Thu, Jul 17, 2003 - Page 4 News List

`Shoebox baby' is looking for her parents in Taipei

ABANDONED The infant, who was left at the National Taiwan University Hospital, was adopted by a Dutch couple who are now helping her search for her family


A 10-year-old Chinese-Dutch girl, who was dubbed the "shoebox baby" after the container she was found in when she was a tiny, premature infant, is looking for her biological parents who she believes are in Taiwan.

Wang Si-shuan (王思諼) and her adopted parents, Hendrik den Butter and his wife, recently contacted the Taipei-based Catholic charity organization Cathwel Service to look into the possibility of finding her biological parents, who probably live in Taipei.

According to Fan Tao-chuang (范道莊), head of Cathwel Service's public affairs, Si-shuan was left in the emergency room of National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital in a shoebox by an unidentified man on July 1, 1993.

After bringing the baby to the emergency room, the man disappeared, leaving no personal information and having only said that the baby was premature.

The infant, who weighed only 0.75kg upon arrival, remained in an incubator at the hospital for three months, during which time health-care personnel not only nurtured the fragile baby, but also performed operations to treat her genetic severe retinosis, Fan said.

Later, the NTU Hospital Volunteer Social Workers Group contacted Cathwel Service to allow Si-shuan -- by then weighing over 2kg -- to be put up for adoption.

Si-shuan was then taken to the Cathwel Service headquarters which runs its own nursery center for abandoned babies and an adoption service. The Cathwel Service head, Sister Wang Chang-hui, named the baby after herself, calling her Wang Si-shuan.

About one year later, the den Butters, seeking to adopt a baby from Taiwan via the Meiling Foundation in the Netherlands, decided to adopt Si-shuan after seeing pictures of the beautiful baby.

The Dutch couple did so despite being told that she was a "super tiny" baby with an eye disease by birth and that raising her might be a daunting task, Fan said.

Si-shuan was then escorted by a social worker to the Netherlands during the Christmas of 1994 to the home of the den Butters, who could not have children of their own.

According to the Cathwel Service's adoption regulations, the den Butters had to present a regular report of the child's health and growth conditions to her biological parents as well as the Cathwel Service once every three months in the first year after adoption.

The regulations stipulated that beginning from the second year after adoption, the den Butters should present such a report once a year.

The den Butters have not only presented the reports as required, they have done such a wonderful job raising Si-shuan that the former "shoebox baby" is now a healthy, happy and normal 10-year-old, although still a little bit small for her age, according to Fan, who regularly reviews the den Butters' reports.

Fan said that the den Butters have expressed their strong desire to look for Si-shuan's biological parents and that the whole family will visit Taiwan immediately upon finding them.

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