What’s Written in This Note That These Parents Hid from Their Adoptive Daughter for 20 Years Will Shock You!
Parents will do anything within their power to protect their children from the evil forces of the world. From the moment they met her, the couple loved their adoptive daughter like she was their very own. And like most good parents, they were willing to go to extreme lengths to shield her from anything that might hurt her.
So, they made the decision to hide something from her. Something that could have changed her life had they shown her earlier on, knowing that someday she would be ready to hear what it said.
Getting the Call
Ruth and Ken Pohler from Hudsonville, Michigan were ready to begin the adoption process. The couple started talking to adoption agencies in their area to see what they could do. One day, the Pohler’s got a phone call that would change their lives forever.
A newborn baby had been abandoned in a market in China and was in need of a good home. They sprang into action and jumped on a plane, eager to meet the baby they hoped would soon be their own.
Jingzhi wasn’t even a week old yet when she was left at the market in Suzhou. She had been wrapped in several blankets and left in a basket on a bench. When one of the vegetable vendors arrived and found her, he called the authorities. Jingzhi was taken to the local children’s welfare office, who has connections to several adoption agencies in the United States.
One of those agencies just happened to be the one that the Pohler’s use in Hudsonville. Little did they know that day that their dreams of becoming parents to this little girl were about to become their reality.
The Pohler’s were no strangers to raising children, so they were fully prepared to take on the responsibilities that go along with adopting an infant. They had already successfully raised two children of their own, and they were ready to add a new member to the family. The couple personally knew someone who had adopted a child from China, so that’s where they started. But the adoption process wasn’t something that would happen overnight.
No, it wouldn’t be until Jingzhi was almost a year old that they were cleared to come and pick up their new baby. Ruth and Ken returned from China with the child in their arms. Not long after they arrived, they renamed their new daughter: Kati.
When Kati was found in the vegetable market in China, just a few days old she was very tiny. The vendor that spotted her found something on her that would shock authorities. Kati had a note attached to her blankets. One that would bring anyone who read it to tears.
The Pohler’s knew that one day, they would share the note with their daughter, too. When she was old enough to hear its content, they would show her.
Since Kati was so young when she arrived in the United States, she didn’t have much to compare her experience to. After all, she was just a baby when she left China, so she couldn’t remember anything about her experiences there. What she did know was her new home in the U.S, and she seemed to absolutely love it.
The Pohler’s couldn’t have been happier with their decision to adopt Kati. She was such a sweet and fun-loving little girl and they loved every moment they spent with her.
Kati recalls having a “good” childhood. One that was spent doing things like playing sports and instruments, etc. She says, “everyone knows I was adopted,” so no one asked her about it. Of course, she was also much younger than her two brothers – and the only girl, which can feel different on its own.
But according to Kati, she fit right in with her siblings, who made her feel at home right from the beginning. The boys loved to play with their sister, and she loved to keep them on their toes.
Moment of Truth
As it happens with any parent, little Kati had grown up to be a young woman in no time at all, it seemed. When Kati turned 18, they knew that her life was going to change forever. They had decided to wait to show her the note that she was found with as a baby until she was an adult – and that day had arrived.
Of course, she knew for her whole life that she was adopted, so it isn’t like they were going to shock her with that. The information that was contained within that note would absolutely shock her, though. Was she ready for this?
The Pohler’s had originally decided to adopt their daughter from China for a few reasons. They had a few family members who’d adopted a child from there already, so with all of their connections, they felt confident about the process. They also had a friend back in China – one who they entrusted with the note with.
To whoever read the note, it was clear that Kati was loved from all four corners of the world. And once she was ready, she’d discover it.
As Kati became a young woman and moved away from the nest, she started having to deal with things she hadn’t been exposed to in her youth. No one in her hometown ever asked her about her adoptive parents or the adoption in general. Everyone knew she was adopted, but no one felt the need to question the family about anything.
However, when Kati spent a semester abroad during college, people started to ask questions that she wasn’t ready to answer. Why wasn’t she ready to answer them? Because at that point, she didn’t even have them.
The Shocking Truth
All her life, Kati had been led to believe that her adoptive parents had no idea who her biological parents were. She knew that she had been adopted as a baby, of course, but she had no idea that Ken and Ruth were hiding something from her all those years – something huge. As it turns out, the note that they’d found attached to her blankets when she was picked her up at the market actually had quite a bit of information in it.
In fact, the note may have actually contained the names of her biological mother and father. But how could the Pohler’s hide all of that from her for so long?
China’s New Law
During the early 1980’s, China had enacted the one-child policy as a part of a birth planning program designed to control the rapidly growing Chinese population. Before the policy, each couple was allowed to have two children, which would have meant an entirely different fate for Kati, whose biological parents, Qian Fenxiang and Xu Lida, found themselves in a horrible position in the midst of the changing policy.
The couple already had one child when they found out they were pregnant with Kati, which forced them to make an incredibly tough decision.
What to Do?
When Xu Lida and Qian Fenxiang discovered that they were pregnant with their second child, they found themselves in between a rock and a hard place – the hardest of places. At first, the news was joyous – until the new government policy emerged, that is. By the time the couple got word of what was going on, it was far past the point of stopping the pregnancy, as Xu Lida was nearly six months pregnant at the time.
They were frantic in trying to figure out how to handle the situation. But they weren’t about to let their child go that easily. They thought at first that they may just be able to hide the child from the government. They would soon find out that the government was equally prepared for a fight.
On the Run
The Chinese government did not play when it came to enforcing its one-child policy. They have been known to force citizens to abort their fetuses even when they’re very far into the pregnancy – yes, even as far as Qian was, at around six months or so.
The couple knew they had to act fast and get as far away as they could from the family planning office in their village. They decided to jump on a boat and try to get away from it all, taking both of their children with them.
Six Weeks at Sea
At first, everything seemed to be working out for the young family. The couple took their young child, loaded up the boat and headed out to sea to try and escape the government’s prying eyes. They managed to fly under the radar even up until the point that Qian went into labor. Xu sort of panicked at that moment, because he knew that taking her to a hospital would mean someone finding out about the baby.
So, he helped her give birth to the child right there on the boat. Luckily, everything went smoothly during the birth and Qian delivered Jingzhi in the middle of the sea. But the family’s troubles were just beginning.
Hiding a pregnant woman is no easy task, which is why they decided to head out to sea during the remainder of Qian’s pregnancy. But now that Jingzhi had been born, a whole new array of difficulties presented themselves. The couple knew that hiding a newborn baby would be near, if not entirely impossible.
But admitting to giving birth to the second child wouldn’t just mean turning the baby over to the authorities, it would mean paying some hefty fines that they just couldn’t afford. They found themselves getting more desperate by the hour. They had to think of something, and they had to do it quickly.
Making the Tough Call
Qian and Xu were in a desperate and dangerous situation. They, along with their young child and now their newborn baby, were floating around at sea trying to evade the authorities in China. But the couple knew they couldn’t continue to live that way, and they had to make the hardest decision of their young lives.
When Jingzhi was just five days old, they wrapped her up in her little blankets and took her to the most populated market they could think of in their area – somewhere where they knew someone would find her and help her almost instantly once the market opened. With eyes flooding with tears, they pinned the note to her blankets and left their baby girl at the market.
Words of Sorrow
The young parents wanted anything but to relinquish their daughter to the arms of strangers, but the policy forced their hand. They just didn’t have the resources to care for Jingzhi while also trying to stay under the radar. The note that authorities would find attached to her blankets would reveal how brokenhearted they were about the entire situation.
The words on the note revealed the exact date and time of the child’s birth, along with the name they’d given her, and how terrible they felt about not being able to keep her. When Qian and Xu left the five-day-old at the market, they never expected to lay eyes on her again. Little did they know what fate had in store for them…or maybe they did.
The Broken Bridge
Perhaps the most important factor in the note was what came after the feelings of regret. The couple had hope in their hearts that someday they would be reunited with their daughter under better circumstances. They jotted down that “if fate should have it,” for whoever found their daughter and the note to meet them again in 10-20 years at the Broken Bridge in Hangzhou on the day of the Qixi Festival, which is basically the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day.
They may not have expected anything to actually come from it, but they clung to that hope and prayed that fate would take their side in the future. And someday, they truly would be reunited with that little girl they were forced to leave behind all those years ago.
Making Good on Their Promise
When that ten-year mark rolled around, Xu and Qian prepared themselves to make good on their promise. They traveled to the Broken Bridge on the morning of the Qixi Festival, fingers crossed that someone would be there to meet them and show them that everything had turned out just like they’d hoped.
If someone was there, it would mean their daughter was okay and that she’d forgiven them for what they had to do. But after waiting around by the bridge all day, it became apparent that no one was coming. Even though nothing had happened the moment they’d expected, however, not all hope was lost. Something miraculous was still in the cards for the couple.
As Luck Would Have It
While Xu and Qian walked away from the Broken Bridge in Hangzhou with broken hearts, someone from the United States was just moments away, toting the note that they’d written all those years ago. Ruth and Ken had sent their friend who lives in China, Annie, to go meet the couple, eager to find out if they followed through on their words. Unfortunately, Annie arrived just a little too late.
The couple had given up hope and left to travel home just a few moments before she’d gotten to the festival. But they weren’t ready to call it quits just yet. Xu and Qian just felt in their hearts that they would see their baby girl again someday.
A Twist of Fate
As the Qixi Festival went on that day Annie was feeling distraught. She felt horrible that she hadn’t been able to find Xu and Qian. But just when she was about to turn back and return home empty-handed, something incredible happened. A television crew passed her and gave her an idea. She told them the story and hoped they could help – and they did!
But even though they helped put the adults in contact, that didn’t necessarily mean the Pohlers were going to be willing to let their daughter see her biological parents. After all, Kati was a 10-year-old at the time and had already been through a rough time as a baby.
Not That Easy
The TV crew helped Annie get in contact with the girl’s biological parents but that was only the first step on a long and treacherous path to seeing their daughter again. And there was still one major issue: the Pohler’s didn’t want Kati to have any contact with Xu and Qian. They thought that it was best to wait until she was old enough to make the decision as to whether or not she wanted to meet them or not all on her own. So, the Pohler’s made the tough choice to keep her true parents’ identities hidden from her – until that moment.
They knew that she was finally ready to know what they had known for all of those years. But was Kati ready? She was about to get hit with a lot of information, whether she was ready or not.
Kati may not have known about her parents, or the fact her adoptive parents knew the true identity of her biological mother and father, but that was all about to change. When Kati was finally an adult, Ken and Ruth told her all about her life back in China. Then, they told her that Xu and Qian wanted to meet her. But there was a problem – no one knew how to get a hold of them.
But as luck would turn out, 21-year old Kati happened to meet a filmmaker who was making a documentary about babies being adopted in the U.S from China. She and the filmmaker made a deal: he would help her find her biological parents and she would appear in his documentary.
After 21 years of wondering who her biological parents were, it was finally time for Kati to meet them. The filmmaker, Chang Changfu, had tracked them down. And of course, Xu and Qian were more than willing to meet their daughter and participate in the film.
It was 2017, and the Qixi Festival was taking place in Hangzhou. Everything happened just the way the couple had hoped when they wrote the note more than two decades before. The family prepared to meet their long-lost daughter for the first time. There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere within the vicinity as the parties all waited at the bridge.
Emotions Running High
You can imagine how both Kati and her Chinese parents must have felt on that fateful day. They’d all been dreaming about it for years, and the moment had finally arrived. Kati waited at one end of the bridge with the television crew, while Qian and Xu eagerly paced around at the other.
Finally, once the cameras were rolling and everyone was ready, they made their way towards each other, excited but cautious. After all, this was a huge moment, especially for a very emotional Qian, who’d been worried about the baby she was forced to give up.
This image caught during the reunion sums up their emotions in one shot. While Kati, or Jingzhi, as Qian referred to her, was excited to meet the man and woman who’d created her, it was also pretty overwhelming for all of them. Qian had this deep regret about being forced to give up her baby because of the policy.
Although, once she found out about the life Kati had in the U.S, she got even more upset. As it turns out, Qian wasn’t very happy with some of the ways Kati had been raised. There was something they still weren’t telling their daughter about her previous life.
Not the Same
Qian may have been forced to give her daughter up due to policy, but she did give her up. So, it may seem irrational that she seemed to have so many problems with Kati’s life (and family) and the U.S. For one, she got irritated when she found out she worked as a waitress during college, shooting back that her other daughter in China “never washed a bowl in her life.”
Does that include her adult life, or? Kati may have worked to help put herself through school, but that doesn’t mean life back in China would have been without its struggles, either. In fact, Qian did make sure to note that there were “many other struggles” there.
Life with Jingzhi
In this picture, Qian and Xu stand with Kati (Jingzhi) and their other daughter, Kati’s sister Xiaochen. The family stayed together for the two days Kati was in town at their apartment. Things were a bit confusing for everyone since Kati doesn’t speak Mandarin and her family didn’t speak English.
Qian was even more emotional after she was able to spend some time with her daughter. But Kati had a life of her own back in the United States now, one that she was getting ready to head back to soon. Teary eyes filled the room as they prepared to let go of their little girl for the second time.
Kati had one of the best experiences of her life when she got to meet with her Chinese family members, but all good things must come to an end sooner or later. She referred to Qian and Xu as 'mama' and 'papa', having no idea what they wanted to be called. But “mama and papa” weren’t it, because apparently Qian didn’t like that much at all.
When the time came for Kati to get on the plane to go home, she had mixed feelings. She was excited to get back to Ken and Ruth, but she knew there were so many questions she still had for her Chinese family.
Beijing in Black and White
The photographer of this image is none-other than Kati herself. Yep, among other things, she has an eye for photography; something that both her Chinese and American parents can be proud of. But for Kati, her experience in Beijing was anything but monotone.
She was left with many unanswered questions that she wanted the answers to when she got back home in the U.S.
Kati has made quite a few friends over the years thanks to all of the extracurriculars she’d taken up in school.
As it turns out, she’s full of hidden talents. Besides photography, she's a talented viola player, which would lead her down an interesting path in her young years.
Playing the viola was more than something Kati was doing to fulfill credit requirements in college, and more than just a hobby to her as well. According to her social media pages, she has such a passion for it that she often teams up with her friend, a music major, to play live events on evenings and weekends.
If it seems like Kati already had a full plate between her personal and school life, it’s because she did have a lot going on. But Kati wasn’t done adding things to the resume just yet.
With all of Kati’s different interests came new friends. And all it took was a few classes. When it came to playing the viola, she and her classmates all seemed to have a ton of fun together. Just check out the huge smiles in this picture shot in the gymnasium before a performance.
Playing the viola takes a lot of practice, so she and all of her bandmates obviously spent a lot of time together.
Seeing the World
Kati has been to a lot of different places so far, as evidenced by all of her shots from all over the globe. But no matter how many cool destinations she’s seen in her young life, the most impactful of them all was meeting her Chinese family and staying with them in their apartment.
That really was the chance of a lifetime.
Hanging with Friends
In many of Kati’s different travel shots around the world, she's often accompanied by a friend. But what good is taking awesome shots with funny faces in front of cool backgrounds if no one sees them, right?
Well, that’s what social media is for. And Kati’s is full of shots in front of things like this beautiful mountain background.
But Kati hasn’t been posting photos to social media for very long. In fact, it’s only been a couple of years since she first created her Instagram account. But as a budding photographer, she’s probably very glad she did at this point.
Kati uses the platform to tell the story of her existence using her photography as her medium. The photos span multiple continents and time zones and include people from all four corners of the world.
This photo is another testament to the unique path that Kati’s taken in her life. Rather than hitting a beachy resort town like Cancun, Kati spent her break from school hanging out in Prague. The “City of a Hundred Spires” is the capital of the Czech Republic and not the most popular area for spring breakers from the U.S.
She chose to tour a city full of rich culture and historic attractions such as the Prague Castle. The castle was built all the way back in the 9th century and houses the Bohemian Crown Jewels within a secret room inside its walls.
Home to Her Heroes
Perhaps one of the reasons why Kati chose to visit Prague was its classical musical history. In this photo, Kati stands by a statue of the city’s native composer, Antonin Dvorak. The Czech-born composer spent most of his life in Prague but also lived in America for a few years.
He worked as the Director of NYC’s National Conservatory of Music in thee 1890s until returning home due to homesickness. Kati admired Dvorak for his abilities both as a composer and on the strings, as he too played the viola. There is a museum in the city still dedicated to him and his music.
It’s very obvious by just glancing at any handful of Kati’s photos that the viola is a huge part of who she is. She started playing at a young age and continues to keep up with her lessons and recitals today.
Not only does she play because she likes it and because she’s talented, but music also seems to be an outlet for her, much like her other passion: photography.
Bigger and Better
Not only is Kati still practicing and playing viola: she continues to book shows that are bigger and bigger every time. She went from playing for family and friends to playing to auditoriums full of people.
First, it was a younger crowd, but soon enough she would find herself being promoted for huge concerts at her college, getting ready to play to a wall-to-wall crowd.
Even though it may seem as though Kati loves to get away from it all, she’s got a pretty great life back home, too. Sure, she travels to all of these awesome places with great scenery and culture, but she also has a good thing going in her hometown of Chicago, too.
The windy city is the perfect place for a multi-talented girl like Kati. They’ve got a ton of wonderful music venues for her to perform in as her career evolves, that’s for sure. Not to mention all of the leisurely pastimes she can pursue, like photographing the boats sailing on Lake Michigan.
Many More to Come
Kati has already experienced more in her young adult life than many people could hope to in all of theirs. She’s visited multiple countries and experienced different cultures; including the one that would have been her own, had Qian and Xu not been forced to give her up.
Although had that not happened, she may not have turned into the multi-talented young woman that she is today. Thanks to Ken and Ruth Pohler, Kati has led a life that has been rich with experiences. Qian may not be happy that Kati knows how to wash her own dishes, but she’s got to be impressed with everything she’s accomplished.
There comes a time in every young person’s life where things around them start to change. Where everyone starts to evolve and become their own people, which often includes branching off into new relationships and starting families.
For Kati, this came in the form of her friends getting married – something that she hadn’t experienced yet. But of course, she was happy to add it to the list of things she’s done. Plus, she was probably thankful for the opportunity to take so many pictures!
Another One Bites the Dust
Let’s see, so far, we’ve discovered Kati has a (lot of) talent for photography and music. But aside from the viola and plethora of awesome photos she snapped along all of her adventures, she has another hobby that keeps her busy: running.
Kati actually trains for, and runs, marathons! In fact, she recently completed this Fifth Third sponsored 25k run. Take a look at that one more time: 25k run. That is no easy feat and she must have spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy preparing for that.
It takes a strong young woman to do everything that Kati has done over the course of the past few years. Meeting your biological parents as an adult after being abandoned as a child does not sound like a task easily accomplished by the faint of heart.
Plus, she spent a weekend with these people that she had just met for the first time (consciously, anyway) without understanding a word they were saying and vice versa. But the entire experience only strengthened her more and gave her back a piece of herself she probably felt she’d lost.
Even though you won’t find your stereotypical “come hither” selfies on Kati’s social media, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t take any. Technically speaking, a selfie simply means a photo that one takes of oneself. And, considering how amazing Kati is with photography, it only makes sense that she would practice on herself.
Plus, if you could take shots like this of yourself, wouldn’t you? Her eyes say a lot about her in this shot. She looks like a young woman that can take on the world by herself. After everything she’s done and accomplished, we’d have to say that she could! At least, if anyone can, it’s Kati!
Kati may not be entirely sure what to call Qian and Xu, but they are in some way, a family. Now, she has two sets of loving parents on opposite ends of the world. Although no one is certain what the future holds, both Kati and her Chinese family are interested in another reunion in the future.
Maybe between now and then, she will learn a few key phrases in Mandarin so that she can better communicate with them next time. Even though they couldn’t understand each other verbally, Qian noted afterward to the TV crew that she, “could tell she’s a very nice girl.”
Hopefully, Kati will be able to get back out there and visit them again soon. Or maybe they can come to visit her in the United States, to catch a glimpse of her life here.