Xingjuan was eleven months old when we found her. She is a rare third daughter in her family. Rare, because even second daughters are at risk of being aborted or abandoned under China’s Two Child Policy. Few third daughters are allowed to see the light of day.
Life is extremely hard for Xingjuan and her family. Her parents are vegetable farmers. During the Covid-19 economic shutdown in China, no trucks came to their remote village to buy vegetables. Much of their crop simply rotted in the greenhouse. Not only did they make no money, but they spent money, time and energy maintaining their farm. Now, they are financially devastated.
Another factor that makes life hard for this family is “daughter shaming.” They are known in their village as “the family with daughters only.” Xingjuan’s paternal grandmother feels particularly shamed by this, because her son (Xingjuan’s father) is the only boy she had, and now she has no grandsons, either. This grandmother found a family in a nearby village that has two sons, and tried to pressure Xingjuan’s mom into giving Xingjuan away to that family. Because there are so many more men living in China than women, some parents resort to “adopting” a baby girl, to raise her as the future wife of their son. Xingjuan’s mom fought against giving away her daughter.
Fortunately for Xingjuan and her family, our fieldworker heard about their plight and approached them with an offer of encouragement and financial support for one year. Our support turned the whole situation around: now Xingjuan is viewed as a lucky girl by her family, and even the grandmother has changed her mind. The grandmother said that for years she prayed to God for a grandson, but now she sees that granddaughters can be a big blessing from God, too. She admits she has never thought of granddaughters this way before!