It really makes me a happier person to see that in a world full of mothers like the Octomom and mothers trying to commit suicide publicly, and even the most obnoxious mother I have ever seen, there are mothers who not only take care of their own children but also reach out and take care of other children — children who have been abandoned and left for dead. They do it because it is the right thing to do, not because the panopticonic camera will be following them wherever they go, snapping photographs of them as they wander through airports and go grocery shopping and pick up their dry cleaning.
In the United States, baby abandonment is a crime that seems to get worse every year, even as more states pass laws that punish perpetrators of it and an increasing number of facilities make it too easy to leave your babies with them if you fear that you may do something morally wrong if you do not do so — many hospitals allow you to anonymously abandon your baby with them, for example.
This ultimately still leaves a baby in an abandoned, parent-less state. Fortunately, there are many people in the United States who adopt children like these and raise them happily. In China, the mother I now admire above others is Lou Xiaoying, a now eighty-eight year old woman who has spent much of her life rescuing babies that were abandoned in the street and in dumpsters and raising them, taking care of them, and sheltering them.
The big issue in China is that parents are allowed to have exactly one child, and no more — and if they do, they face a stiff fine that is equivalent to what many people earn in a year, which is prohibitively expensive for them. What do they do when they have an accidental pregnancy? Apparently many people just abandon their children in the street. Were it not for the efforts of Xiaoying, the children would be dead.
I am in awe that even at the age of eighty-two, Ms. Xiaoying took in a child and did her best to take care of him. She does not have great wealth or a massive mansion but she does have the compassion for other people that is so needed in this oftentimes sad world in which we live. Adoption is certainly a bold and important thing to consider — you can save the life of a child by raising them well.