After making the film The Invisible Red Thread, it was clear that Vivian and Shuming were both bright and kind girls, with great potential in many ways. Throughout the documentary, we grew to knew our characters and now regularly keep in touch with their families. We like to begin the New Year by catching up with both Vivian and Shuming, and our hearts continue to be warmed by the positive impact participating in the film has had (and continues to have) on the girls and their families.
Recently, our China unit co-director Changfu Chang spoke to Shuming’s adopted father, Mr. Zhu, who is still working in Shanghai, by phone before calling Jiangxi and talking with Shuming’s mom and Shuming.
Changfu remembers the Zhu family he first met in 2010, “They seemed humble and voiceless. Now they are a changed family in many ways.” The highlight of being part of “The Invisible Red Thread” was the major positive change for Shuming and her parents. Shuming’s father, Mr. Zhu, continues to work in a construction site in Shanghai. Changfu says he now hears joy and satisfaction in Mr. Zhu’s voice. Where Mr. Zhu used to worry a lot about his failing health, he now brushes the topic off, saying he is enjoying good health right now. More importantly, he says, Shuming is changing so incredibly for the better. A girl who endured the traumatic revelation that she was adopted and became introverted, a girl who had no confidence and was ready to quit school after finishing elementary school years when we first met her, is now blossoming into what the Chinese call a “sunshine youngster.”
After initially struggling mightily in middle school, Shuming has steadily made huge strides in middle school, participating in extracurricular activities, running for positions in student organizations, and improving her grades. In a competitive class of over 60 students, Shuming is ranked in the top 15. She is now college-bound and we will cheerlead and support her each step of the way.
As for Vivian, her parents Eve and Hubert say she is doing well and rapidly spreading her wings. She is in her 2nd year of a Bachelors of Commerce at Guelph University in the Co-op Hospitality management stream, and living independently for the first time. She will likely start a 12-month co-op placement in May. Her work applications have gone out and she is waiting to hear back for interviews. Featured in her cover letter, was none other than her experience filming “The Invisible Red Thread”.
We are wishing Vivian and Shuming good luck with all of their exciting endeavors and all the participants and crew in our documentary a healthy, happy year!