Jessie Mei Mei
A girl from a world where no games are played
Format: Paperback - C format
AUD $32.99 inc. GST
The frank, honest and heartbreaking true story of parents faced with the unimaginable - a terminal diagnosis for their young adopted daughter. What follows is an extraordinary tale of sacrifice, resilience and the power of love to overcome.
The Chinese call it 'the red threads of destiny'...when a child is born, invisible red threads spring from the infant's body and connect it to those who will be important in that child's life.
Jia-Mei was the child Sharon Guest and Stuart Neal had always wanted and, following a protracted adoption process, they excitedly travelled to China to collect her from a Chinese orphanage. Friends and family affectionately called her Jessie Mei Mei and welcomed her to a new life in Australia. Jessie was the perfect eighteen-month-old child - gregarious and funny and easy to love. But, from the beginning, Sharon, in that way that parents do, suspected something wasn't quite right about Jessie. She was too serious and immobile and learned quite slowly.
When they adopt Bi Bi, another Chinese baby, Jessie's behaviour worries them so much that they seek medical help only to hear what no parent is ever prepared to hear - their beautiful daughter has a degenerative condition that means she will be lucky to see her twelfth birthday.
What happens next is the all too common and shocking story of how a country as rich as ours shamefully fails to provide assistance to families in need. The bureaucratic silliness of government departments and their systemic inadequacy in supporting high needs children and adults leads to extreme actions on the part of their exhausted families.
Jessie Mei Mei will break your heart with its frank, honest and surprisingly funny account of how one family managed. But in the end it is a story about kindness and the power of love to overcome all.
Stuart Neal was the publisher at the ABC for many years and now works as a consultant publisher for Allen + Unwin. Sharon Guest is a playwright and screenplay writer.
ALLEN & UNWIN
ALLEN & UNWIN