In 1995 a newborn baby girl was found on the steps of a hospital in the Chinese city of Jiujiang. She was handed over to an orphanage where they named her Li Bao, but six months later she was adopted by a Canadian couple and renamed Vivian. Vivian is one of over 100,000 girls who have been adopted worldwide since China opened its doors to international adoption in 1991.
Vivian describes herself as a typical North American teenager, but who might Vivian have been if she hadn’t been one of the international adoptees, and was adopted instead by a Chinese family?
The Invisible Red Thread follows Vivian from Canada to China as she discovers her birthplace and the life she might have led if she’d remained there. Together with her adoptive father, Vivian returns to China’s southern Jiangxi Province where she meets Shumin Zhu, a fourteen-year-old girl who was also abandoned as an infant, but adopted by a couple in rural China. Vivian and Shumin compare their lives and discover surprising similarities and differences. Through Vivian and Shumin’s stories, The Invisible Red Thread explores the ripple effects of China’s One Child Policy across two continents and the ties that still connect Vivian to China.