20th – 23rd February 2013: MBL & Xinran in the Netherlands
Xinran, founder of MBL and MBL Head Office Xiaoli and a group of MBL volunteers organized a Chinese New Year Teatime with some adoptees from HKAN (Hong Kong Adoptees Network), which is a group of more than 100 adoptees (most of them are girls) who were adopted from Hong Kong back to 1960’s and now most of them are in their 50’s and some of them are mothers.
Xinran and Xiaoli met HKAN group at a book launch event of “ADVERSITY, ADOPTION & AFTERWARDS – A MID-LIFE FOLLOW-UP STUDY OF WOMEN ADOPTED FROM HONG KONG”
It was a very moving afternoon both for MBL and HKAN…none of those adoptees has found their birth mothers, either none of them stops thinking about it!
MBL and some individual members of UK HKAN have started discussions about how we may work together to provide insights into the experience of Chinese, transracially adopted adults!
Just as what Xinran mentioned :” The more MBL and I work with Chinese adoptees, the more we realise that we should do for them…since I have met so many Chinese women who lost their baby girls…”.
You could also find the article written about this meeting on HKAN website:
Meanwhile, Claire Martin whom were with us at Chinese New Year Teatime had an interview with BBC Radio 4 talking about her own adoption story. You could find her interview at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgr41, which you might try to listern from minutes 25:14.
Born in the year of Snake?According to ancient China history, Snake was a symbol of virtues, a image that receives worships from people. Snake also is the earliest totem found in ancient China.
In the chinese mythology, people portrait a…ncestors as half snake and half human. There is a saying in some parts of China that if you find a snake in the house, you have to respect it and even bow before it as the snake is the resurrected form from your ancestor. Although people often relate dragon as China’s most important totem, we should note that this mythological animal is evolved from snake. For instance, the neck and body of a dragon is like that of a snake. In Chinese Zodiac, snake ranks the sixth, making it a very important symbol in Chinese culture.
For people who are born in the year of snake, there are some unique characters summarized by ancient fortune tellers. They are very passionate people, even though their appearance may be misinterpreted as indifferent and cold-blood. Also, they have everything very well planned, work diligently towards success. Besides hard-working, they are very resourceful and intelligent and good at grasping opportunities.
Snake girls are very good at taking care of families, very observant and talented in many things. Snake boys are born with charming character, very intellectual and have sharp mind. They always plan ahead and take the opportunity and achieve success. However, snake people should keep in mind curiosity kills the cat. One should accumulate more knowledge instead of gossip.
(Edited and translated by MBL volunteer PAN Ni)
Xinran, founder of The Mothers’ Bridge of Love, and Author of “The Good Women for China” & “Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother”, is sharing with us her journey of self-discovery experience, by answering the self-reflective question of: “Who am I?”, as part of our latest project
Who AM I?
I will be 55 in 6 months time; I had been living in this question until the last week of 2012.
Who am I? The more important point for me is who I am to my mother…
I had no room in my memories about my mum when I was a little girl. ‘She is busy and hard-working, she will come to see you when you are getting taller and learning more things as a good girl’, my grandma kept telling me that almost every day…Then I thought I wasn’t good enough for my mum comes to see me…
The guilt of not being a good daughter had been with me all my life because my mum was barely there for my needs, from how to get a girl a pink dress to giving warm hugs in those cold dark nights.
When I was 30, the year I become mother of my Son PanPan, I realised that nothing could stop a mother’s thinking and love of her baby – nine months’ pregnancy isn’t just for a baby to grow in her tummy, but also for a ‘mother-minded’ seed to be planted and grow in her soul.
But, why did my mother never show me her cares and love both in words and daily routine? I wanted to know who I am in her life, a stranger, a relative, a friend, or if I was a daughter to her as I believed.
Then I have spent more than 20 years researching her generation and interviewed over one hundred women of her age during my career as a journalist and radio presenter inChina. The more I learnt, the deeper the pain I could feel for my mother’s generation, their motherhood had been taken away from them by the political party, and their educated minds became black and white – anyone who cares about family and children could be seen as an evil being! As good women, they must devote their time and love to the political party, country and others!
My mum wanted to be a good woman so much that she couldn’t even have time for her baby daughter!
In fact, I wasn’t the only daughter that had the lonely and missing feeling of their own mother, I had more than dozens of letters every day from my female audience when I ran my radio show ‘The Words on the night breeze’ from 1989 to 1997. The most of them told me how much they wanted to be a good daughter or a good mother but they couldn’t get it from each other, just like me.
After the 1980’s, Chinese life has been changed, bright and colourful, but it didn’t seem the same to many Chinese mothers like mine, they have been held back by their heavy past, or by their deep worry about their children who cannot understand their times and won’t be able to share the pain from their memories…
I have sent every single one of my books to my mother and have been waiting for her to see that I have tried very hard to understand her times, very keen to share the past with her…and I am looking for her…I am looking for my beloved mum in every chapter of my books!
Being 50 is like a turning point of my life, my past starts living in my present, and will accompany with me to my future. So what about my mother? Has she begun walking into her own memories? Is her daughter there? Who am I to my mum now?
The last week of 2012, I called my mum with my New Year greetings, and then I got the best life gift from her: “I am proud of you as my daughter!”, my mum told me on the phone from thousands of miles away in China!
… After a silence, I said to her, “life can be so beautiful!”
There are over 150,000 Chinese children who have been adopted by western families across the world, and they are all on a long march to find their own identity, to understand their culture, enjoy the love of their adoptive families – and to understand how much they mean to their Chinese mothers!
I wish my research and writing could be part of a bridge between China and the West, between cultural understandings, between mothers, and between a mother and her never forgotten baby!
Thank YOU, Xiexie!
MBL is inviting you to participate this wonderful project WHO AM I ?
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”— Aristotle
The Mothers’ Bridge of Love (MBL) promotes cultural awareness and understanding of Chinese culture among people who live in the Western world, and strives to aid the cultural connection between adoptive parents and children adopted from China, to help the children find their cultural roots and heritage, and to support projects that help disadvantaged children in China.
“Adoption” is not only limited to adopted children and their families – as humans we all adopt roles of mother, father, friend, son, daughter, traditions, cultures and religions. We adopt habits, thoughts, feelings, and ideas from all over the world, and from the environment in which we live.
To raise awareness, and show support, for adopted children and their families, MBL is launching a new project to gather inspiring stories from adoptees, as well as leading writers and creatives around the world, to share with us their journeys of self-discovery and identity-forming experience, by answering the self-reflective question of: “Who Am I?” (click the link for the background leaflet)
Through these stories sharing, may we grow and share together the many truths and wisdoms of humanity, and learn from each other’s experiences.
You could leave your beautiful, passionate, and heartfelt writings, poems, and link of your drawings/even short films below as comments, or you could simply send it to us at: email@example.com.
You might be interested in reading Xinran’s story about Who Am I ? — From Xinran.
MBL at China Development Forum 2013 and Event Report from LSE CDS
MBL volunteer TAN ZiWei Interpretation Support at CDF 2013 on China’s Asia-Pacific Relations and Disputes (http://www.lsecds.org/interview.php?id=14)
A Pen Friend from China…with MBL
‘Hello’ – ‘Thank you’ – ‘My name is Cindy’ – ‘I live in Britain’
Do you want to have an overseas pen friend far away from – China?
Do you want to learn Chinese language and the differences between China and the UK?
Do you want to visit China and your pen friend and her/his family…one day?
One of our projects – Pen Friend is to help and keep the link between Chinese children/youths in all corner of the world and enable them to get access to their birth culture in a very unique, interesting and friendly way, which we believe could be very rewarding for their future.
How does it work?
- Download and fill in MBL Pen Friend Form (Word) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it to us – MBL, 9 Orme Court, London W2 4RL, UK.
- Both children/youths will receive the respective contact information, then it is your turn to make a friend…happy writing!
Your privacy is highly respected and will not be exposed to irrelevant parties