Ricki’s First Trip to China and Her Promise (“Daughters’ Return”)
Ricki’s first trip to China was featured in the documentary film, “Daughters’ Return,” released in 2011. “Daughters’ Return” documents the unique experiences of two girls — Eline from the Netherlands and Ricki from the United States — who go to China to meet their birth parents and reconnect with their roots. The following is the summary of Ricki’s story in the film.
It wasn’t really Ricki who wanted to search for her birth parents in the first place. On a return trip to the orphanage several years after the adoption, Wendy and Bill were offered this information: Ricki had been in the foster care of a Madam Fan. Ensuing communications with Fan led to inconsistent accounts of Ricki’s past, including a heart-breaking story about a young, gullible woman seduced by a sophisticated man. Fan would later reveal that the woman was her own daughter and that Ricki was her grand daughter. Insinuating that they now were one extended family, Fan requested financial support from the Mudds. As the Mudds grew suspicious, they received an unexpected letter from a couple claiming to be Ricki’s birth parents.
A year later, Wendy and Bill took Ricki to China to meet the couple. A short week with Ricki’s birth parents proved to be bittersweet. It turns out that Ricki had been seized by government officials and funneled to an orphanage for international adoption. Her biological father, pretending to be a relative, had managed to visit Ricki several times in the orphanage and even tried to take her out… As Bill and Wendy take Ricki away from her sobbing biological mother, they ponder: Even if they have the right, is it the right thing to do?
Being young and at the center of attention among so many strangers, Ricki couldn’t quite make out what was going on. But she made a promise, or rather, her adoptive parents made a promise for her, that she would come back to China when she turned 18.
Watch “Daughters’ Return” Trailer