‘Just want to know my birthdate’: documentary on Chinese woman’s emotional search for birth parents after finding adoption papers ends in reunion refusal

‘Just want to know my birthdate’: documentary on Chinese woman’s emotional search for birth parents after finding adoption papers ends in reunion refusal
  • A woman in China searching for her biological parents after finding out she was adopted has taken part in a documentary on her story seen by millions
  • By the end of the documentary the woman realises how unprepared she had been for the emotional journey and the disappointments along the way

“I don’t want to be reunited with them. I just want to know my real birthdate.”

This recent statement from a woman, in her late 20s, named Xiaoyue, in China searching for her biological parents has become a hot topic on mainland social media.

The girl’s story was revealed in a short documentary by Ryo Takeuchi, a Japanese documentary filmmaker living in China, as part of his new project to find Chinese people who want to be filmed and posted on social media.

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Xiaoyue, who lives in the coastal city of Qingdao in China’s eastern province of Shandong, approached Takeuchi and asked to be included in the film. On the filming request form, Xiaoyue wrote: “I am preparing to go to the police station this year to look for my biological parents.”

As the documentary progresses, more of Xiaoyue’s story is revealed.

Her adoptive parents were close to 50 years old when she was born. At an early age, Xiaoyue wondered if she was her parents’ biological daughter, as they seemed too old.

After a serious fight with her father, Xiaoyue once again asked: “Am I your biological daughter or not?” After some hesitation, he answered in the affirmative.

But things changed when her adoptive parents died.

After the death of her adoptive father, Xiaoyue learned from her relatives that she was indeed not his biological child.

And after her adoptive mother also died soon afterwards, Xiaoyue was able to confirm her suspicions when she found the adoption certificate while sorting through their belongings.

Xiaoyue said her adoptive parents told her that her birthdate was October 21 but also mentioned that her lunar birthdate was September 16, and the two dates did not match. So she wanted to know where she was born and when her actual date of birth was.

In the documentary, she takes the director to the police station but ultimately fails to find her biological parents. She says that the police station can only handle missing person inquiries but that she was voluntarily given up by her parents when she was a child.

Now Xiaoyue is a graduate student at the Communication University of China in Beijing, living off part-time jobs and student loans. She goes to restaurants to eat wontons, or dumplings, whenever she feels lonely, as it reminds her of her adoptive father.

“I have no illusions about my biological parents,” Xiaoyue says calmly in front of the camera.

Originally, she just wanted to know her birthdate, but by the end of the documentary, she realises she was not mentally prepared to face what this entailed.

Xiaoyue refers to the tragic incident of Liu Xuezhou in January 2022. The 18-year-old, after finding his biological parents, had a fight with them and subsequently chose to commit suicide because of the online bullying he experienced.

She empathised with Liu and said that if she had known him, she would have told him: “You can have a home without your biological parents. When you’re an adult, you can give yourself a home through your efforts.”

The short documentary has been viewed more than three million times on Weibo, with thousands of reposts and comments left on the platform.

One observer said: “I was also raised by adoptive parents. I have the same mentality as her and want to track down my biological parents to find out my birthdate. But I don’t want to have them in my life. I also want to know why they threw me away.”

Xiaoyue reposted the comment with a response saying: “Yes! Finally, someone understands me.”

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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