China orphan born without ears spends 1st CNY in S’pore after adoptive parents learned about him
Year after year, Keyuan watched his friends at the orphanage find forever homes. It's finally his turn.
In 2017, a documentary by Channel NewsAsia’s “Get Real” featured unwanted children in China.
It reported that every year in China, 900,000 children are born with disabilities. With the lack of social support, many of these children are sent to orphanages to be cared for.
These special needs lower the rate of adoption for children with disabilities, and with the adoption age limit set at 14 in China, time is running out for many orphans.
One seven-year-old boy, however, has been fortunate enough to find a new home — and right here in Singapore, thanks to a couple living here who learned about him by watching the show.
The great folks at CNA followed the couple to Beijing in pursuit of this heartwarming story, and we bring you a summary of their various very detailed reports, as well as a two-part documentary, the first part of which is here.
Keyuan, the boy with no ears
This boy’s name is Keyuan. Born without ears, he was abandoned at the doorstep of an orphanage when he was just a few days old.
After the orphanage staff determined they lacked the capacity to properly care for him, he was moved to Alenah’s Home, a medical foster centre in Beijing, where he has been for the past two and a half years. He only learned to speak at about the age of 5, after he was given a hearing aid implant.
By 2017, he was already seven years old and considered to be too old by prospective parents — many families tend not to pick older boys as they are seen as harder to manage.
Despite this, Keyuan remained patient and optimistic that one day, someone would come for him.
4,500km away in Singapore, Yap Vong Hin and Lim Poh Lian found themselves moved to tears by Keyuan’s story.
They couple, who are Singapore Permanent Residents, already have three children in their late teens, but Lim thought to herself:
“What if everyone thought that someone was going to do something, and nobody did anything, and he just ended up waiting and waiting — and nobody came?”
And so, they decided to adopt the boy.
Bringing him home
It was not the first time Lim and Yap adopted a child, actually — 15 years ago, they had also adopted another boy from China.
However, the adoption process back then was way less stringent. The boy they adopted was also considerably younger than Keyuan, so language was less of a problem.
In May 2017, the home was notified that the Yaps were going to adopt him. Despite the family’s hope to bring him home before Christmas, the entire process took longer than they expected.
During that time, they kept in contact via regular Skype sessions and letters. As the couple were not fluent in Chinese, the letters to Keyuan were written in English and had to be translated into Chinese by his caregivers.
In one letter, his mother wrote:
“Waiting must be so hard. It’s hard for us too, but we both have something beautiful to look forward to, don’t we? … Study hard in school, especially English and Maths. I’m working hard to learn Chinese too.”
Despite the language barrier, tedious adoption process, and complex challenges awaiting the family, the Yaps were not fazed.
To Lim, adoption is about commitment, and love was a common language that bridged all differences.
“Somehow, love just lets you make sense of everything.
Adoption is a lot like marriage. You make a commitment to someone who is not your flesh and blood, and at the end of the day, that’s what makes a family – it’s the commitment.”
Settling into the new family
And finally, on Feb. 10, less than a week before the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year, Keyuan finally arrived in Singapore where he was warmly welcomed with garlands and welcome-home banners by the couple’s friends and family.
For the Yaps, it is the beginning of a new chapter — their next step: to get Keyuan settled in.
In order to help him hear better, they also intend to get new surgically-implanted hearing aids for Keyuan.
The family also reportedly said they will celebrate Chinese New Year quietly with a few close friends this year. This is the first Chinese New Year that Keyuan will be spending with his family in Singapore.
Yes, with his very own family.
Keyuan’s story was featured on this CNA Insider video.
H/T: Channel NewsAsia
Top photo composite image from Alenah’s Home Facebook page.