I've begun teaching English to one of the foster home workers here who is actually from Anhwei, my birth province. It's been a joy to be able to get to know her! And although there's a language barrier, we've been able to somehow meet in the middle when telling stories. Last week, she showed me photos of her family and hometown, always smiling whenever one her daughter came up on the computer screen. Its been great to see what its like in Anhwei, which is about 10 hours south of Beijing by train, or so I've been told.
She also seemed very interested in my story as well, questioning every detail. I was confused at first but it later occurred to me that by today's Chinese adoption standards, my abandonment and adoption is actually somewhat unusual. Most orphans now a days have some sort of mental or physical disability. I'm not entirely sure when the healthy ones began to be kept or if they were all adopted or whatever the reason. She did ask if I had any physical issues, since I seemed to be quite normal to her. I answered no. I now realize how fortunate I am. Some children are kept for a couple of months and then given up whenever medical issues are discovered. Apparently I was found a day after my birth. I just always assumed it was a regular occurance. In addition to this, I was adopted when I was seven months old. Most children are at least a year old by the time their families come to get them because the process has now slowed to taking at least a year, if you're lucky. Some of the children adopted can be as old as 13. I can't imagine what it would be like to wait that long for a family as well as having the fear of aging out of the system looming over your head.
Another question that caught my attention was when she asked if I hated my birth parents. I can tell you the answer right now. No. I don't hate them. I was surprised when she asked, I guess some kids do have problems pertaining to their birth parents and possibly resent them for their abandonment. I did not know them and I don't want to make an assumption on their character based on a single action. Sure, that action forever changed the lives of me and my family, but I'm sure glad it did. I do think about them sometimes. Not as much as I did when I was younger. At least I think of my birth mom. Who wouldn't? I wonder if the decision was hard for her. I wonder if I was a classic case of someone who couldn't afford to raise a child or if she was young and just pulled a "Juno" (movie reference). Some questions may never be answered. It doesn't really matter now. Whatever the reason. It happened and I'm here now. In letting me go, she provided me with I life neither of us could have ever imagined for me and I'm grateful for that, whatever her intentions. I hope life is good to her wherever she may be. I have been incredibly blessed beyond anything I deserve. It was only the intro of my story and I intend for it to have so many chapters, and I thank her for being the one to start it.
3 weeks ago, I walked down the road where I was found. It was a simple street and I'm amazed I didn't get hit by a car. The street was long and busy. In recent years they've torn down houses and replaced them with brand new apartment buildings, but you can still see some remains of small brick houses overlooking the street. I suspect I may have come from that direction. Ma'anshan is a city of about 3 million people and it's growing. I've been asked if I would ever be interested in finding my parents. Honestly, the chances of finding them would be like finding your contact lens in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Going back, I wasn't particularly emotional. It wasn't some hallmark movie or anything overly romanticized as some documentaries might make it seem. I never felt like a part of me was missing and that coming back here would somehow fill a void that was never there. I know who I am and who I was made to be. I am grateful for the opportunity to see where I came from and amazed at how I got to where I am. I'm eternally thankful for my wonderful parents who have loved me even before I was born. God has always been looking out for me and has always had a plan for my life, and I am grateful for what He has done and for what He continues to do.