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母亲的心情记录:女儿未婚怀孕以后

2006-06-13 09:07

  I had just returned from an income tax audit with the Internal Revenue Service, which everyone agrees is as pleasant as a bad session in the dentist's chair. The audit had gone well, but I was relieved it was over. To celebrate I bought an ice cream cone and sat in my car to read a letter from my eldest daughter Linda, a college freshman. "Dear Mom," the letter began, "I know you will be shocked to learn that you are going to be a grandmother." She was 20 years old and unmarried. My initial response was, "This can't be happening! I'm a middle-aged jobless divorcee and I'm not going to raise any more kids!" I had a six- and a twelve-year-old at home. Raising children alone is not easy, especially on a limited income. However, after I reflected on how my daughter must be feeling, I telephoned her and suggested that she complete her semester and then come home. We would figure out what to do.

  The parents of the boy, a freshman engineering student, were also calm, but their primary objective seemed to be to make sure that whatever happened did not compro-mise their son's future. A marriage was never really considered; they were in favor of adoption. At least medi-cal bills were not a major concern; though I had been laid off, my insurance continued in force at a small cost, and it would cover my daughter's medical bills, likely to amount to several thousand dollars, albeit not those of the child.

  So at the end of the semester my daughter came home. She quickly ruled out abortion on religious grounds. The idea of adoption was appealing, but we were somewhat put off by the totality of the rupture between birth mother and child imposed by the state welfare department. They chose the new family, and the fate of the child would be utterly unknown to us. One day Linda commented that she wished we could find an adoptive family in a distant location who were well educated, already had one child (so that the baby would not be an only child), loved animals, were of her religion, well off financially, with a nice home; and in which the mother was a stay-at-home mom. Two days later my brother in Arkansas, an attorney, phoned to report that his wife knew someone with a friend whose baby girl had died unexpectedly the year before. The grieving mother was unable to have any more children. The family wanted very much to adopt: would we be interested in talking to them about adoption? We received a long letter describing the family in great detail. Their profile corresponded point for point to our wish list for an adoptive family. It was truly uncanny. Linda and I both knew instantly that here was our solution.

  The baby was a blond blue-eyed boy weighing 3.5 kilos. We held him twice and decided we had better not be with him any more lest we change our minds. Our lawyer presented the proper legal papers and physically removed the baby from the hospital before turning him over to his new parents. The adoptive family sent Linda a big bouquet of flowers with a card "from your Arkansas family". Two weeks later the adoptive father phoned to tell me that he had that day put the first funds in the bank for the baby's college education. My daughter returned to university to get her degree, met her "Mr Right", married and had four more children.

  Some 22 years later I was in Arkansas visiting my lawyer brother before returning to China to teach for another year. My sister-in-law telephoned the adoptive family and asked if they were interested in meeting me. The next day I received an excited phone call from that "baby": Could he come over for a visit?

  When Bryan and his adoptive mother arrived the next day, we spent two hours sharing photos and stories and exchanging e-mail addresses. His parents had always made it clear to him that he was adopted; indeed, how else to explain pale skin, flaxen hair and blue eyes in a family of dark-haired olive-skinned descendants of southern Italians?

  Bryan had become an extraordinary young man.He was an Eagle Scout at the age of 13, Arkansas's youngest ever. (The Boy Scouts are a character-building organization, and few boys rise to the top level; to become an Eagle Scout is like receiving a grand testimonial to one's virtue and versatility.) He had been a football star in high school. After attending Brigham Young University for one year, he had served a two-year stint as a representative of his church in South Korea. Now he was preparing to return to university. I told his mother that I believed we had made the right decision 22 years earlier; the next day she called to say how much the comment meant to her.

  As it happened, Linda's eldest daughter would also be a sophomore at BYU that fall, and her next eldest daughter would be at the branch campus in Idaho. I told him that his half-siblings were unaware of his existence; Linda subsequently decided to tell her children about Bryan. They were surprised and curious to find out what their new brother was like. The two girls were quick to set up a rendezvous with their tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed half-brother on the BYU campus in Utah, but birth mother and son have yet to meet.

  母亲的心情记录:女儿未婚怀孕以后

  那天,我刚刚从税务局办完了个人所得税的审计,那地方谁都认为就像是在牙科医生的椅子上那么难熬。审计进行得挺顺利,而我总算松了一口气。为了庆贺我便买了一支冰淇淋坐到车里,开始读大女儿琳达寄来的信,她当时是大一的学生。“亲爱的妈妈,”信是这样开头的,“我知道,当你获知自己要成为外祖母时一定会非常吃惊。”琳达20岁,还没有结婚。我的第一反应就是:“这不行!我自己是一个没有工作的离了婚的中年妇女,我再也不想多抚养孩子了!”家里还有一个6岁和12岁的孩子,我一人抚养孩子可是不容易,特别是只靠那点儿有限的收入。然而,在我仔细考虑了女儿当前的感受之后,我给她打了电话,建议她上完这学期的课之后回家,我们会想出解决问题的办法。

  那个男孩是工程系大一的学生,他的父母也十分冷静,但他们的基本想法似乎是不管事情怎样,都要确保不能影响他们儿子的前途。结婚从未被他们认真考虑过,他们想让我女儿做流产。至少医疗费不是大问题;虽说我下岗了,但我的医疗保险还有效,只需交很少的保险费,这项保险也包括我女儿的医药费,总数约几千美元,但不包括婴儿所需的费用。

  到了期末,女儿回来了。出于宗教上的原因,她很快就排除了做流产的选择。找人领养是个值得考虑的主意。但是想到我们州的福利机构办理的领养使孩子与生身母亲之间处于彻底隔绝的状态,我们又不太愿意这样做。福利机构会为孩子选择一个新的家庭,而孩子的命运对我们来说将一无所知。一天,琳达说道,她希望我们能在离家比较远的地方找一个领养孩子的家庭:这个家庭要受过良好的教育,已经有了一个孩子(这样婴儿就不会是家中孤独的独生子),而且喜爱动物,与自己有同样的宗教信仰,经济上宽裕,有一个温馨的家庭,在这个家里母亲不外出工作。两天后,我的在阿肯色州当律师的哥哥打来电话,说他妻子认识的一个人的朋友,头年生下的女婴出人意料地夭折了,而悲伤的母亲不能再生孩子,这个家庭特别想领养一个孩子——他问我们是否有意和这家谈谈领养的事?我们收到了一封长信,信中详细介绍了这个家庭,他们的情况与我们所希望的领养家庭哪儿哪儿都合适。这可真是不可思议。琳达和我立刻就意识到这是我们寻求的解决办法。

  生下的婴儿是个金发碧眼的男孩,重3.5公斤,我们抱了他两次,之后决定最好还是不见他,免得我们会改变让人领养他的决定。我们的律师提供了正当的法律文件,在把婴儿交给他的新父母之前把孩子从医院接了出去。领养家庭给琳达送来了一大束鲜花,上面有一个卡片写着“这束鲜花是你在阿肯色州的家送给你的”。两周后,领养父亲打来电话,告诉我他已在那天往银行里存入了为孩子上大学的第一笔钱。我女儿则重新回到大学完成她的学位,并且遇到了适合做她丈夫的人,两人结了婚有了四个孩子。

  22年之后,在回中国准备继续任教一年之前,我去阿肯色州看当律师的哥哥。我嫂子给那个领养家庭打了电话,问他们想不想见见我。第二天,我收到兴奋的“婴儿”给我打来的电话——他问能否过来拜访我?

  第二天当布莱恩和他的养母到来的时候,我们用了两个多小时一起看照片,讲往事,并交换了电子邮件地址。他的父母老早就告诉他是个领养的孩子,是啊,要不然怎么解释一个黑头发、棕色皮肤的南部意大利人后裔的家庭会有一个白皮肤、黄头发、蓝眼睛的孩子呢?

  布莱恩已经长成了一个杰出青年,他在13岁就是老鹰童子军的成员,是阿肯色州最年轻的(童子军是塑造品德的组织,极个别的孩子能升到该组织的最高级,成为老鹰童子军成员就相当于在道德与多才多艺方面获得了极高的奖励)。他在中学时是校足球明星,在上了杨百翰大学一年后,他作为他所在教会的代表到韩国服务了两年,现在正准备回到学校继续学习。我告诉他的养母,我相信22年前我们做出了正确决定,第二天她给我打电话,说这句话对她来说太重要了。

  而此时,琳达的大女儿在秋季也将成为杨百翰大学的新生,二女儿将上杨百翰大学在爱达荷州的分校。我告诉布莱恩,他的有一半血统的妹妹们还不知道他的存在呢。琳达于是决定告诉孩子们关于布莱恩的事。孩子们很是吃惊,也很好奇,想知道她们的新哥哥是什么样的人。两个女孩很快就和金发碧眼的高个子哥哥在犹他州的杨百翰大学定了见面的日子,但生母与儿子至今还没相见。

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