Thursday, March 15, 2007

Child Abandonment From the Inside II

In the five years I have been researching the abandonment stories of over 4,000 children, certain common themes have become discernable. Issues of superstition, commonality of finding location characteristics, birth family circumstances and beliefs, all seem to tie many abandonment stories together into common experience. I hope that these stories, published by news outlets within China, will give the reader a greater sense of "being there", and allow us as observers from afar to feel the emotions that must be involved in the abandonments of many, if not all, of our individual children.

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Half past eight in the morning, there were crowds of busy passengers in the Changyun Nanchang Long Distance Bus Station, Jiangxi Province. None of the people noticed that there was a little baby placed on the bench in the corner.

All of a sudden, the baby cried out and drew the attention of the people around. They found that the sound came from a baby on the bench who was wrapped by a small piece of quilt. However, no one around seemed to be his (or her) parent, and only a nursing bottle was near by.

People who were waiting there came up and somebody said that it must be someone careless that left the baby here. Another said that it must be an abandoned baby. One person touched the nursing bottle and found that it was already cold, and then he went to fetch some milk for the baby.

A crew member working at the bus station got the bottle heated at once, and then she took the baby into her arms and fed her. The hungry baby had some of the milk and fell asleep, not crying any more.

Someone among the surrounding people saw a note in the quilt. It read “Hope some kind person take care of this baby girl. She was born at two in the morning, Jan. 28th, 2007. I can’t raise her by myself. If there is a chance, I wish we can meet ten years from now at Bayi Bridge, White Cat area.

After that, the crew member working at the bus station called 110 (China's 911) and sent the baby to the Nanchang Social Welfare Institute.

No money for the treatment, father abandoned his daughter, becoming the first person that was arrested by abandoning baby in Chengjing city

The first person that was arrested by abandoning baby in Chengjing city

At eight in the evening, Apr. 1st, 2006, Ms. Wang and her husband brought their son to see the doctor in Beijing Children’s Hospital, located at Litu Road south of the West Town district, Beijing City. Their boy was diagnosed as having an inflammation of the tonsils and received a fluid infusion on the second floor of the hospital. When the parents were waiting for their child to finish the fluid infusion, a man who was in his thirties, not very tall, and seemingly not a local came up to Ms. Wang with a baby in his arms. He frowned and said to Ms. Wang anxiously “Hi, would you please hold the baby for me for a while? I am going to look for her mother. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Ms. Wang, who was worried about her son, ignored what the man had said. However, the man put the baby into her arms unexpectedly and turned around. When walking away, he repeated that he’d be back in a minute.

Ms. Wang replied consciously, “You have to be quick!”

During her waiting for the man, Ms. Wang did not leave the hallway for a second.

“While waiting for him, many thoughts came to my mind, but I am willing to think of people from a bright side. I believed that the father of the baby must be delayed by something”.

More than two hours had passed and it was almost ten at night. Ms. Wang’s child had finished his fluid infusion and he stayed with his mother waiting for that man. Time passed away gradually and the man did not come back again. Having no choice, Ms. Wang dialed “110”.

About ten at night, Apr. 1st, 2006, after receiving Ms. Wang’s call, the police of YueTan Police Station in West Town district in Beijing, rushed to the Children’s Hospital. It was then deep at night and the baby was kept in the hospital for treatment because he was ill.

Happen to meet the baby’s father

The next morning, Ms. Wang took her child to the hospital for the fluid infusion again. After that, her child wanted to have KFC, and so Ms. Wang brought him to the KFC that was near the Children’s Hospital. When they came out of it, a dramatic scene just happened. The man that put the baby to her the day before turned up right in front of the restaurant.

Ms. Wang recognized the man immediately. She could not give any reaction at first and the man seemed to recognize her as well. He went backwards a little and wanted to say something with his mouth open.

There was a woman besides the man. She looked like his wife. Ms. Wang thought that they came to look for their baby, so she told them that after two hours’ waiting without seeing them come back, she called the police and the baby was sent to the police station.

Hearing where the baby was, the couple went to the YueTan Police Station along with Ms. Wang.

According to what Zhou Bohai, police officer in the YueTan Police Station, said, this middle-aged man who was called Zhubo (a fake name) came from Jilin. His wife was Henanese. Both of them came to Beijing for work. They are living in a small house that is rented near the Haidian district. Zhubo is a chef with a salary of only 1200 RMB. His wife used to be a waitress and now she is out of work, taking care of her daughter who is only half-year old at home.

Apr. 1st, 2006, Zhubo and his wife took their daughter to the Children’s Hospital to see the doctor.

Zhubo told the police that it had been hard for his daughter to breathe and her lip had turned purple. Then his daughter was diagnosed as having congenital heart disease and lung fever as well. The hospital suggested that she should be treated immediately. However, the treatment expense was 100,000 RMB. Zhubo and his wife carried their daughter back home with tears. “The baby’s uncle also had congenital heart disease. It is hereditary. We have no choice. If she lives with us, the baby must die someday.” Zhubo told the police.

Having no other way, Zhubo and his wife took the extreme and abandoned the baby in the Children’s Hospital.

Receive the punishment in custody

Zhubo and his wife told the police in the police station that after abandoning their daughter, they felt very guilty, and they came back to the hospital the next day. However, they couldn’t see their daughter after searching all rooms. Later they even came to the backyard of the hospital. “It’s lucky that we ran into that kind-hearted women and learned that our baby is fine,” they said.

Then, in the company of the police, Zhubo’s wife came to the Children’s hospital and saw their daughter. Right at that moment, she burst into tears and kept saying “I’m sorry. I’m sorry…”

In the meantime, Zhubo was brought to the West Town custody house.

Article 45 and article 21 in the “Punishments on Management of Public Security” which was implemented on Mar. 1st, 2006, stipulated separately that: Abandoning one that has no independent ability can receive no more than 5 days in custody or warning; one that is pregnant or feeding the baby which is less than one year old violates the management of public security ought to be kept in administrative custody as well, but can be exempted from it.

The police in charge said that according to the provisions of the “Punishments on Management of Public Security”, Zhubo and his wife should receive 3 days of administrative custody. Considering that Zhubo’s wife is still feeding the baby, they decided that she can be exempted from it. Zhubo thus became the first person the bureau dealt with that was kept in administrative custody for abandoning baby.

5 comments:

fish48223 said...

Brian:

I have a question about the child left at the bus station. Do you feel, and I understand you don't know for sure, the child was from the Changyun area or was she possibly from another area? Also, is the Bayi Bridge, White Cat area, in the area of Changyun?

I've heard of other children being left at long distance bus stations and I've always wondered if they may have come in that morning on the bus.

Thank you.

Research-China.Org said...

My feeling from the story is that the child's family was local. Perhaps someone with knowledge of Nanchang can confirm that the Baji Bridge mentioned in the story is in Nanchang. It seems likely.

As far as Bus Station foundlings in general, my supposition has been that the paretns are probably migrant workers leaving the city where the child is found. The waiting rooms are usually very busy and chaotic, and thus make perfect abandonment locations. No one pays much attention, and since there are so many busses coming and going, it would be impossible to track where the parents went.

Brian

Bob said...

I was in Nanchang for our adoption in 2005,and drove across that bridge. Like a lot of things in Nanchang, it's named Ba Yi (eight-one, August 1st) commemorating the Aug 1 1927 Nanchang uprising that's considered the birth of the People's Lib/Red Army. The main aquare in town is also named for that uprising, although ironically most Americans visiting it probably are going to the enormous Wal-Mart facing the square.

There's a huge white cat statue at the near-town end of the bridge and a corresponding black cat at the other end. If you're going to arrange a meeting 10 years later, that's a very smart place to pick. The cat should still be there, and no political renamings or commercial development would confuse things.

Anonymous said...

Nice job once again Brian. As always, I want more! I find the mention of the finding note has made me wonder if any were left with my children. Do the finding ads mention if a note was left, or must I ask the orphanage?
Thanks,
Leslie
mama of a Xian son and waiting for my dongguan daughter.

Research-China.Org said...

Many finding ads do mention if a note was found with a child. However, if no note was found with the child, it doesn't mean none was left with her or him. Often the note is wrapped around some money to be used to feed the child, and the note and money are stolen before the police or orphanage show up. Also, many children are temporarily "fostered" by finders, who then turn the children over to the orphanage when it is discovered the cost of registration, etc. In these cases the notes are often misplaced and lost.

The date and time of birth are viewed as crucial pieces of information for many Chinese, especially in the countrysides. They are essential to obtaining "readings" from fortune tellers, and are especially important in the determination of compatability with future mates.

It is my feeling that a majority of children are left with notes, but unfortunately many are not guarded and given to the adopting families.

Brian