Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Willow Trees

A few months ago I purchased a series of six China adoption related DVDs from Dr. Changfu Chang. One of them, The Willow Trees, documents a remarkable story that is worth sharing.

Bonnie was a single career woman. Bonnie's sister was married and unable to have children, so she decided to adopt. Sadly, she became ill and passed away before this could happen. A little while later Bonnie decided herself to adopt and in doing so fulfilled her sister's dream. She put in her application to China. Her first adoption took place in 1998.

Bonnie missed her sister greatly and thought that her daughter should also have the experience of having a sister, so three years later she decided to pursue a second adoption. This time Bonnie decided to use a new adoption agency upon recommendation by a friend. Interestingly the second agency was located in the building where her sister had first worked and in the area that Bonnie had grown up in. She signed the papers on the same date as her late sister's birthday.

When Bonnie's travel group received their allocations, Bonnie's was not included. She was understandably devastated, however a month later she finally received her referral. It was a complete surprise for Bonnie to learn that her second daughter was from the same city and in fact the same orphanage as her first.

A year later, Bonnie attended a reunion for families who adopted from the orphanage her daughters were from. Someone delivered a message for her which stated that her daughters had a closer link than most and were biologically related.

Of course, you know where this is headed right?! The two daughters looked similar and the older they got the more the similarities became apparent. DNA testing proved the girls were biological sisters. There was no human intervention, and it is not possible that the CCAA would have known they were sisters in order to refer them to the same mother. Bonnie believes this remarkable coincidence was the work of her sister!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Ladybugs. Some China-adopters love 'em, some think the whole tradition of good luck and/or good news on the way with a sighting is pointless as it purportedly originated with prospective adopters rather than in China.

I'm not obsessed with ladybugs, but when I see one (or ladybug paraphernalia) I smile gently and think of the future. I have purchased ladybug stickers and some cute ladybug hair clips in the past. Today I may have gone a bit far.

I walked across the road to the butcher and the fruit shop to get supplies for dinner. In between the butcher and the fruit shop is a chemist. Hanging in the doorway of the chemist was this little number which caught my eye.

I walked past and then took two steps back. Oh my. I took it straight to the counter. There were two sales assistants who began gushing at the cuteness of it, and then asked me if it was for Christmas. 'Ummm not sure when it's for really!', I replied. Then one of them asked, 'How old is she?'. 'Ummm, just a baby', I said. I felt a bit silly and couldn't tell them it was actually for a child who not only probably hasn't been conceived, but her birth mother may not have even been conceived yet (I jest, I jest).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When life gives you bad milk, make... bricks?

Remember the tainted milk issue in China? I just saw this article at China Daily which suggests the contaminated milk could be used to make bricks and concrete. This is apparently a cheaper way to dispose of it than treating it as hazardous waste.

It's scary to think that it's too toxic for landfill yet humans were consuming it. Here's hoping China implements strict quality assurance measures/standards for all food and drinks (and toys and cosmetics and clothes...)

Image by mtlin

Saturday, November 08, 2008

2 months logged in

It's the eighth of the month, which means we are celebrating two months logged in!

All images licensed under Creative Commons. 1. More cute Chinese kids, 2. Your Number 2, 3. chopsticks, 4. Gongxi facai!, 5. Eyes Wide Open, 6. 2

Monday, November 03, 2008

Foot binding

For about a thousand years in China, ending officially in 1911 through government enforcement (though unofficially the practice continued in some areas for some time), the feet of young girls were bound tightly in bandages in order to make them smaller. The ideal size was 3-inches and a foot that achieved this size was known as a Gold Lotus.

There are diverse opinions on the origins of this brutal practice. You can read about some of them at the Wikipedia entry or this research paper. Another useful reference is this NPR radio report, Painful Memories for China's Footbinding Survivors.

The process was pretty gruesome. It involved breaking toes and folding them down towards the heel. The toes were secured tightly with wet bandages which were replaced every two days, at which time the replacement bandages would be pulled even tighter. Women with bound feet were not able to carry out physical work and often could only hobble, not walk. This guaranteed their fidelity to their husbands and also ensured their inability to participate in politics and other worldly business.

All images licensed under Creative Commons. Images 1, 2 and 4 by johnbullas. Image 3 by plassen.