Finding Ad

 July 30, 2011

Since 1999, the orphanages in China have been required to run a provincial newspaper advertisement for children that are found and brought to their orphanage. We call them "Finding Ads." These ads contain information about where and when the children were found and which orphanage is caring for them.

This is The Butterfly's finding ad.  She is listed as child number 1,034, meaning she is the 1,034th child to be listed in this paper by her orphanage.  As you can see there are more than 20 children listed on just this one day.  It's hard really to imagine, (sigh), that this is a normal part of the newspaper in China.  Normal and unnatural.

Mia approximately 14 weeks old

Listing a child in the provincial newspaper is one of the first steps in the Chinese adoption process.  This photo listing serves as notice to birth families to come forward if they wish to claim their child. Of course the notice is mostly bureaucratic protocol since abandoning a child is against Chinese law. I can't imagine many come forward to claim their lost child given the likely legal ramifications.

Given up at 4 months old, I can only imagine that is when The Butterfly's mother first noticed signs of her cerebral palsy.   I can also imagine that like any mother she must have loved her daughter with all her being.  The next image of a surely desperate mother leaving The Butterfly at the orphanage is too painful and sad to fully comprehend.

What did her mother think when she saw her daughter's photo in the paper?  Was she relieved that her child was safe?  Hopeful she would get medical care or be adopted?  Did she regret her choice? Did she really have a choice?  Does she hold her own copy of the photo now shared with me?

These are questions we (and most unfairly The Butterfly) may never have answered.

But, I do know that for me this tiny little newspaper photo represents the start of a complicated  journey that will very soon entrust me with another beautiful and very much wanted daughter and for that I am both grateful and humbled.

She was (swoon) such  a beautiful baby. 

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