9 May 2014

The Diary of an SOS Mother in China

SOS mother Suzhen Xie has been an SOS Mother for 11 years. She lives in SOS Children’s Village Chengdu, China nurturing eight children who have lost their parents. Here she shares some interesting anecdotes from her experience as an SOS Mother.
“I joined SOS in 2003. An advertisement in the local newspaper with a photo of vulnerable children touched my heart and motivated me to go to an interview,” Suzhen Xie said.
Suzhen has a degree in clinical medicine and was working in a hospital when she discovered SOS Children’s Villages. She says her desire to work for children in need inspired her to become an SOS Mother.
“It’s one of the most enjoyable, yet difficult, tasks to be an SOS Mother. I have faced many challenging situations,” she said.
“For example, when my eldest daughter became a teenager she became rebellious and lost interest in studying.”
Suzhen always tried her best to deal with problems as they arose. She also sought outside support to strengthen her parenting. She attended a lecture on child and adolescent psychology at Sichuan University.
“It helped me a lot. I realized how family education plays such an important role in a child’s life, and I learned how to communicate with children in different age groups while not causing them to feel reluctant,” Suzhen said.
“With my newly acquired methods of communication, my daughter gradually started showing progress. She began talking to me as she had in the past. Before going out with friends, she started asking for my permission, and she even shared secrets with me. We are more like friends now, rather than simply mother and daughter.”
Suzhen is happy juggling the different elements of her daily routine. Her family looks forward to weekends so they can spend more time together and do the things they love the most, like playing fun games and watching favorite television shows together.
“The best thing about being an SOS Mother is the love I receive from my children. They make me feel important and help me see that motherhood is one of the happiest experiences a woman can have,” she said.
“Last year, my elder son was accepted to a soccer training school in Guangzhou, a southeastern province far from Chengdu. For the first two weeks, he called several times a day, and I thought he was still adjusting to his new life. But his teacher felt that his mood was not quite right. One day, his teacher called and told me that my son cried secretly every night and that it was because he missed the family. At that moment, tears rolled down my face, I was so touched.”
Some of Suzhen’s children have grown up and have left home to live independently. They still though come home throughout the year to visit.
“For a child, a mother is not just someone who feeds and clothes you. A mother is far more important,” she said.
“A mother’s influence on a child is tremendous. As a mother, I take care of my children’s physical and emotional needs. My wish is to see every child in my care become successful in life.”

This story is part of a month-long series telling the stories of women and mothers around the world. The series is part of the SOS Children’s Villages – USA ‘Celebrate Mothers. Empower Women’ campaign. You can find more stories, free eGifts and more at CelebrateMoms.org