WUHU DIARY: On Taking My Adopted Daughter Back to Her Hometown in China
Childless and in her 40s, novelist Prager (Roger Fishbite, etc.) realized that her generation has taken a terribly long time to "understand what children could bring us." Ironically (since she's a feminist), she took advantage of the sexism that has emerged in the execution of China's "one-child policy" and adopted an unwanted baby girl from Wuhu, a village in southern China. This is the journal of the return voyage Prager made with LuLu, her five-year-old daughter, in an effort to come to terms with the circumstances of her adoption and to reintroduce LuLu to her roots. Acknowledging that travel with young children often "opens different doors," she recounts her visits with LuLu to nursery schools, hospital waiting rooms and delightfully "un-p.c." amusement parks, instead of museums and national monuments. As LuLu becomes a "local," hanging out with the hotel's bellboys, chambermaids and musicians, Prager wanders the department stores and watches TV, in between futile efforts to find out more about LuLu's birthparents. In the end, it's the whole process they've gone through that lessens LuLu's adoption angst, rather than learning the circumstances of her adoption: "She came back from China... unencumbered by old doubts or anxieties, having reclaimed... some essential part of her self." Writing in a "daily diary" format, Prager keeps the pages turning. By the end, the unsent letter she wrote to the undiscovered birth parents, explaining all the ways she would love their child, may inspire a few tears. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept. 4)
Forecast:If Prager is able to tap into the highly organized and active networks of adoptive parents of Chinese children, this book will be heartily embraced in hardcover and an evergreen paperback.
Release date: 08/01/2001