I’ll keep this brief, because I don’t really like reading fundraising letters myself. They usually seem manipulative to me. So here goes.
In the last year or so, there have been a number of stories about the death of innocent children in China, like the story of Yueyue, which I wrote about here, and several horrific stories of children left to die or women forced to have abortions very late in their pregnancies.
These stories are indeed awful, and they sometimes lead people to believe that the lives of children are not valued in China, life itself is little valued there.
I want to tell you that this is not true.
Our last night in Sanmenxia, the doors breezed open, cold air rushed in, and two policemen strode into the room, followed by a nurse carrying a small bundle. I have not really ever been able to get my head around what was happening. They were bringing in, right there, before our eyes, an abandoned baby who had just that moment been discovered, who may have had a life-threatening illness or other birth defect.
This wasn’t a TV show with a slow-motion, black and white image and a plea for $25 a month. It was a real, live, crying baby.
And what I think impressed me so much was not only the gravity of the situation — here was a child who had very probably just been saved from an awful fate — but the nonchalance and calm sense of fortitude the women working in the welfare center took this with. Here was a new person they were to be charged with caring for. They filled out some forms, sent the police on their way, and found the child a bed.
These women would be this child’s family from now on. They would feed him, play with him, change him, rock him to sleep if he were inconsolable.
I sometimes feel we can barely do that adequately for one baby, our son, who has the advantage of two parents, and fancy eco-friendly diapers, and educational toys.
But there is one woman, the one I took to be the ‘boss,’ in that room in Sanmenxia, who is called mama by 35 children.
If you consider giving money to this thing we’re doing for International China Concern, you can do it because the thought of disabled, abandoned children tugs at your heartstrings, but I’m asking you to consider doing it for these women, who are devoting their lives to caring for people who have no one else.
This, to me, is the ultimate act of loving, nonviolent resistance. The sociologist Peter Berger writes “By training myself in stoical fortitude, I might accept the prospect of my own death with equanimity. It is the death of my neighbor’s child that I refuse to accept.”
The people who work in these places are engaged daily in this act of holy refusal. Please consider giving to help them to continue their important work.
If you’re neither, you can choose whichever you want!