THE WORLD oftentimes holds a negative view of a woman who leaves her baby behind to be raised by others.
The woman might be seen as uncaring and selfish, and one who should be denied the privilege of bringing another into the world.
While this may be true of some, mothers are often constrained by limited resources, and face external pressures and battles, which they sometimes lose.
This was the case of Sherine Khan.
Twenty years ago, when she was 14, Khan met a Taiwanese seaman onshore in Trinidad, with the help of her family.
Their marriage was arranged, and in fewer than five years, Khan gave birth to three of his children.
She endured travelling to and from Taiwan—the one-way journey lasting about two days—with the toddlers.
She learned the language and the culture, and fell in love with it.
The three children were given Mandarin names—Chao Ting Lin, Hong Shin Lin and Lin Yi Nong.
Khan raised them speaking both Mandarin and English.
However, Taiwanese immigration authorities refused to recognise the marriage to her children’s father, and Khan left the country so that she would not be considered a refugee.
In 1999, Khan returned to Trinidad with her two elder children, and left eight-month-old Yi Nong with her Taiwanese grandmother, with a promise that the child would be brought to Trinidad to be raised by her.
Time passed and the promise was broken.
The baby grew into a young girl, and knew her mother only through telephone conversations.
Yi Nong began attending a school in Taiwan although her teachers knew she did not have proper documentation to support her identity.
At 14, Yi Nong he was told that she might not be eligible to write her examinations since she was never properly registered at the school because of the lack of national identification.
She was deemed an illegal immigrant in the only country she knew and called home.
The teenage girl wrote to the President of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou, appealing for permission to be granted resident status.
In the letter, the girl told the President her unique story and her desire to remain in Taiwan, although her birthplace was on the other side of the world in Trinidad.
The government found favour with her petition and residency was granted.
Yi Nong ’s desperate appeal to the President brought media attention, and a Taiwanese television station called Taiwan Indigenous TV approached her to document her life story.
The television station recognised that Yi Nong’s separation from her mother was similar to many others raised in Taiwan.
Her Trinidadian origin was also intriguing, since she came from a country few knew about in their part of the world.
The television station offered Yi Nong a life-changing opportunity —to take her to Trinidad to meet her mother and reunite with her siblings.
Yi Nong accepted and her life was about to change forever.
Tomorrow: Mother and daughter
reunited, then torn part.