The story of an elderly man who has stayed unmarried throughout his long life, but also managed to adopt and raise up six orphan children has been pulling on the heartstrings of netizens across China recently.
97-year-old Peng Yunsong says that he adopted Yan Jingcheng, his first child, back in 1954 when he was 35 years old and Yan was eight, NetEase reports. Over the next 15 years, Peng added another five kids to his family: Guo Tingzhong, Zhang Xiuqing, Gao Yubin, Luan Jingtong, and Liu Yuzheng. They all came from different families with different last names, but shared a single father and home.
Peng has never married. He worked in a machinery plant and made some extra money by collecting garbage and doing odd-jobs. However, he struggled to bring up such a large family.
“The happiest time in my childhood was when we would all stand at the door, staring at the road, waiting for dad to come home,” Gao Yubing, the fourth oldest, recalls. “My dad always wore a blue uniform to work. Whenever we spotted anyone in blue walking up the road, we got so excited.”
“When it came time for festivals, dad would often bring us something special to eat. Once he brought home two mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival. Each one of us got a little piece. That was the best thing in the world and we ate it as slowly as we could to savor it.”
As the kids grew older, Peng strove to work to pay for their school tuition. “You don’t just have to put food in their mouths, but you also need to send them to get an education,” Peng says.
To earn some extra money, Peng bought five goats. Every morning, he got up very early to milk the goats and then sold the milk at the market. His foster children would also help with the milking from time to time.
However, Peng didn’t allow his kids to take on odd jobs to earn money. “Once they got some money for the first time, they would start racking their brains to come up with good ideas to make some more, instead of focusing on their studies,” Peng explains.
Guo Yingzhong, one of Peng’s kids, joined the army when he turned 16. Before Guo left, Peng secretly tucked 10 RMB into his pocket. When Guo discovered the money — enough for the whole family to live on for a half a month — he broke down into tears.
Peng turned down anyone who said they would introduce him to a wife, because he was always more focused on raising up his children.
“If a woman is willing to marry me, she’ll suffer. I don’t want her to suffer with me. But most importantly, I have to raise my children,” Peng told reporters.
As the old saying goes, “One good turn deserves another.” Peng’s devotion to his children has left him with a happy life. He says that he doesn’t have any regrets.
His adopted children have all gone on to lead successful lives. At first, he didn’t want to interfere, choosing to live alone. But in 2013, he finally agreed to move in with one of his kids in Harbin.
Incredibly, at the age of 97, Peng still works for four hours a day at an inn. In his spare time, he uses WeChat to talk with his children and grandchildren.
“The whole family gets together on the holidays. Kids from the next generation are all very close to their grandpa. They always tell him what they are doing with work or what it’s like to go study abroad,” one of Peng’s sons told reporters. “My dad has done so many good things in his life, that’s why he has lived so long!”
By Lucy Liu
[Images via NetEase]