For centuries, and especially since the "one-child-only" policy under Communist rule, Chinese parents have favored boys over girls since a boy can carry on the family name and help with farm work. Female infanticide is no longer common, but when babies are abandoned, they are almost always girls. Retired mortuary worker Yu Shangzhong of Zhejiang province and his wife have adopted 12 abandoned girls over 35 years. According to the Qianjiang Evening News, they adopted their first girl when he was 40. Four years later, he found a baby girl dumped in a paper box in his village and called her his own. His third child was also an abandoned girl baby.


Life was hard for the family as Yu earned little money for many years, holding part-time jobs. "When I was little, my mother carried me on he back collecting food scraps and even begging," remembers the eldest daughter, now 35. The four youngest girls managed to go to college, despite their poverty. Yu remembers when he found the two youngest as babies in a span of three days. "They had been placed in paper boxes containing their birth information," he says. These two youngest will enroll at a university in Wenzhou this autumn.