CACH Reunion 2013 through an MBL volunteer’s eyes
Author: LI Jiang , an MBL volunteer, doing his Master Degree at King’s College London.
It was a bad day with heavy snow. I was staring outside the window, where everything was covered by white snow. So beautiful. It was spring, but the snow expelled the sun, and froze everything. I had a look at my watch. It was 7:20 am now. My train moved very fast on these white fields. It made me feel like I was running in the sky.
My destination was Northamptonshire, and my task was to teach children, who were adopted by British families, Tai’chi and Chinese culture as a volunteer of MBL (Mother’s Bridge of Love). The trip was not very long, and I arrived there very soon There were two gentlemen who had been waiting to pick us up. They waited very long, however, when they saw us, they gave us a very nice smile and a warm welcome. The gentleman I shared the car with had his own son, but he still adopted a Chinese girl. In order to encourage his daughter to know more about the culture of her birth country, China, they all studyied Chinese. This gentleman told me that there were at least one hundred families who adopted Chinese girls. They found a charity to offer their children opportunities to communicate with others who shared the same experience. They hoped that their children will be more optimistic with their life when they grow older. When we got to the hotel, we found out that the whole hotel was booked by the charity. It was a very well-equipped hotel, and parents wanted to offer good opportunities for their children to play. In every conference room, there were different workshops ongoing, like music, Tai Chi, Chinese dance, paper-cut, and calligraphy. In other words, these three days were all for the children. However, there was one thing surprised me: all the kids were girls.
There was a workshop in the afternoon called Chinese Calligraphy and Painting. Both children and parents were very active. When I saw the English parents using their brushes to write Chinese letters awkwardly, I felt so happy because I have been tortured by learning English for so long. However, they wrote so earnestly, and they learned Chinese for their daughters, while I studied English for myself. This made me feel shame. There was a girl who suddenly asked me, ‘Sir, are you OK?’ She had beautiful eyes with bright pupils, and I was touched by her warm greeting. I smiled and said, ‘Yes, I’m fine. What’s your name?’ She told me that her name is Spring Ring and that she was adopted from Hunan Province. She knew that she was an adopted child. I did not understand why their parents told her everything.
I found the answer when a volunteer asked her parents, ‘Why did you adopt a Chinese girl?’ The nice mother smiled and said, ‘I do not have our own children, and adopting a British Child is very difficult.’ I was a bit diappointed when I heard this answer to be honest, but I was touched by what she said afterward. She paused, and added, ‘One day, we saw on the news that there are millions of girls abandoned in China, and I felt really sad. After we thought for a long while, we decided to go to China to adopt a Chinese girl.’ There was a long silence after she finished her story. I do not remember how long it was, but her daughter suddenly put a cap circled by a light stick on her mother’s head, and smiled to her mom naughtily. The mother smiled and hugged her, rubbing her face by face. At this time, her friend came to play with her, and she left happily. The father then took a nice pen out of pocket and showed us a brush. Seeing our surprised faces, he was very excited, and he found a piece of tissue and wrote his daughter’s Chinese name. He wrote very slowly, but the letters were very clear and even beautiful. I could see that he had pratictised it for many times.
Someone told me that they went to China every year with their daughter to look for her birth parents. Originally, she did not want to do that because she knows her parents abandoned her although she was just a child. But the parents insisted and said to their daughter seriously, ‘Your birth parents gave you life, you should appreciate them. No parents want to leave their children unless they have no choice. You should understand that they must have experinced an extremely difficult time to make this decision.’ I found out that the other the parents do the similar things. Their motivations are very simple: they just want their daughter to grow happily without anger, sadness, and inferiority. These parents are just one of the many adopters in UK, and they represent the attitudes towards adoption and family. Regardless of ethnicity or gender, they love their children just like how they love their own daughters.
There was this one story that really impressed me. This couple went to an orphanage in China and the lady picked up a baby girl who did not cry but put her little finger into this lady’s nose. The couple suddenly felt that she was the baby they were looking for. The girl is 8 year old now, and every time when she has her birthday, she puts her finger on her mother’s nose and asks one question, ‘Mom, do you remember, that’s how we know each other.’