Monday, March 22, 2021

Leizhou, Guangdong -- "Seventeen Difficult Years"

 

At noon on July 18, 2004 (Gregorian Calendar), my family went through a seismic change. After my fourth uncle was killed over a land dispute, my entire family was hunted by the enemy for reprisal murders. During this critical time, my first daughter, my precious princess, was born at about one o’clock in the morning of July 19. Upon my first taste of being a father, I carried my wife and daughter and fled to Leizhou to look for a shelter. 

To make matters worse, my newborn daughter was sick. Her face turned sallow; she refused to take the milk, and nearly stopped breathing. I did CPR with my mouth on her nose and mouth, to no avail. We had to send her to the hospital. But we couldn’t pay for a vehicle, so I carried her and ran to the hospital, crying all the way. In the hospital, I had no money to pay for the ICU, so I begged. I received some sympathy but little help. A doctor finally offered to put her on a ventilator, after which my daughter got better, and the doctor asked me to take her home. But she still refused to be breastfed, and her symptoms recurred in just a few days. I brought her back to the hospital, crying and begging the doctor for the ventilator. She got better again, but the doctor threw us out. I went to buy some medicine for her at a nearby pharmacy, wiping my tears. There, I ran into the midwife from the clinic and told her about my daughter. She suggested that I bring her back to the clinic and she’d call the orphanage to take her. The clinic lied to the orphanage, saying that the infant’s father was a drug addict who’d abandoned her. Deep down, I knew it was the only way to save her. 

In the morning of July 29, 2004, everyone in my family wept while watching my mother and me carrying the baby girl to the clinic. I wrote on a piece of white paper: Tang, born on July 19. I had to return to look after my wife, while my mother stood by the clinic, watching. She said her granddaughter was taken by a tall man and a woman in her forties who drove her to the orphanage in Leizhou, where orphanages abounded. In the following years when we were trying to make a living, we constantly made inquiries about our daughter. We contacted every orphanage in Leizhou, with no leads. For years, I set out looking for my daughter during the day, and came home wiping tears at night. Not all parents who give away their children are discriminatory toward girls. My daughter is my first child, and I was forced to send her away. I also know that being foster parents is not easy, and I cannot repay their kindness and generosity. After so many years of searching, I did not find any clue until a month ago when an old lady from an orphanage in Leizhou told me that the orphans from 2004 were all sent abroad––there were many of them. Therefore, I want to share my story on this platform. Daughter, if you read this and are willing to forgive me, that would be my greatest wish. I admit that I owe you too much. I don’t deserve you. I’ve just been looking for you for the past 17 years, my eyes full of tears.

(Thanks to Liuyu Ivy Chen for helping us to translating the story into English. We think the girl may have been assigned a finding date of July 8, 2004, and an orphanage name of Lei Xiao Fen. This is only a guess, however. The birth family's DNA is in GedMatch.)