From Wish You Happy Forever:
The first time I held her is as immediate today as if I were transported back in time. The heat, the sticky air, the people all fall away. It is just us. She smells of pomade and pee. She weighs nothing. She is all
bits and bones. She doesn’t nestle into my arms in that instinctive baby way, but rigidly arches her back. Her belly, too hard and round for this tiny body, pokes out of the thin white shirt. Her yellow pajama bottoms say Novèlli Crayon down one skinny leg. Her socks say Baseball. She is wearing clear jellies with pink
rosebuds printed on the soles. They are too small. The bottoms have not been walked on. Her impossibly long, thin fingers tightly clutch a dried lychee nut in each hand, put there to keep her from scratching her face full of sores. She is beautiful.
What does it feel like to hold her? It feels both intensely foreign and awkward, and absolutely right. It feels like I am holding someone else’s child, and yet there is no doubt that she is mine. That she has always been mine.
In the summer of 1998, Jenny Bowen looked out her kitchen window onto her garden, and her life changed forever.
Her 3 year-old daughter Maya, whom she and her husband adopted months earlier from an orphanage in China, had transformed from a frightened, sickly little girl to a joyous being thriving in an environment where she knew she was loved. Watching her daughter play, Jenny was overcome with the desire to help the orphaned girls she couldn’t bring home. And that’s when Half the Sky was born.
Wish You Happy Forever tells the story of China’s momentous progress in its treatment of orphaned and abandoned children. When Jenny began Half the Sky in 1998, determined to bring a caring adult into the life of every orphaned child, it seemed impossible that China would allow a foreigner to work inside government orphanages, let alone try to bring change. But gradually, after witnessing Half the Sky’s quiet perseverance and miraculous success, the Chinese government now not only trusts, but partners with OneSky (formerly Half the Sky) to make life better for the children in its care.
Paperback Edition: March 2015 by HarperOne
From Author, Amy Tan …
“Both heartrending and victoriously uplifting, Wish You Happy Forever begins with empty nesters Jenny and Richard Bowen’s simple pledge to provide love to one Chinese orphan–which then led to their creating a model program called Half the Sky that would better the lives of children in all the orphanages throughout China. Bowen shows us the precarious bridge they had to cross to reach those girls–one filled with the changing and maddening intricacies of government officials wary of foreign criticism and interference. Ultimately, this story provides the backdrop on the lives of thousands of orphan girls and their foster grandmothers, teachers, volunteers, donors, and the ever-grateful adoptive parents. This is a must read for lessons on compassion, persistence, and true love.”