Soon, with any luck, Donuts will embark on a new life as the cherished daughter of a loving family, in China or maybe overseas. Just before this article went to press, I heard that Baby Jiang had had her heart defect corrected in a Shanghai hospital. Orphanage staff say they will monitor her progress and make her available for adoption as soon as she is strong enough.
But wherever she ends up, and whenever she gets adopted, I will make sure that Donuts knows just how well she was swaddled; and that her mother chose a mild night, after a run of freezing evenings; and that she picked a busy time at the doughnut shop; and that she put her baby against a wall, behind a gate, sheltered but easily discovered—by people who went there craving a doughnut fix and came away touched by an event they will always remember.
And most of all, I will tell her the one thing that I can never tell my own children with certainty: that her mother loved her. Because if it was not love lurking among all those nappies and bottles and formula tins, I have never seen love before. I hope one day she will think on those things, and forgive the mother who left her there.
Additional reporting by Shirley Chen in Shanghai.
This article originally appeared in Financial Times. Click here to read more coverage from the Weekend FT.