Abandoned Baby

By (author): Melissa Ludtke

In this first of six stories from the series “Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods,” two girl babies are abandoned in rural China. Taken to the same orphanage and adopted by American families, they return as teens to the towns where their lives began. Videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics and audio narrations tell their story in the context of China’s one-child policy and its ensuing gender imbalance.

This iBook includes intimate videos of the girls’ adoptions in China; a unique interactive timeline of population policies, “From Mao to Now”; a seesaw graphic illustrating China’s extreme gender imbalance; and artists’ interpretations of the consequences of the one-child policy – from “missing daughters” to lonely childhoods.

The iBooks series “Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods” anchors a transmedia project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and a narrative website. At the heart of the story are two American adoptees who return as teens to the towns in China where each was abandoned as a newborn. There, they meet girls who grew up in these towns and learn about what their own girlhoods might have been like in 21st century rural China.  In sharing the realities of their distant upbringings, the girls open a fascinating cross-cultural dialogue. The project’s social media platforms engage a global audience with interactive news and commentary about women and girls’ lives in contemporary China.