Parents abandon their 3-Day-Old Child, leave her a note suggesting they meet in 20 years
In 1979, China introduced a law that stated that families could only have one child. The policy was introduced in a draconian attempt to fight poverty and control the population. Unfortunately, this meant many children were abandoned. When Kati Pohler’s parents became pregnant with a second child, they knew that they could not keep her. They left her on a bridge with a note saying that in 10 or 20 years’ time, for her to come to find them. This is how it all unfolded.
Meet Me On The Bridge
Originally from China, Kati Pohler grew up in Michigan under the loving care of her adoptive family. Her biological parents Qian Fenxiang and Xu Lida, however, still live in China with Kati’s biological older sister. At the time when Kati was born, China still had its now abolished one-child policy. A couple who got pregnant a second time would either face forced abortion or heavy financial penalties if caught otherwise.
Her parents kept the pregnancy a secret because they did not want to abort the child. Still, they knew that they could not keep her. Kati’s biological mom gave birth to her on a houseboat, hidden away from the eyes of any doctors or authorities who would have to report them. Next, Qian and Xu took Kati to a covered vegetable market and left her there with a hand-written note.
“Our daughter, Jingzhi, was born at 10am on the 24th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, 1995. We have been forced by poverty and affairs of the world to abandon her. Oh, pity the hearts of fathers and mothers far and near!
Thank you for saving our little daughter and taking her into your care. If the heavens have feelings, if we are brought together by fate, then let us meet again on the Broken Bridge in Hangzhou on the morning of the Qixi Festival in 10 or 20 years from now.”
10 Years Later
Luckily Kati was adopted by the loving Pohler family. She grew up with her adoptive parents and two brothers in a home full of love and support. When she was 10, her parents actually did send a friend to meet with Qian and Xu.
“We didn’t want to involve Kati in something as vague as this,” her dad said.. “But it was important to us that the birth parents knew their daughter was adopted by a family who love her very much and provide her with a good home.”
Unfortunately, the friend arrived in what turned out to be only minutes after Qian and Xu, who had been waiting there for quite some time, had already left. They said that they stood there on the bridge with a sign with Kati’s Chinese name and similar words to those in their note. The waiting, they said, was awful. They explained that they felt like running up to every little girl they saw on that bridge.
Luckily, a local news station found out about the story and publicized it. Thanks to them, they were able to find Qian and Xu and connect them with Kati’s parents. The two couples kept in contact, but it wasn’t until Kati turned 20 that her parents finally told her about the note and her birth story. From there, with her parent’s blessing, Kati decided to go to China to finally meet her birth parents.
The Emotional Reunion
Kati made the trip to China along with a film crew and a group of translators. There, in her home city on the broken bridge on the eve of the Qixi festival in 2017, she finally met her birth parents. Her parents wept both with joy for finally meeting their daughter and also for the sadness of years and a life together that was lost.
“We couldn’t communicate meaningfully since we don’t speak English and she doesn’t speak Mandarin, but we could tell she’s a really nice girl. But now that we have met her, we miss her even more than before,” said her birth mother Qian.
Kati also got to meet her older sister. For her, it was an incredible experience to finally see where she really came from. She knows this is not something that many adoptive children have the opportunity to see.
“It was really nice to see them. I was surprised by how emotional my Chinese mom was. The first thing they said was, ‘You are skinny, you’ve got to eat more.’ If I didn’t eat they would feed me. I guess they were just super-excited and missed looking after me for all these years,” Kati said.