Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Do foreigners know how to hold my baby?"

I missed one piece in the Economist's Gendercide issue -- a review of Xinran's newest book, Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother (which I blogged about here). I caught it because Osolomama wrote about it in her post linking child abandonment and the high rate of suicide by women in China. I've long known of the high rate of women committing suicide in China, but I'd long forgotten how high -- 500 women a day commit suicide in China according to this source, also provided by Osolomama. Completely shocking. Thanks for sharing that link, Osolomama.

But for me, the most emotional line in the book review comes in a paragraph updating us on the peasant family in Shandong, where Xinran witnessed a newborn baby girl killed because she was a girl:
Two years later, the young couple pays Xinran a visit. They, along with the rest of the young people, have left their village to look for work in cities. The mother says she had two more daughters but her father-in-law gave them away to foreigners for adoption. “Have you seen any foreigners?” she asks Xinran, fearfully. “Do you think the foreigners know how to hold my baby?”
Doesn't that starkly illustrate a birthmother's pain? I want to reassure this mother, and Zoe's and Maya's birthmothers -- Yes, I know how to hold your baby, held tight, lovingly, close to my heart. For always. Because they are my babies, too.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't that awful? Unfortunately, the people who commented on the Xinran book review over at The Economist were hostile in the extreme to the plight of the mothers involved and oblivious to the pressures facing them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Malinda,

I've been lurking for a few months now and feel very grateful for this site. Your blog has helped me so much with understanding some of the issues important to adult adoptees, first mothers and birth parents, so thank you. I'm an AP of a son born with cleft lip/palate in China. I'm concerned that many birth parents are pressured (maybe by relatives or health care workers?) to relinquish these kiddos that have physical problems. I would appreciate any postings related to so-called special needs kids.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy her books very mcuch. It is worth mentioning though that I'm pretty sure the events she writes about took place several years ago. So the context may be different than present day China.

I tend to think that SN kids are abandoned because of the cost of health/medical care coupled with the negative stigma associated with having a child w/a physical or mental handicap.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon -
This most recent one--Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love--was published mere months ago.

Von said...

And of course with the baby's head on the left.

Anonymous said...

I was informed (on a book list)that her stories/writings in her recent book(publication) are from many years ago.