Adoption stories really can be the most inspiring. when one family decides to make a life-long, selfless commitment in order to help raise, protect and guide another human being, it’s nothing short of a loving miracle.
It’s also miraculous when the adopted baby finally gets to meet her birth parents more than two decades later on the opposite side of the world simply because of one handwritten note.
This is Kati Pohler. She is a college student in her early 20s who grew up in Hudsonville, Michigan.
However, Kati is of Chinese descent and was adopted. Her adoptive parents are Ken and Ruth Pohler. She also has two brothers, Steven and Jeff.
But her biological parents are Qian Fenxiang and Xu Lida, who live in China with their oldest daughter.
Because Qian and Xu already had one daughter and China had a one-child policy at the time, the couple had to not only hide Kati’s birth, but had to give her up, hoping someone would adopt her.
Kati was born on a secluded houseboat. She was then taken to a covered vegetable market days later in Suzhou where she was left with this note:
“Our daughter, Jingzhi, was born at 10am 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!
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.”
Qian and Xu made plans to visit the Broken Bridge in 2005, ten years after Kati was born. They had no idea if it was even a possibility anyone read their note, let alone actually make the decision to connect them with their daughter.
Moved by the note but still slightly wary, the Pohlers actually sent a friend to visit the bridge that day.
“We didn’t want to involve Kati in something as vague as this,” said Ken. “But it was important to us that the birth parents knew their daughter was adopted by a family who love her very much and provide her with a good home.”
That friend arrived at the bridge shortly after 4pm. However, it was too late. Qian and Xu had left the bridge just minutes earlier.
“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. We felt like running up to every girl we saw on the bridge,” Xu says. “It was awful.”
But a news station caught wind of the story and publicized the missed meeting in hopes the biological parents would come forward. And they did!
The parents exchanged contact information but it wasn’t until this past year that Ken and Ruth decided to make Kati aware of the note her birth parents left. Once Kati learned about the note, the bridge, and how her birth parents longed to see her, she made the decision to take a trip to China.
With the help of a film crew and translators, Kati finally met her biological family on the Broken Bridge on the eve of the Qixi Festival this year. She even met her sister, Xiaochen, for the first time.
Qian broke down into tears immediately.
“We couldn’t communicate meaningfully since we don’t speak English and she doesn’t speak Mandarin, but we could tell she’s a really nice girl. But now that we have met her, we miss her even more than before,” she said.
Kati was equally happy to see exactly where she came from for the first time.
“It was really nice to see them. I was surprised by how emotional my Chinese mom was. The first thing they said was, ‘You are skinny, you’ve got to eat more.’ If I didn’t eat they would feed me. I guess they were just super-excited and missed looking after me for all these years,” she said.
Kati’s full story will be aired on BBC Our World: The Return On BBC World News on December 9.
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