This is the true story of a girl called Amy and the English “mother” who adopted her from an institute in China when she was just a baby.
It’s a story about love, family and identity; and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.
When Amy came to be adopted in 1999, China’s then notorious one-child policy had given rise to a generation of missing girls. Amy was one of them, destined to life in an orphanage if she was lucky enough to survive. That is, until she was adopted by a loving British couple who were desperate to give her the home she deserved; Elaine and Lee.
In this moving autobiography, Amy and Elaine chart their own personal experiences of their shared adoption story. Theirs is not a political account, but one which is open about the challenges of adopting a child from a foreign country and the long journey that follows; from China to the UK and from infancy through to adolescence, as Amy and her new family learn and grow together.
Now a bright and ambitious young woman on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Amy is braced for an exciting journey into adulthood, one which her proud mother is delighted to be able to share.
Two Voices, One Story is a frank but uplifting account of the complex adoption process and the profound relationship between a mother and her adopted child.
“My birth date was told to my English Mum and Dad as 15 April, but I don’t think anyone really knows the exact date. All they know is that I was left at the gates of the Tong Ling Welfare Centre where I was found on 30 May 1998 and that the Welfare Centre’s advisory doctor thought I was about 6 weeks old at the time.
I don’t know who left me there or why. I know that the time this happened was when the Yangtze had flooded the area.
I also know that whoever left me wanted me to be found and cared for, because of where I was left. Also that whoever it was took a big risk over getting caught and punished.
Obviously, I don’t remember anything about this. Whenever I imagine what happened, I always think of my Chinese Mum, waiting until it was dark, and plucking up the courage to take me there.
I think of her with long black hair – a lot like mine is now – and being young, alone, and very afraid. I see her holding me close and then looking all round until the coast was clear. I imagine her placing me carefully at the gates and then running away fast, without looking back and with tears streaming down her cheeks which fall on the floor as she runs.”
This extract from the book deals with the few facts I actually know of my abandonment at a Welfare Centre near my birth place, with some speculation on my part to fill in the gaps.
Firstly I would like to thank Elaine Rizzo and Amy Masters and their publisher Clink Street, for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.
It was part of my 2017 reading challenge to read more non fiction books and I was delighted to be given the chance to read this remarkable story.
What I liked about Two Voices One Story is that it gives a voice to the mother and child in the adoption process, making it pretty much unique. Most books only focus on the thoughts and feelings of one person, but this book acknowledges that adoption is a journey for both the adoptee and their new family.
Its well written and what touched me is that it never seeks to horrify the reader. It is also not overly sentimental, but simple and beautiful in the way it opens up their story to us the reader. Even when talking about why she came to adopt Amy, Elaine speaks not just for herself, but other women who have suffered the loss of a child. Amy gives a voice to the many children not as lucky to be adopted from homes in China. Because it follows their journey from prior to the adoption until Amy reaches eighteen, we can journey with them as they become a family and that makes their story feel very inculsive.
I would very much recommend this book because it helped me to understand that adoption is a act of faith, love and trust! It requires a willingness to adapt for all those involved. Two Voices, One Story is a tender tale of a journey that was taken together and how with each step we as the reader, Elaine and Amy, come to understand that there is more than one type of family. Love is what binds us, along with share memories and experiences.
About the authors: Elaine Rizzo (Elaine Masters) works in finance as a licensed insolvency practitioner for ClearDebt a company based in Manchester. Her daughter Amy Masters is now eighteen and at college. She enjoys art and design and her ambition is to become a photographer when she graduates. Both now live near Cardigan in West Wales.