It’s been several years since I returned to the states from China. While I’d like to say that I am doing fine and am where I want to be, that would be dishonest. Sort of. I am doing fine, but I hope to take another journey to live overseas one day, perhaps once we get our youngest out of college and off on her own. Despite living in two states and a few homes since our return, I still do not feel like I’ve found home. I’m not sure where God will take me one day, but I am sure I’m not there yet.
Some questions I’ve been asked:
Do you still see the kids from China?
I do not see any of the children, though I did go back to China in 2010 to find where Xiao Gou had been transferred. She’d been lost in the system and I could not rest until I finished what I had promised her many years ago. With the help of many angels, that promise was fulfilled and Xiao Gou now resides in the states with her forever family.
Other children I wrote about in the book are doing fine and I am in contact with many of their forever moms. I just received updated school photos of Yue Hua and Le Ci and boy, are they adorable!
Do you plan to write a sequel to Silent Tears?
At one time I did plan to write a follow up to Silent Tears and actually have it about half way complete. But for now I’ve realized that Silent Tears was told from the China side but the follow up would now have to be told from this side of the pond, from the perspective of where are they now. For now, I haven’t found an idea that would allow me to do that without infringing on their new lives and privacy. So the follow up book has been put aside and may never be told.
Do you still advocate for the children of China?
Absolutely! Someone wrote a review for Silent Tears and said I had an agenda. What that is supposed to mean I have no idea but maybe she was right. My agenda was, is, and always will be to continue to give a voice to children who have none. I’ve been advocating for the kiddos for going on ten years now in many different avenues, projects, and positions. Currently I’m a volunteer director for AOW (An Orphan’s Wish) and that is how I give my time and efforts to continue my work for China’s children. You can read more about what we do here and possibly find a way to give a helping hand yourself! http://www.anorphanswish.org/what-we-do/what-we-do.html
Did you go to China and work in an orphanage just to publish a book?
No. But I won’t say I’m glad it didn’t work out that way because the book has found many readers who later adopted or became supporters of organizations that help children in China. The book came about when I was writing weekly (sometimes daily) updates of my life in the orphanage and so many people said the content should be put into a book so the rest of the world could know. I did go to China with a goal of writing a book, among other goals, but that was a children’s book and it was put aside half way complete when I could no longer focus on anything but my work at the orphanage.
Did you know you’d go on to write more books after your memoir?
Honestly, no. I have always liked to write and pour my words, feelings, and dreams out on paper. After publishing the memoir, I took some creative writing courses and joined a writer’s critique group. I decided to finally start expunging all the little stories out of my head by putting them in books. I now write Asian-inspired fiction, and by creating colorful characters that draw the reader in to know more, I strive to raise awareness about issues in China that affect women and children. I believe, and have been told, that I get better with each book. (Yes, my writing in Silent Tears was my first project and admittedly the writing somewhat amateurish!) I do hope readers will give my latest book, A Thread Unbroken, a chance because with it, I’ve put out what I feel is my best writing yet. I may never get to the level of my favorite authors, Lisa See and Amy Tan, but I’ll continue to try!
I have just finished the first book in my family saga called The Scavenger’s Daughters.
Here is a sneak peek:
Having survived torture and imprisonment during China’s Cultural Revolution, Benfu escaped to find love with his compassionate and beautiful Calla Lily. Together they build a fulfilling life around the most menial of jobs—Benfu’s work collecting trash. As he sorts through the discards of others, he regularly discovers abandoned children. With unwavering determination, he and Calli spend decades creating a family of hand-picked daughters that help heal the sorrow and brighten their modest home. But all is not perfect and when crisis threatens to separate their family, Benfu—or possibly his band of headstrong daughters—must find a way to overcome the biggest hardship yet.
Inspired by a true story, and set against the backdrop of a country in transition, The Scavenger’s Daughters is a sweeping present day saga of triumph in the face of hardship, and the unbreakable bonds of family against all odds. Available at this LINK ON AMAZON.COM