Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Netizens' Reactions to Adoptee Searching for Birth Mother in China

A website that focuses on social media in China, Tea Leaf Nation, looks at Jenna Cook's search for her birth mother in China, as China watches through social media.  Read the whole thing to learn the back story, but I found this part about the reaction of Chinese netizens especially interesting:
I am happy that Jenna managed to spread the word regarding her project, and I hope that she manages to find the information she needs. Most netizens share my enthusiastic support for her project, and gave her their full-fledged blessing and approval. Although generally supportive, netizens also voiced their concerns. Many wondered why she still wanted to find her birth parents, given that they had abandoned her in the first place.

Jenna responded via her Weibo, “They gave me my life. I feel very grateful… [When I find them] I want to see how they are doing, and to give them my love. I will try my best to help them.”

Her kindness and forgiving attitude touched the hearts of many. @左海游子 wrote, “You are a kind girl. You are repaying misdeeds with kindness. You still love your birth parents so deeply, and have not forgotten the family who took care of you. Your story is so touching. I sincerely wish that you’ll be able to fulfill your dream of finding your parents!”

Some netizens were more skeptical. @鱼不离水 voiced his opposition: “I advise that you stop trying to find your birth parents. I believe that they don’t have nearly the compassion and broadmindedness of your adopted mother, or else why would they have abandoned you in the first place? Even if you find them, it will only bring them regret and humiliation. Why bother?”

@范凯俊 elaborated, “In China, things are often more complicated. We have an old saying: ‘the birth mother is not as dear as the adopted mother.’ [生母不如养母亲] When you were born, the old concept of favoritism for boys was especially widespread. Your birth parents might have abandoned you for that reason. It’s possible that the truth will disappoint you.”

While some netizens condemned Jenna’s birth parents for their supposed heartlessness, others took a more sympathetic view. @我的春天来了 posed the question, “What if your birth parents were in a awkward position themselves? Suppose that you were born out of wedlock. In that case, your birth parents might have their separate families now, and your sudden appearance would turn their lives upside down. In China, parents usually only abandon their children when they have no other choice. What parents can stand losing their own children?”

1 comment:

-J.Darling said...

It's interesting. Though things are a bit more complicated culturally (regarding sense of honor being stronger/different), some of these reactions are universal. I was asked often why I was trying to find my biological family. I don't really think it's a journey that can be put into words, as I'm sure for each adoptee, it's an intensely personal, emotional journey. I'm sure we each find something different. But I understand the fear of the "what ifs". What if they have a family that doesn't know about them? What if you're rejected? What if they need help? Etc... I hope she finds some answers!