The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


A Mother's Act

(My daughter, Emma, was adopted from China. I often wondered about her story: what was it like for her birth mother to take her to a public spot and leave her. I imagined the following situation. It may apply to the many Chinese birth mothers who made a similar decision. My heart goes out to all of them.)

It had been a fitful few hours since she went to bed; she had hardly slept. Rising quietly and dressing warmly, she moved only by memory and decision, knowing that she must act now.

Jua Lin heard the baby whimper and moved quickly to her side. She pulled out her breast and thrust it into the baby’s mouth. “Here, drink,” she whispered. “You may not eat again for quite some time.”

Then it was time to dress little Xui Xui. She had lain out the clothes earlier that night. They included almost everything the baby owned. She kept only one shirt, which she would later hide. At least the baby would be fed and warm, a small consolation.

When she found the courage, Jua Lin picked up the baby and sneaked out into the night. Xui Xui breathed in the cold air and whimpered again. Jua Lin pulled her tight against her warm sweater, but could not look at her.

It took four hours to reach the site she had selected. First, she walked the six miles to town. Next, she took a bus to the city outskirts. Then, she took a crowded bus to the city center. She walked the final two miles to make sure she would not be recognized.

It was quiet by the children’s hospital. With dawn, she knew the day would pick up a feverish pace. Groups of parents and their children would mill around the hospital’s entrance. A steady stream of people would enter and exit through the four glass doors. Taxis would pull in and out of the driveway. Cars would be double-parked and waiting by the curb. But now, all was still. She would not be noticed.

Jua Lin stood silently, hidden by the hospital’s overgrown bushes. Inside her head raged a battle between mother love and the arguments of her husband, Chen, and his parents. She knew she was outnumbered. One child, one family. Sons trumped daughters.

The force of their arguments and duty finally brought her to action. She found a protected spot that was near enough to the entrance to ensure discovery once Xiu Xiu awakened and began to cry. In her last act of motherhood, Jua Lin tenderly kissed her daughter’s head, covered by an oversized, black wool cap.

Then she quickly turned and walked away.

By Nina Katz


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Dear Nina,
I admire how this piece gives voice to those questions you/we can't answer. You've identified where your mind and heart have gone to fill in the gaps to your daughter's, and her birth mother's, story.
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