Wednesday, 23. July 2014
22. 05. 14. - 16:00
It was the moment the mother had waited 25 years for - the chance to hold her missing daughter in her arms and to know that she is okay.
Cai Ruru was four-years-old when she was kidnapped. Her parents had been at work and had left the child with her grandmother in the city of Ruian in east China's Zhejiang province.
Her mother Cai Juanjuan, 53, said: "My mother-in-law knew that our daughter was well-behaved, so she hadn't bothered to lock the door when she went shopping, and when she came back 30 minutes later the house was empty and daughter had vanished."
Despite scouring the area the woman and her husband, Li Mianquan, 57, were unable to find the girl. The grandmother died broken hearted four years ago but her parents had not given up hope, and were one of the first to register at a new country-wide DNA database where both husband and wife left samples of their DNA. That was in 2009, when the database was first started, and for many years they heard nothing.
But then it produced a match when Ruru, who had been told at the age of eight by her new family that she had been adopted, decided to try and find her original parents.
She was unaware however that she was one of the tens of thousands of children that are kidnapped in China each year for sale into adoption, street life, forced labour and prostitution.
She was one of the luckier ones, as she ended up with a good family in Beigao township in Putian city in southeast China's Fujian province who believed they were adopting a child that had been abandoned. They had paid money, but believed it had been to ease the paperwork going through and speed up the adoption process. They gave the girl the surname Wong, and when she was eight her parents told her that she was adopted.
Ruru, now 29-years-old, said: "My adoptive parents had two sons but no daughter, so they had arranged to adopt me. I was the oldest child in the family. I have to say they treated me very well, I don't have any complaints, but I wanted to find out who my real parents were. I wanted to tell them I was okay and didn't want them to have any regrets."
Estimates of the number of kidnapped children in China range from 10,000 per year to as high as 70,000. Most parents who lose children stand very little chance of seeing them again.
And mum Cai Juanjuan believed that she was also fated to never see her daughter again, until she got the call from police to say that they had a match with the DNA sample she had left – and her daughter had been found.
She said: "I couldn't believe it, I was almost too scared to believe it. But then I bought a ticket straight away and flew to meet her."
And as a result the child, now a young woman with a husband and child of her own, met her real mother at Bao'an Airport in the city of Shenzhen.
Her mum said: "I was determined not to cry, but when I saw the beautiful young woman my daughter has become I couldn't help it."
Mother and daughter have now pledged to do their best to make up for the lost years.
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