Two years ago Emma's birth mother was nearing the end of her pregnancy. I can't imagine what she was going through. Did she know she was going to give this precious little girl up due to the 1 child policy in China? Was she expecting to keep the baby, assuming she would be born healthy? Was she hopeful to see her face, annoyed by the kicking, and swollen feet? :-)
A bit of background ...in China a woman can get an abortion at any point during their pregnancy if they want to. It is not difficult and, from what I understand, it is free and lets just say, heavily enforced, when a woman already has another child (see an ABC article here for details). Emma's birth mother elected not to go this route. In my humble opinion, this makes her one of the most honorable woman in china.
Instead, she most likely hid her 'illegal' pregnancy & brought this 3.5 pound precious girl, born at 32 weeks, to an international convention center with a box of formula and a quilted blanket. Her birth mother probably hid and watched her baby girl in a box....hoping she would be found by a wealthy businessman or a security guard and the police then called.
A lot of adoptive parents think this information shouldn't be shared on a blog like this. Heck, I was one of them a few months ago. But this is the truth and it is Emma's reality. I was reminded at church this week that too often we see reality (be it a homeless man on the street, a commercial for feed the children, etc) and we 'skip' over it. We give it no energy because what can we do about it? We, essentially, ignore it. And by ignoring it, we don't help fix the problem. We don't do our part to bring attention to the issue.
The other thing is, this reality for Emma is so much better then the alternative choice and so I am not ashamed to tell it.
Why am I thinking about this now? Partially because I am pregnant and can't imagine what this woman must have been going through. But I also am realizing that b/c Emma's birthday and abandonment day are a day apart (or potentially the same day), and that on her birthday we will always celebrate her birth but be reminded of the loss of her birth family. I say birth family because it is possible she has a biological brother or, more likely, a biological sister. She has a birth father, and 4 biological grandparents. Biological aunts, cousins, you get the picture. There are ton's of people that probably knew she was born and also mourn this time of year.
As adoptive parents, it is easy to stick our head in the sand and not think or talk about the birth family. Or, perhaps, think about how sad it is but do nothing about it. Had I not found this blog and learned about this movie, I would have been one of those parents. But I have seen this and I have heard this 18 year old's voice (it is the same girl in the movie who wrote the blog). I have heard various versions of the same story that, essentially, say 'I wish my parents would have searched for my birth parents earlier. Before I started asking about it when I was 18. 18 years is too long to find good information. I am now doing my best but it has been 18 years and there isn't a lot to go on.'
Now don't get me wrong, I have talked to many adults adopted as children and they say they have no interest in finding their birth parents. Zero. And I believe them. The problem is, standing here when my child is almost two, how do I know which one my child is going to be?! And how will I answer her if she asks me 'why did you not search earlier? What could have been more important?' Can I answer her 'it was too expensive'? No, not really. Remember that Disney trip we took? Remember that new house we bought?
So, here I am. We have Emma's police report from our trip to China, which is fantastic, but that is it. We have her finders name but an old phone number that doesn't work. We have nothing really to go on. But I can't sit and do nothing. If my daughter is anything like me, she will demand information and be PISSED with any excuse I try to use.
In the above mentioned blog, I ran across a woman who helped this girl search for her birth parents. I reached out to her over email and she is willing to go to Kunming, where Emma was born, and put up posters by Emma's finding spot. She will ask around to the security workers if anyone remembers seeing a baby that day. She is going next week.... 1 month before the 2 year anniversary of Emma's abandonment.
Here is a snapshot of the flyer.... adorable, right?
If I am honest with myself, I don't really think this is going to result in much. It is a Hail Mary kind of a search. I would much rather get in contact with a Chinese CIA type person who could do some real PI research. Frankly, I would rather have Jason Bourne over there looking for her birth parents. But, alas, I don't know anyone in that field. So this is the route we are trying for now. In the meantime, if anyone know of a Chinese who is good in espionage, let me know. LOL.