In 2005, three years after our five year old daughter Grace died suddenly from a virulent form of strep, my husband Lorne, our eleven year old son Sam and I found ourselves on a plane heading to China to adopt a baby girl. Our journey into adoption came from a belief that even in such heartbreak and despair, we could love again. As soon as they placed eleven month old Annabelle in my arms, I knew that our hope of rebuilding our family again was indeed possible.
During the adoption process-the orientation, the miles of paperwork, the home visits, the long waits at the INS, and then the even longer wait for our referral from China-we met many other families and heard their own stories about what led them to fly halfway around the world to bring home a baby. Like ours, their stories were all unique, filled with disappointment and promise, despair and hope.
But just as compelling were the stories we heard about the mothers in China who, due to the one child policy there, were forced to abandon their baby girls. Annabelle was found early on a September morning in a box at the orphanage door in the city of Loudi in the province of Hunan. We will never know the story of who left here there, or under what circumstances. Usually, the babies are left right after birth, often with the umbilical cord stump still attached. Annabelle was slightly older, around five months. It is possible that her story is slightly different. Perhaps her mother died. Perhaps her family tried to hide her-a second daughter?-and was discovered. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
As a writer and as her mom, Annabelle's secret history fascinated me. When I began to write a new novel, I wanted to capture the emotional journey of couples embarking on adoption. But I also wanted to explore the brave women who abandon their children in the hope of giving them a better life.
THE RED THREAD is the story of six couples adopting babies from China. It is also the story of Maya, who runs the adoption agency after losing her baby daughter. And it is the story of six women in China who are forced to give up a baby girl they love. The Chinese legend of the red thread is that our children are connected to us by an invisible red thread. No matter how tangled or frayed it becomes, our child is waiting for us at the other end. Who is at the end of your red thread? Maya asks each couple. In THE RED THREAD, I imagine that magical enduring connection.