I had a lovely and totally unexpected surprise the other day - a parcel from "Willow", the Chinese girl I adopted (sort of!) some 16 years ago in Guizhou Province. Willow (Gao Ren Mei) was only a tiny orphaned baby when I stumbled across her and her "gran" in a countryside village an hour's walk from Duyun, where I was living and working at the time. I offered to give her the English name "Willow" as she was weeping so much at the time, and then was a bit shocked to be told that only a Father can name a child, so I was now her honorary foreign father. I've kept in touch ever since with postcards, photos, birthday and Spring Festival gifts. After I left Duyun, I've only been back to visit twice, once last year with "honorary mother" Ava, but have been made very welcome each time. However, I've never had any postal reply from Willow or her family, until yesterday. She sent some beautiful laminated photos, a handwritten letter in Chinese (and a little English) with some very kind words in it, and some hand-stitched handicrafts made by her grandmother. I was quite moved to finally have some sort of two-way contact. My "baby" is all grown up!!
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