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Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love [Hardcover]

Xinran Xinran
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2010

An extraordinarily powerful follow-up to her bestselling The Good Women of China -- heartbreaking, shocking stories, including Xinran's own experience, of Chinese mothers who have lost or had to abandon their daughters and are still searching.

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother is made up of the stories of Chinese mothers whose daughters have been wrenched from them, and also brings us the voices of some adoptive mothers from different parts of the world. These are stories which Xinran could not bring herself to tell previously -- because they were too painful and close to home. In the footsteps of Xinran's Good Women of China, this is personal, immediate, full of harrowing, tragic detail but also uplifting, tender moments.

Ten chapters, ten women and many stories of heartbreak, including her own: Xinran once again takes us right into the lives of Chinese women -- students, successful business women, midwives, peasants, all with memories which have stained their lives. Whether as a consequence of the single-child policy, destructive age-old traditions or hideous economic necessity... these women had to give up their daughters for adoption, others were forced to abandon them -- on city streets, outside hospitals, orphanages or on station platforms -- and others even had to watch their baby daughters being taken away at birth, and drowned. Here are the 'extra-birth guerrillas' who travel the roads and the railways, evading the system, trying to hold onto more than one baby; naive young student girls who have made life-wrecking mistakes; the 'pebble mother' on the banks of the Yangzte still looking into the depths for her stolen daughter; peasant women rejected by their families because they can't produce a male heir; and finally there is Little Snow, the orphaned baby fostered by Xinran but 'confiscated' by the state.

The book sends a heartrending message from their birth mothers to all those Chinese girls who have been adopted overseas (at the end of 2006 there were over 120,000 registered adoptive families for Chinese orphans, almost all girls, in 27 countries), to show them how things really were for their mothers, and to tell them they were loved and will never be forgotten.

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"A touching book...[Xinran] gives voice to the silent heartbreak of tens of thousands of Chinese women." —New York Post

“This collection is powerful and heartbreaking. It's a must-read for families who have adopted children from China, as well as for anyone who has an interest in what women's lives are like in the economic powerhouse China has become.” –Lisa See --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Born in Beijing in 1958, XINRAN was a journalist and radio presenter in China. In 1997 she moved to London, where she wrote her bestselling book The Good Women of China. Since then she has written a regular column for the Guardian, appeared frequently on radio and TV and published Sky Burial, What the Chinese Don't Eat, a novel (Miss Chopsticks), and a groundbreaking work of oral history, China Witness. Her charity, The Mothers' Bridge of Love, was founded to help disadvantaged Chinese children and to build a bridge of understanding between the West and China.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book, I couldn't put it down June 18 2010
As a mom to a 2 year old from China, I have not had time to read more than one page at a sitting since she came home almost a year and a half ago. But I could not put this book down and finished it in just a few days. If she had gone to bed earlier and I didn't have to go to work the next day, I would have finished it the same day/evening I started it. I am already wanting to read it a second time.

A MUST READ for any family who plans to or has adopted from China. It gives great cultural perspective to gain a better understanding of the vast array of possibilities of how and why our children may have come into orphanage care. I truly cannot believe that someone could read this and NOT feel compassion towards their child's birth family, if they didn't already. While some of the stories are not shocking to me (based on having already done much reading on the subject of child abandonment and orphanage care in China), the information is more personal and a very good balance to other text. It's a must have in your library if you are a family with a child from China.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and Poignant June 15 2011
By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER
Any family thinking about adopting a child from China, MUST read this book! It lays out the laws of adoption, gives extremely credible cultural perspective and gives a compassionate voice to and for the many Chinese women who, heartbreakingly, were forced to abandon or place their beloved children in orphanages.

Xinran does an incredible job at addressing the unimaginable heartache and pain millions of Chinese mothers suffered as they were pressured to abandon their children in the street, leave their crying infant on the steps of a run-down and inadequate orphanage, and even kill their own child!

Unfortunately, these are the realities of China and for every mother there who has lost a child, they carry unbelievable and undeniable pain, anguish, torment, and suffering that at times, drives them to commit suicide.

This is an emotional book that you MUST read! As a non-Chinese mother, this incredible book evoked emotions deep into my soul and awakening feelings I didn't even know I had. My heart truly goes out to the millions of Chinese mothers and daughters everywhere who don't know each other or who wait to someday to meet again on some plane.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother April 9 2011
By John L
Xinran's story is very close to home. I am the proud grandparent of a beautiful, intelligent and very happy adopted girl from the Xian area. She has been with us for 6 1/2 years and was 10 months old when my daughter and her husband brought her home to Canada. She knows her history and has a map of China in her room highlighting the area she is from. I suspect that one day she will instigate a search for her birth mother and Xinran's Foundation may be the starting point. Our whole family will provide loving support for her journey.Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love
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