Mei and Xue’s journey of visiting birth parents in China

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It had been 2 years since we last went to China. We’d embarked on that first journey to find our birth family, with the support of Mothers’ Bridge of Love. This time it felt a lot different, we were going to see our birth family for the second time. We had met our birth mother, father, three sisters and brother before and we knew what to expect. But my feelings were more hesitant this time. What if it was going to be awkward? Two years ago, I wasn’t as nervous and hesitant as this time.

Our plan was to stay with our birth family for 5 nights. 5 nights! At first, I couldn’t really get my head around that, because last time we only stayed at their house for 1 night. Also our birth family live in rural China, high up in the mountains, and there isn’t much to do. So I was unsure of what we would end up doing those 5 days. It was winter, their house was really cold. And I don’t speak much Chinese, let alone the local dialect.

Now a few months later, I have to ask myself, ‘why did I waste my time thinking negative thoughts’. Because guess what…..

I so much enjoyed seeing everyone in our birth family once again and I had a lot of fun! After we had got home, I was sad to be back in New Zealand. I wanted to be back in China with our birth family. I had a great time at their house, especially playing with two of our younger cousins. We bonded really well with them and every day we would play with them. We would either go for a walk up the mountain, throw cotton balls at each other, sit on the couch and communicate to them through an online translator or we would play with a ball in the front courtyard and getting dirty. It was such a special time.

Seeing our birth mum and dad once again was lovely, and so was seeing our brother and three sisters. Our younger brother had grown up a lot, as in his height. He had a slightly deeper voice and, for sure, a more mature looking face. And all three sisters had definitely become more grown up, but were still very fun. Actually our eldest sister had become very motherly due to her baby daughter who we got to carry and play with, which was very sweet. So all our siblings had changed during the last two years.

Anyway, seeing our birth family this year was so worth it. I felt a lot more comfortable being around them, at least after the first night. This time I wasn’t sticking so close to mum and dad, and I wanted to be around our birth family. I felt safer and assured, and knew that I wasn’t going to be hurt or more so, come across anything odd. Overall, seeing our birth family reconnected me to them, and I think they also felt reconnected with Xue and I. Hopefully we can make it possible for them to visit us in New Zealand. I am very happythat we went and I look forward to seeing them again, in the future, soon.

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stratis exchange approval Reflecting back on our trip back to China (January 2018), I wonder why I had been so anxious. I guess it was because I wasn’t so sure how everything was going to turn out. We found our birth family in April 2016 and had briefly stayed with them. This time when we visited, so many questions were buzzing around in my head. Would our sisters embrace us like they did last time? Would we be expected to be able to have long conversations in Chinese? Would it be awkward? Knowing that we were going to stay 5 nights with our birth family freaked me out a little bit. I was scared. There were some doubts. I thought time was going to tick by slowly and that we’d be standing around with not much to do. Little did I know that I was going to have some of the best times ever. These are moments and times that make me smile and really wish we could go back in time.

During our visit, Mei and I grew very close to our two younger cousins. They reached out to us. Even though we couldn’t speak Sichuan dialect and they didn’t speak English, we had so fun together. We bonded over sport. We played ‘piggy in the middle’, soccer, dodgeball, netball and did plenty of walking and racing each other up the mountain. Sometimes we would communicate through `Google translate’ which was lovely because we were able to get to know each other. I settled in and felt ‘home’. I felt comfortable. I was so so happy and full of energy and excitement. It was so nice to see our three elder sisters and our brother. My gosh he has grown up, I barely recognised him!! Mei and I didn’t spend a lot of time with them, but it was just really lovely to be around them. I was able to learn a lot about our brother and sisters, just being around them. I found it very interesting to see how our siblings shared similar personality traits (fun and outgoing but still shy, reserved and quite quiet). This gave me reassurance of who I am. Even though our birth family have very little, they were so generous and caring. We had such delicious home cooked food each day and they made sure we were plenty warm enough in bed. One night, I walked into mum and dad’s bedroom and I found our birth parents piling blankets over dad, who was tucked up in bed!! It was very funny and I can remember that I felt a warm rush of happiness run throughout my body.

Time flew too fast. Suddenly it was time to say goodbye. Our birth parents had given us such warm hospitality, I didn’t want to leave our two cousins and we had had started to break the ice between us and our brother. We were in constant communication with him as soon as we left, through `We Chat’. Today, I’m looking back at all the pictures and videos we took. I do this quite often and it reminds me of how much happiness and joy we had together. I am so so glad that we went back to see our birth family this year.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day falls on different days depending on the countries where it’s celebrated. In the UK, Mother’s Day falls on Sunday, March 11, while in the U.S. and many other countries, it’s held on the second Sunday of May.

On this special Mothering Sunday, MBL is celebrating the achievements of mothers and mother figures. Last August, MBL turned 14 years old. Since its birth, MBL has been reaching out to Chinese children in all corners of the world: those who have been adopted by Western families, those who have been raised abroad, and those living in China, often in destitute conditions. Among MBL’s volunteers and supporters, many are mothers. Their love and dedication have made MBL what it is today.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Want to know more about Mother’s Day? Please click here.

 

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A long-time MBL volunteer Ping and her father’s memoir about China

LIN Ping is a long-time MBL volunteer, who now leads an MBL team, organizing events at V&A Museum of Childhood to celebrate the Chinese culture and holidays, such as Chinese New Year, Chinese Moon festival and summer festival.

When MBL’s late Board Chairman Toby Eady, who, sadly, passed away last December, first visited her family in Chengdu, her father, LIN Xiangbei, was in his eighties. Toby said to her, ‘Ping, tell your father that he should write about his life in China during the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, because in the West, people have no clue about what happened in those years.’

Mr. Lin started writing his memoir at the age of 84 and now he is 100 years old. He’s still writing about his life and his thoughts.

Ping has helped her father complete his memoir, and she has recently translated it into English. It’s a wonderful book about how an ordinary man gave his heart and soul to his country in the struggle to forge “The New China” and, in the end, to survive as a witness of the history.

Here is how Mr. Lin begins his memoir:

I am an ordinary Chinese man

Neither a hero nor a coward
If you are curious to know more
about a small corner
of a country in upheaval
about the distress and
hardship of resurrecting a nation
then please read this book.

If you would like to read more about Ping’s father’s life and to read about China’s history,  please click the link below and pledge for your copy. Thank you, Ping, for your passion and love for MBL! Thank you, Mr. Lin, for telling us a unforgettable story about China and its history.

https://unbound.com/books/xiangbei

 

 

 

 

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MBL and V&A Museum of Childhood Celebrated the Chinese New Year together

On Feb 10, MBL partnered with V&A Museum of Childhood to host a celebration of the Chinese New Year. The activities included lion dance, Beijing opera, singing, classical Chinese Erhu performance, children’s art exhibition, and more. More than 4000 visitors showed up. Here are some photos from the celebration. A big thank you to MBL volunteers and supporters, and V&A Museum of Childhood. 

Happy New Year of the Dog! 

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