Why desperate Chinese mother offered her triplets for adoption on social media site
- Mother appeals for help after family abandoned by gambling debt-laden husband
- ‘I feel so bad that I have to separate you’ – message to babies goes viral
A mother of triplets in eastern China offered her sons for adoption on a live-streaming social media platform after her gambling debt-laden husband abandoned her when the children were barely four weeks old.
Her husband, surnamed Zhao, returned after the incident was covered by local media, Zhejiang-based news site Thehour.cn reported on Monday. The mother’s account on the social media site TikTok was deleted, but screenshots of her posts offering the babies are still in circulation.
The 27-year-old woman, identified by her surname, Li, who is from Feidong county in Anhui province, married Zhao, 36, in 2013. After she became pregnant in 2017, she discovered her husband had stopped work and had run up 100,000 yuan (US$14,000) in gambling debts, according to Anhui Television.
In screenshots on the broadcaster’s WeChat account, Li’s TikTok post read: “Watching you all sleep soundly is making me cry, I feel so bad that I have to separate you [the triplets].”
After her post went viral, social media users donated baby clothes, nappies and toys and advised Li to try to keep her children. She told Anhui TV she could not afford to feed her boys and felt compelled to give them up for adoption.
When her husband left in August, Li took her children to stay with her aunt. The aunt gave her money to buy extra milk powder, but her sons went through a tin in four days.
Li’s in-laws – who own four houses – refused to spare money for the triplets as they had to take care of Zhao’s son from an earlier marriage, the Anhui TV report said. They said they had sold a house to clear some of Zhao’s debts and were in the process of selling another.
Li is unemployed and her aunt has rented a room for her near her home. The aunt helps her with the children during the day, according to Thehour.cn.
Since her husband’s return, Li appears hopeful, telling local media, “at least this family is like a family”.
Four million children under the age of six were living in poverty in China, according to a 2015 report from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.