9 February 2019
This infant was found by an older person. She was wrapped and placed in a box in the middle of the road. This lady picked her up, and knowing that her son and daughter-in-law were longing for a child, gave the infant to them.
The time lying on the road in the box had given the child tetanus and so they made their way to the city for medical attention. They had not gone to pick up the infant because he had had an accident with his truck and had not been insured. This rendered him unemployed at this time and so the fear of a hefty medical bill was a great concern.
We went to see them too, and the local official was there to assist at the meeting. I had my interpreter with me as usual; did not trust my level of Chinese language in these type of negotiations. We laid it out before them again. We had been to the hospital and had the bill reduced. I asked them how much they could contribute, and with the help of family and village friends, it was a substantial amount. I still had some money and I was able to tell them that I could make up the shortfall.
These young people came back to the city to collect their daughter.
Perhaps of all these cases, the saddest one was the single father. He and his wife lived in his parents home, as is the custom in the rural areas. They were very happy to be expecting their child and all the family was overjoyed when it was a boy.
There was still a strong tradition that the child really belonged to the paternal grandparents, and they had the final say on everything. I have no idea what the stresses in the relationships may have been, but when the infant was diagnosed as having some kind of spasticity, the mother could not face it. She was so ashamed in front of her in-laws to have produced an imperfect heir, that she committed suicide.
This now left the young 23 year old father alone to care for his special needs son. He resigned from his work and was working at starting an online business so that he could provide for his son from home. This meant that he could attend medical appointments and clinics as required.
Although they had a fine house to live in, these people were cash poor. It was a hand up that they needed in this difficult time of low income and high costs. We were able to help him financially for the cost of the treatment and the hotel stay in the city for some time. The doctors said that the prognosis was good and I still pray that that little boy has become healthy.
Desperation was such a difficult thing to live with in China.