Touching Home in China: In Search of Missing Girlhoods
Two girls were abandoned in China as newborns and adopted by American parents when they were nine months old. As teenagers, they returned to the farming towns in China where their lives began. Girls their same age who’d grown up in these towns showed the American girls what it’s like to be a rural daughter in 21st century China. As the adoptees and Chinese girls spent time together, they shared stories about their different life experiences, while also discovering some common threads.
Maya Ludtke, one of the teenagers who made this journey of discovery, and her mother, Melissa, who wrote Touching Home in China: In Search of Missing Girlhoods, will read from the book and Maya will talk about what she learned about girlhood in rural China and how this experience affected her own sense of personal identity.
The book’s stories explore modern-day China through the lens of girls and women's lives. Its stories delve into China's one-child policy, which likely led to these American adoptees being abandoned soon after birth. The core of the book revolves around cross-cultural encounters among these American and Chinese girls. On touchinghomeinchina.com, an accompanying website, stories are also told through mini-documentary videos. (The Chinese girls speak in their Mandarin dialect and we provide English translation.) There are also photo slideshows and interactive graphics that are woven into the stories’ text. Open Source Lesson Plans on this website were created by global educations to offer teachers guidance to project-based learning aligned with the book’s six stories. On the website, there is also an annotated online resource library organized by theme, topic and learning levels with links to news stories, videos, books, documentary films and photo presentations that supplement the content in this book. Touching Home in China also has social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – where we post stories about adoptees and Chinese girls, including essays about birth family searches in China and issues of personal identity as seen through the eyes of transracial adoptees.
Maya will graduate from Wellesley College with her degree in environmental studies at the end of May. Melissa Ludtke is an award-winning journalist and the author of On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America. She is writing a book about Ludtke v. Kuhn, her 1978 legal case that won equal access for women sports reporters.