The touching story of a pair of foster parents in Shanxi province who have chewed up their cerebral palsy-stricken daughter’s food and fed it to her during every meal for the past 15 years has made waves online.
According to China News, Li Huanmei, the adoptive mother, worked as a cleaner at a hospital in Datong city. One winter day in 2001, she spotted an abandoned child in the hospital hallway. She carried that infant back home and has since cared for her every day, alongside her husband, Zhao Yuchun, for the last 15 years.
Li told reporters that she knew that most of the infants found abandoned inside the hospital had been thrown away by their parents because they had been born with congenital diseases. Yet, she refused to just give up on the helpless child.
Soon afterward, the baby was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. Her condition was so severe that the infant could not even suckle milk.
Li’s relatives tried to persuade her to give up on the kid. However, Li and her husband decided that they could not give up on life. They decided to give their new adopted daughter a name, Zhao Likun.
Because little Likun needed to be attended to every moment, Li and Zhao can never both leave the house together. If one of them went out to work, the other had to stay home and take care of their daughter.
Likun is still unable to chew, so Li and Zhao have to feed their daughter like a mother bird feeds her baby chicks. “It takes around two hours to feed her one meal. She has three meals a day, so that’s over six hours,” Zhao told reporters.
Because they only eat cold meals after Likun finishes eating, both Li and Zhao have suffered from stomach problems to go along with back pains as they get older.
Likun is 15 years old now, but her IQ only equals that of a three-year-old. Li and Zhang also have another daughter of their own, who is 14 years old. While the family is poor, they say that they live a happy life.
However, the family’s fortunes took a turn for the worse when Li was diagnosed with throat cancer recently. She has decided to quit receiving treatment because the family simply can’t afford it.
With Li ill, Zhao has had to shoulder most of the family’s burdens. Fortunately, they have received some help from relatives.
Li’s health is worsening by the day; however, she refuses to think about herself, worrying only about whether Likun will be granted a hukou, so that she can receive some subsidies from the government. “If I can get my child’s affairs settled, I will have nothing to worry about,” she says.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via NetEase]