This is the Story of His Chinese Grandmother
Original Author Yu Jun (俞俊)
(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
Translator’s Note: This is an English translation of the original Chinese text entitled ‘兰溪农妇抚养混血弃儿 6岁巴比和他中国奶奶的故事’, which was published in early 2013. It is a very heart-warming story from China about an abandoned African-Chinese boy abandoned by his biological parents and taken in and loved by a Chinese grandmother. Perhaps Bobby’s Central African father (or his Chinese mother) might one day read this story and know that his son has survived in China and done very well for himself due to the kindness of local Chinese people. ACW 25.11.14
Zhejiang Daily News: Hu Lian Village (of the Cypress Rural Community area), is about one hour’s drive from Lanxi City, which is situated in Zhejiang province. Here, a story concerning an elderly person and a young child is well known amongst the local people.
The elderly person concerned is named Sheng Mai Juan (盛美娟) and is an ordinary rural woman; whilst the male child is called Bobby (巴比 – Ba Bi). Bobby’s father is from Central Africa, whilst his mother is from China – but his biological parents have abandoned him. In the beginning there was no familial relationship between these two people, but regardless of skin-colour, regardless of nationality, regardless of ethnic and cultural differences – love prevails! It is as if fate had bound them together.
The Local Story
“Bobby – your uncle is here to see you!”
Bobby was taken to the home of Sheng Mai Juan, (who was close to sixty years of age at the time), who had heard about Bobby’s plight and wanted to meet him. Sheng Mei Juan stood-up and greeted Uncle Hao (好), as a very happy and boisterous dark-skinned child jumped and skipped around with a big smile that revealed his two missing front-teeth. Sheng Mei Juan looked with love into Bobby’s eyes and that moment led to them living together for the next two years, with Bobby becoming part of Sheng Mei Juan’s family. Sheng Mei Juan says:
“Bobby is very lively, and well behaved. My son was employed with Bobby’s father at Yiwu, and he said that he never saw Bobby’s mother. Bobby was always with his father. In October 2010, Bobby’s father asked my son to look after Booby while he went away on business – but he never returned.
Sheng Mei Juan’s son and daughter both work at Yiwu, and there is also a grandson who is studying at school. With Bobby in the house as well, there was increased economic pressure. Finally, the son – Sheng Xiao Yang (盛晓阳) – said enough was enough and that they could no longer cope with an extra person in the house. They tried to place Bobby at a local orphanage, but Bobby could not settle and had to return to the Sheng household, where he was taken to live with the grandmother. Sheng Mei Juan explains:
“I am a simple peasant woman and when I first met Bobby I was a little stunned. I had no idea how to raise an African-Chinese child!”
Sheng Mei Juan then explained how Bobby’s eyes were full of happiness and joy, and how she immediately started to feel an emotional bond with him, which was helped by the fact that the other villagers also liked him. Sheng Mei Juan continued:
“I could not understand how his parents could bear to be parted from him!”
Schooling Trouble and Success
Sheng Mei Juan realised that if a child has no parents, registration, or nationality, life can be very difficult. Shen Mei Juan explains:
“Trying to get Bobby into a school – I do not know how many times I was reduced to tears!”
Bobby had not gone to nursery or elementary school, and could not read and write. How could he be allowed to grow up in this manner? Therefore Sheng Mei Juan took Bobby everywhere to try and find help. The local education department made an exception for Bobby and he was enrolled in a local primary school. For Bobby to go to school, finance was required, but Sheng Mei Juan had no fixed income. Instead, Sheng Mei Juan went to the local village of Bedding Factories Workers – who donated 1800 Yuan. She said:
“I am old and do not know how long I have left. Bobby’s needs an education to makes his future life better – I cannot sit by and watch him drop out of school, but I do not know how his fees will be paid.”
Fortunately, Sheng Mei Juan was liked and respected locally, and many people came to her aid and offered her comfort. Her belief in Bobby was well placed, as Bobby’s end of term report was an ‘A’, his teacher said:
‘Bobby’s classmates like him very much and think he is cute. He is very clever and has an incisive mind. His ability to learn is very good. He looks after his pocket money and does not waste it, and his ability to look after himself is first-rate. With regards to his health, he often has an upset stomach.’
The headmaster – teacher Jin (金) said:
“This is a good school that cares about its pupils.”
He further explained that Bobby was a very good child and the teachers and volunteers helped him with clothing and blankets. Bobby views his humble rural school as a paradise! He is now fluent in Mandarin and says:
“I am happy at the school, where it’s the best place to play.”
Hope for the Future
Sheng Mei Juan now has other worries. She is concerned about the future. She says:
“Bobby does not have a family of his own. After school he has to go to work, and then get married and settle-down, how will he achieve all this on his own? I heard that Bobby’s African father is a PhD, and I cannot understand why he has abandoned his son. My son – Sheng Xiao Yang – has sent him many emails but has not received any replies.”
For Bobby to be formally adopted (and become a ‘Chinese National’) his birth-parents need to be found. They have to legally agree to give up custody of their son. However, if they are never heard of again, Bobby could be adopted into the Sheng family if the authorities agree that he has been abandoned. Sheng Xiao Yang has photographs of Bobby’s father – as well as business cards – but this is not enough to legally prove his identity. This being the case, another way for Bobby to get Chinese Citizenship is through his Chinese mother – but very little is known about her. Sheng Mei Juan says:
“If Bobby’s real parents cannot be found, or if they do not want him, then I will adopt him. I am willing to do this for him so that he can have a better life. Although I am old, I will face this responsibility one day at a time.”
©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2014.
Original Chinese Language Article: