Kati Pohler happened to live a perfectly normal life in Hudsonville, Michigan. Although she knew she was adopted, she never felt out of place in her adoptive parent’s home. She felt loved and she didn’t ask a lot of questions about her birth parents in China. However, all of that would soon change when she came across a letter that her parents had kept secret. In that letter, Kati found out a huge secret about her birth parents that would change her life forever.
20. A Young Couple
Xu Lida and Qian Fenxiang got married to one another in their early 20s. They met one another in Baoying County, near Yangzhou in the province of Jiangsu, China. After tying the knot, the couple decided to move to the outskirts of Hangzhou where they could both find more job opportunities.
19. Starting A Family
The couple worked in the scrap trade, which was very profitable back in the 90s. However, the living conditions were far from ideal and when Qian went into labor, Xu had to place her on the back of his bike and pedal her over to the hospital. After Qian gave birth the couple was so happy and they greatly enjoyed having a baby.
18. Another One
The couple enjoyed being parents so much that they decided to give their daughter another sibling. Although China had a one-child policy, the couple felt that they wouldn’t be found out in such a large city. “We thought we could get away with it since we lived so far away from the family planning cadres in our village,” Xu stated. However, they were about to witness just how cruel the regime could be.
17. Pregnant Again
“I would have felt so sorry if we had aborted her. I thought that even if we couldn’t afford to raise her, we could give her away,” Xu recalled to the South China Morning Post. However, the couple came up with a plan. During Qian’s last 6 weeks of pregnancy, she decided to hide out on a secluded houseboat about 75 miles away from Hangzhou.
16. No Hospital
When Qian’s water finally broke, the couple wasn’t able to take her into a hospital out of fear of spies or authorities intervening. Instead, Xu sterilized scissors with boiling water and cut the umbilical cord himself. However, at one point there was complications and the couple had no choice but to seek out the help of a doctor. The doctor, however, promised not to tell anyone about the meeting.
The couple knew that they couldn’t keep their new daughter whom they named Jingzhi. They knew her life would be in danger so that decided to take her to a vegetable garden nearby and leave her in a spot where someone could find her.
“On the morning of the third day she was born, I prepared her milk, I held her and hugged her for a while. Then I walked to the market. She didn’t cry. She was asleep. I kissed her gently. I knew it was the final goodbye,” Xu explained.
14. Handwritten Letter
However, the couple couldn’t let their baby go without leaving something behind. So they had written her a note that they left with her. The letter said: “Our daughter, Jingzhi, was born at 10 a.m. 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!” Still, the note went on…
13. Future Plans
“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.” Soon enough, Jingzhi was discovered in the vegetable garden and then something amazing happened.
One of the biggest international adoption agencies for Americans called Bethany Christian Services arranged for 10 American couples to come into the orphanage that Jingzhi was staying at. Ken and Ruth Pohler from Hudsonville, Michigan happened to be one of the couples on that trip. “We didn’t really think it mattered which country we adopted from, but we have a brother-in-law who is Chinese and Ruth’s sister was adopted from China too, which was neat,” Ken told BBC.
11. Keeping A Secret
The couple immediately fell in love with Jingzhi and so the plans to adopt her moved forward. As they were boarding the bus back to their hotel, the couple was given the note that they had found Jingzhi with. When the note was translated to them, the couple’s eyes were filled with tears. However, they decided that they would keep the note a secret until Jingzhi was at least 18 so that her life wouldn’t be over complicated.
10. Happy Child
When Jingzhi arrived in Hudsonville, Michigan, the Pohlers renamed her Catherine Su and called her Kati as a nickname. Kati enjoyed a typical American lifestyle and she was an incredibly happy kid that was loved by her parents. She never really asked much about her real parents, however, the Pohlers were always more than happy to tell her about whatever they did know about them.
9. 10 Years Passed
Finally, the 10 year mark had passed and Qian and Xu prayed that Jingzhi would be waiting by the Broken Bridge on the day of the Qixi Festival. “We got there early, and we carried a big sign with our daughter’s name and words similar to those we used in the original note,” Xu told BBC. The couple waited around the entire day and were horribly disappointed when their daughter never showed up.
8. Reaching Out
Eventually, Chang Changfu, a documentary filmmaker decided to make a short film on Chinese children that have been adopted abroad. Changfu was told about Qian and Xu’s story and he immediately contacted them to help them track down the Pohlers. Finally, Changfu came across an online message board for parents who had adopted children from the Suzhou orphanage and saw a post from Ken Pohler.
7. Messaging Them
Changfu decided to reach out to Ken and explained the situation to him. However, Ken was worried that it might be a hoax and decided not to respond. Thus, Kati still had no idea about her parents or that they were trying to contact her. However, all of that would quickly change as Kati began to attend college. She began to ask a lot of questions about her past before she headed to Spain to study abroad.
6. Learning The Truth
At this point, Kati’s parents knew that they could no longer hide the truth from her. “Well, we should tell you that we actually know who your biological parents are,” Ruth said. Soon enough, they filled their daughter in on all of the information on her birth parents. Kati was in shock and she immediately decided to get in touch with Changfu to see if she still had the opportunity to meet her parents.
5. Arranging A Meeting
Changfu responded to Kati and told her that he would love to set up a meeting between Kati and her parents. “I think my biggest fear in meeting my biological family is that somehow I’ll disappoint them more. In a lot of ways obviously they feel like they’ve let me down. But I also know how much pain they have gone through,” Kati explained.
4. Mutual Feelings
Qian and Xu were nervous to meet their daughter as well. “What can I say to her when we meet? Would it help to say sorry? No. Ten thousand sorries wouldn’t be enough,” Xu explained to BBC. “I will absolutely and uncontrollably throw myself at her and beg her for forgiveness,” Qian explained. Finally, the day had come when the three of them would meet and it was truly emotional.
3. Emotional Meeting
Finally, the three of them met on the bridge that they were supposed to meet at years ago. Qian immediately began to break down in tears as she saw her daughter walking toward her. “I’ve finally seen you. Mommy is sorry,” Qian cried, however, she quickly realized that her daughter couldn’t understand her. After their meeting, Kati went to their apartment and stayed with them for a few days.
2. Chinese Identity
Since meeting her parents and spending time with them, Kati’s Asian identity has also gotten much stronger. “Now, it’s deeper than that. It’s good that I am more in touch with where I came from, but it is also confusing. I am a product of where I grew up and that is not Asian in any sense of the word,” she told the South China Morning Post.
1. Happy Reunion
Ken and Ruth are both happy for their daughter and her reunion with her parents. “We love her dearly and she knows that. We haven’t lost anything today,” Ken told the BBC. He added: “We haven’t lost anything at all. We’re just happy for her.” “The love is almost overwhelming. I know my adoptive parents love me, and now I have this whole other love that I never knew existed, but I guess was always there,” Kati added.