Here at Mothers’ Bridge of Love (MBL) we often receive letters and notes from people who have been touched by Xinran’s writing about China. Especially relevant is the last book “Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother”, which makes reference to MBL.
Sometimes we are asked to take on the role of detective agency to help trace birth mothers, of find out about a child’s background. Sometimes we receive personal stories that can be very touching. One such is included below (at the request of the author):
Letter to my biological mother
Hello. My name is Charlotte, but when I went to China, they called me Shasha 莎莎. I hope you are fine. I’m sorry but it’s hard for me to call you “mother”. I know you are the one who gave birth to me but it’s not you who brought me up until today. This woman is the one I call my mother. But this doesn’t mean I reject you and forgot you. I will never forget you, never. Your blood runs through my veins, and it will run through my children’s veins. You are part of me like I was and am part of you. This is something noone could ever change.
I am 18 years old now, and I live in a city near Paris, called Montreuil, in France.
You know, I’ve always wondered why you had abandonned me. And I still wonder why. And I will always wonder why. I’m aware of the possible reasons : though you lived in Madagascar and not in China, your family was part of the Chinese people who still lived together and so still lived under the Chinese culture and traditions ; added to that, according to one of the nurses of the hospital, you were quite young ; so you gave birth to me, a girl, and I was probably your first child. You abandonned me because you knew your family would never accept me and would reject you. It’s important to have a boy as the first child for many Chinese, isn’t it ? Moreover, Madagascar is quite a poor country, you probably didn’t have enough money to take care of me.
I assume you abandonned me for all those reasons. Each abandonned and then adopted child has his own opinion and feelings about what he lived after he was just born. I personnally have always considered that I was responsible for being abandonned by you after I was born. I’ve always felt guilty of this. To me, it was my fault. Year after year, my mother told me it wasn’t my fault at all…For a long time, this idea made my life really hard to live. The sense of guilt led me to be afraid of losing the people I loved, afraid of being rejected by them. I always tell myself that if you, my biological mother, the human being supposed to love me the most on this earth, had been able to abandon me, then anyone could abandon me and leave me alone. When I was in primary school, I didn’t have friends, I didn’t talk to anyone because I thought that if I said something wrong, they would reject me…I can say, without the love and support of my mother, I wouldn’t be alive today.
Year after year, I tried to face this sense of guilt and this fright of rejection. Now I have a “normal” life with lots of friends and I have a fantastic boyfriend too. I love him more than words can say. I have the chance that, like my mother, he understands the consequences of being abandonned on me. I am so terrified about him leaving me. So, when we have an argument, it’s really hard for me, because I am so afraid. And when I have an argument with my mother, it’s the same, I’m afraid of being abandonned a second time. And if after an argument, my boyfriend or my mother is still angry and doesn’t want to talk to me for some time, I just feel like it’s my fault, I shouldn’t have reacted the way I had, and I just deserved it.
I read a book this week, Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, written by Xinran. In this book, Xinran tells the story of 10 Chinese mothers, including her, who had to abandon their baby girl. As I told Xinran, this book was very hard for me to read. Sometimes I just closed it and burst into tears, thinking I would never be able to read it to the end. But finally, I read it to last page. And now, thanks to Xinran, I have some answers I was looking for. You abandonned me because you loved me. You knew you couldn’t bring me up and offer me a bright future. So you made a huge sacrifice by abandonning me, knowing some other woman would “fall in love” with me and give me everything to have a bright future and be happy. You offered me a chance to live. Without my mother, I wouldn’t be who I am today, but without you, I wouldn’t be there at all. I can’t imagine how much you loved me so you could leave me. I can’t imagine how much you suffered when you left me. But what I know is that you suffered at least as much as you loved me.
I don’t know where you are today, maybe still living in Madagascar, maybe already gone in the clouds above, but I’m sure that, wherever you are, you’re thinking about me, you’re hoping I’m fine. I am fine, and though my life is not easy everyday for the reasons I’ve told before, I am happy.
Though I suffered a lot, I’d like to thank you. Thank you for the huge sacrifice you made. Thank you for doing it for me to have a better life. Thank you for your love.
I have never met you but I don’t need to know you to be sure about this :
I LOVE YOU.
Charlotte/Shasha, the little girl you gave life twice.
（Translated by MBL volunteer: YU Wei 中文翻译：喻唯）