A very touching message from an adoptive father after reading Xinran’s Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother
This is the 3rd book I have read written by Xinran and one that truly opens the eyes to adopting parents. My wife read it and she could not believe how many reasons there were for giving up your daughter. And it truly answered the question I had when an owner of a local Chinese restaurant in seeing my daughter said how “lucky she is”. I took it to mean how lucky she was to be adopted. He knew how “lucky” she was to be alive. He knew what it meant to “do a girl”. It made me know how much love the biological mothers have for their daughters to make sure they were not killed and would have a chance at life. And for those mothers who lost their daughters, the pain they are in every day from the loss of their daughter or in some cases daughters. This is a book that you will not be able to put down but you will have to in order to finish the book as each story tugs at your heart. I wish I could speak to my daughters bio mother to let her know that her daughter is doing great, is beautiful, intelligent and an outstanding athlete on top of it all. I would love to send pictures so she can see how her decision to let this girl live was so important and how this one life will make a difference in this world because of her unselfish act. Read and hug your little girl a little tighter and know just how special she is.
by Walter A. Watts (Augusta, ME, USA)
A well worth reading article self-criticizing why Chinese are less willing to adopt disabled orphans!!!
Why don’t we adopt disabled orphans?
07:51 BST+7, 13 May, 2013 China Youth Daily
(Original article in Chinese: http://opinion.cn.yahoo.com/ypen/20130513/1738627.html)
Original title: Why don’t we adopt disabled orphans? (Tencent- Review-Current Politics/Society)
Actually, philanthropy showed by most Chinese people is an action of self-satisfaction. On my part, there was no big jump ahead when people were being kind in the devastating Wenchuan earthquake. The need of self-realization remains in people’s hearts, and they try to meet it. For example, when the kind-hearted people were filling the adoption forms, many of them preferred younger children who were under three years old. And it would be better if the children were without disabilities and were girls.
There was no denying that China embodied a different image after the earthquake. However, when the media and the critics were exploring, explaining and exaggerating the benevolent actions, it was urgent for us to have calm and objective reflection on the deeds.
Although the unorganized volunteers were not encouraged to enter the disaster areas, the celebrities could always break the barriers to go wherever they wanted. We were not sure about their real intentions: offering care or showing off their kindness. In my hometown, citizens were not allowed to visit the patients transferred from the earthquake-stricken areas in order to guarantee their rest and the gifts could only be left in the hospitals. However, someone managed to pull the strings to visit the wards and gave the presents in person.
Obviously, in the campaign of national disaster relief, some people made use of their privileges to meet a certain demand —- being merciful to others.
From this perspective, expressing philanthropy, love and nobility is a demand rooted in our blood, which is as common as eating and drinking. While it had been covered by the strong drive for materials, the earthquake awoke the 1.3 billion to feel its existence. Therefore, the kindness was not as noble as we thought; instead, it was just a popular demand. One netizen once said, “The transition does not target the hardships in reality but the sense of self-accomplishment in psyche”.
Actually, philanthropy showed by most Chinese people is an action of self-satisfaction. On my part, there was no big jump ahead when people were being kind in the devastating Wenchuan earthquake. The need of self-realization remains in people’s hearts, and they try to meet it. For example, helping the old to cross the road, sending clothes to the poor relatives or finance one child to complete his/her study, etc. The earthquake further and more deeply stimulated people’s demand, which was far from not being related with self-satisfaction.
A simple example would be that the newspaper agency I was working in organised a campaign to adopt the orphans in Wenchuan. More than 2000 people signed up for it and the hotline was too busy to get through, which fully revealed people’s passion and love. However, what was behind that? We sighed and asked why no one ever thought about adopting an orphan in the children welfare association in Guiyang, a southwest city in China. The children there need home and care as well, but they have never received so much attention.
When reading the adoption forms, many people preferred younger children who were under three years old. And it would be better if they were without disabilities and were girls.
Was that because they did some favour to the children in Wenchuan? No. They did not want to adopt someone who was disabled or already mentally mature. The love they offered was within the boundary of “self-achievement”, and the Chinese society is still at the initial stage of philanthropy.
It is no wonder that the foreign media regard Chinese as lack of love because they are never willing to adopt disabled children. I watched an American documentary titled My Flesh and Blood, wherein the mom adopted eleven disabled children. Two of the girls were high paraplegia, but they managed to go to school on their own by using the wheelchairs and with the help of the school bus driver. They could go to the toilets by themselves and happily perform the flag dances together with their classmates. Can we image these happening in china? Are the infrastructure and people’s minds advanced enough to let the disabled fully involve in society, independently live and gain confidence, dignity and happiness among the crowd?
Never be deceived by the titles like The Pain of Wenchuan Shapes a New China. We still need to reflect on ourselves and find out what our true motivation is and whether we are selfish or not.
(Editor: HUO YuQian 霍玉倩)
English Translation by MBL volunteer：YAN YunZhi 严韵致
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers!
No matter where you come from, who you are, where you are right now…
Italian: (La) Buona Festa della mamma
French: (La) Fête des mères (“Day of Mothers”)
German: Alles Gute/Liebe zum Muttertag!
Japanese: 母の日 (Haha-no Hi omedetō)
Spanish: Día de la Madre
Vietnamese: Ngày của Mẹ (officially Ngay quoc te Nu – “International Women’s Day”)
Polish: wszystkiego najlepszego w dniu matki
Indonesian & Malay: Selamat hari ibu
Irish: Lá na Máithreacha
Dutch: Gelukkige Moederdag
Lithuanian: Laimingos motinos dienos!
Portuguese: Dia da Mãe
Chinese Mandarin: 母亲节快乐 (traditional: 母親節快樂) Mǔqīnjié kuàilè
Hungarian: Anyák Napja
Korean: Eomeoni-nal or Ŏmŏni-nal
Portuguese: Dia da Mãe
Swedish: Mors dag
Persian: Rúze mâdar gerâmi bâd
English: Happy Mother’s Day
Mum…I love you!
Below are some paintings from school childreen who were survived from 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province, an area called Wenchuan.
Few years later, just two weeks ago, another powerful earthquake in Sichuan happened again and this time it’s in the area called Ya’an! So far it was reported 193 dead, 25 missing, and more than 11,470 were injured…very very sad!
MBL set up children’s libraries in 8 elementary schools (photos attached here) in rural areas in Ya’an in 2011 as part of our after 2008 earthquake rebuilt programme…but now we are really worried about how are those poor children, orphans, and MBL schools & libraries after the earthquake happened on 20th April! Hope those children are still alive, their families are still with them, those orphanages are still there as some little ones’ “home”, and their schools & libraries still exist as the places for dreams to come true…
(Paintings were collected by an MBL volunteer Ping)
Mr FENG JiCai (冯骥才): “The Plight of China’s Cultural Heritage and Its Solutions”
Charity Event (Public lecture series) organized by The Mothers’ Bridge of Love
Mr. FENG JiCai, a renowned Chinese writer, gave public lectures at University of Cambridge, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of Oxford and University of Bath successively from 7 to 14 of this April. Titled “the Plight of China’s Cultural Heritage and its Solutions”, his presentations focused on the status quo, challenges, solutions and progresses achieved in the preservation of China’s cultural heritage.
This series of public lectures was initiated by The Mothers’ Bridge of Love (MBL) and jointly hosted by LSE China Development Society, Chinese Students and Scholars Association in Cambridge and Oxford and the MA Interpreting and Translating Programme of University of Bath, aiming at providing an opportunity for the Chinese students studying in the UK and the British Chinese to communicate with a giant of contemporary Chinese literature. The presentations received strong support from the four universities and many volunteers, as well as great enthusiasm from the audience. Students who attended these lectures said that they were overwhelmed and deeply impressed by Mr. Feng’s passion, concern and sense of responsibility toward China’s cultural heritage, which aroused their ardent love for the culture of their motherland and a sense of mission to pass it on to future generations.
In his lectures, Mr. Feng expressed his deep concerns toward the current situation of China’s intangible cultural heritage. He said that we spent 30 years only to turn more than 600 cities in China to look identical with almost complete obliteration of buildings with cultural or historical significance, which was a huge cultural tragedy. Within just a decade, the number of China’s villages has dropped from 3.6 million to 2.7 million. The disappearance of villages means the evaporation of their culture as well. Mr. Feng’s Tianjin-style humour also made the audience laugh when he said that 100 villages would be gone only after a night’s sleep. However, behind the laughter was heart-aching sadness.
Nonetheless, what’s gratifying to know is that in 2000, guided by Mr. Feng, China launched intangible cultural heritage preservation progamme that has already made great progress since then. The nation-wide cultural census made in recent years provided experts and scholars with a general picture of China’s folk customs and cultures. According to the statistics of the census, the total volume of intangible cultural heritages of the 56 ethnic groups in China surpasses 10,000 items. The number of folktales alone is an amazing 900 million, if counted in term of book volumes, there would be more than 5000 volumes.
Mr. Feng also underscored the role of the intellectuals, pointing out that they should shoulder their social responsibilities with dedication and contribute their share to the country. “Money,” he said, “is a basic need rather than a life-long pursuit. Therefore, it shouldn’t become a country’s values.” We can’t only concentrate on the development of material civilization but neglect spiritual and cultural development. Cultural heritage is our soul and the very root of our nation, thus should be treasured and protected. The MBL volunteers had a deep understanding of Mr. Feng’s words. One of the volunteers said: “The families form the western world that adopted Chinese children are actively learning and exploring Chinese culture, seeking the cultural root for their adopted kids. As a Chinese, we are duty-bound to maintain our cultural root.”
In his communication with the audience, Mr.FENG JiCai expressed his appreciation about the scope and depth of their thoughts. He also had high expectations for Chinese students studying in the UK and the British Chinese, hoping that while taking in the British culture, they can spread the essence of Chinese culture, and build a bridge between the two cultures.
Reported by MBL (LI Jiang李江, HE BingQian何冰倩, and LI Xu李旭)
Translator: WU TianCheng (武天程)
Proofreader: JIANG Yu
Both form the University of Bath
MBL Charity Event – Mr FENG jiCai (冯骥才)’s Leture at Oxford Wed 10th April 2013 (PDF in Chinese version and photos are submitted by OXCSSA)
MBL Charity Event – Mr FENG jiCai (冯骥才)’s Leture at Oxford Wed 10th April 2013 (PDF in Chinese version was submitted by OXCSSA)