody of Chen, and that Chen is not Chinese at all but Tibetan. Unbeknownst to his parents, he is visited by Tibetan Buddhist monks who believe Chen may be the "Penchan Lama," second in command to the Dalai Lama himself. Alex and ...