Abandoned in Hubei: Jessica's Story

Saturday, May 20, 2017

It was a humid 85 degree day in Hubei. A young mom held her three month old in her arms as she walked onto a bridge near the Yangtze River; she hushed her little girl, hoping to not be discovered for fear of being arrested for what she was about to do. As the sun rose just above the horizon, the lady placed her baby on a safe spot and pinned a note on her shirt.

“Shhhh! Qi ChunTeng!” Quietly, the young mom ran down the dock, looking fearfully around. At any moment she could be caught and reported to the police for abandoning her child. But what else was she supposed to do? Where would she find the money to raise this child? She was struggling financially. And her family would shame her for not giving birth to a son; she really didn’t want a girl after all.

In Wuhan, it was illegal to give up your child for adoption or you would have to face consequences from the local police - including possible fines and detention. To abandon a child was also against the law, and if the parent was caught leaving their child, they would be reported to the authorities. People who turned them in would be rewarded financially; this was especially motivating to the people of Hubei since the government controlled all the wealth.

Qi ChunTeng’s mother slipped away into the distance, feeling ready to forget this chapter of her life and begin a new one.

Soon little Qi ChunTeng’s wailing was heard by a village lady, who was on her way to the market. Most people of Wuhan were very used to finding abandoned babies, and would not go out of their way to help them, but this lady was different. Slowly, she bent down to the ground and scooped up a tiny, beautiful little girl. As the lady held her, she realized there was a piece of paper pinned to the baby’s sweater. She glanced at the description on the paper:


The woman realized that this little one couldn’t be more than twelve weeks old! She went to the police station and handed Qi ChunTeng over to them. The police filled out her paperwork, and placed her temporarily in the Qichun Welfare Home, a fifty year old orphanage down the street. An ad was placed, telling the community about this abandoned little one, along with the many other weekly abandonment announcements in the paper. The authorities did not see many of these deserted children ever reunited with their biological families.

Qi ChunTeng awoke in a metal framed crib, hearing the babies around her crying. This orphanage was understaffed, and although some of the employees truly loved each child, there were not enough people to go around. Most of these children did not bond with the workers, but learned to fend for themselves, as well as they could. This caused the little ones to be closed toward other people, since even the most basic needs weren’t always met. Any love that was given to these children was temporary--from their parents, to the police, to the orphanage staff, to foster care--as the children became older, an underlying question remained: “Am I worth enough to anyone for them to take the time to care for me faithfully? Will everyone get up and leave on me?”

After nine months at the orphanage, little Qi ChunTeng was transferred to a home with two sisters who would become her temporary foster parents, because a family from the US was pursuing her adoption. This was arranged to give the adoptive parents the impression that their child had received one-on-one care from the very beginning. The Chinese government did not want the adoptive parents to become aware of the difficult conditions these orphans had endured prior to a family’s promise to give them a forever home.

By the time she was sixteen months old, the time had arrived for Qi ChunTeng to meet her adoptive family. The sisters notified the adoption agency that little Qi ChunTeng had a high fever the evening before; the agency decided it would be best not to expose the Eddy family to Qi ChunTeng’s illness, and looked through their files for similar children they could instead send home with them. The orphanages were so full that they didn’t want to send this family back empty handed.

The day the adoptive family arrived, miraculously, their little girl’s fever had subsided. Soon Qi ChunTeng--now known as Jessica--boarded the plane with her new family, and hesitantly embraced this new life as a member of the Eddy family. Eventually Jessica came to understand that her new mom and dad loved her, and were not just temporary people in her life. As she got older, Jessica came to realize that in the same way her family welcomed her in, so her heavenly Father welcomed her with open arms. After being shown Christ’s love in this family for several years, Jessica trusted Jesus as her personal savior, and understood that Jesus was the one who protected her at every moment. When her mom abandoned her at the dock, when the village woman handed her over to the police, when the police transferred her to the orphanage, and when the orphanage moved her to the foster family, He was with her every step of the way.

One day, while a middle school small group, a friend asked Jessica rather insensitively: “Are your parents actually your real parents?!” Jessica was taken off guard by her comment; she really hadn't thought about that. As the small group leader continued with the lesson, Jessica began to realize why she had felt so insecure in the past several years. She felt alone and rejected as she began believing the lie that her mother had left her because she was unworthy of love. Because of these lies she believed, Jessica became very introverted.  

A few years later Jessica was great impacted by two passages:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:13-17).

Through His Word, Jessica found freedom to fully forgive her mom and let go of the lies that she was unworthy or unloved, combating both lies with the Word of God. She started praying specifically that her mom would come to know Jesus as her personal Savior. And that she would one day be reunited with her.  

There over 160 million orphans in the world who need to be rescued. Jessica’s story is such a beautiful reminder that every life is so valuable to our King. God has called each of us to stand in the gap for orphans:

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

“Whoever receives one little child…in My name receives Me.” (Matthew. 18:5).

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Let’s be women who joyfully stand for these lives! He so longs for each of these orphans to come into His family, through Jesus!