A man is so poor he cannot afford to get married. He picks up a baby abandoned at the train station (a popular place to drop off unwanted children). He treats her (it is always a her, never a him) as his own, and never told her the truth. The man can only find odd, temporary jobs because he is uneducated. The man suffers from bad health. Eventually the man dies from some disease or traffic accident (a common cause of death these days). The girl is now living with her adoptive grandma. Grandma has a poor leg and poor health. They live on rubbish picked up from the street, and the low income subsidy from the government (about 100 RMB a month). The only furniture they have were donated by the girl’s teachers. The charity wants to accept the girl at the orphanage but the grandma is reluctant to let her go.
The girl is understandably shy. But she appears to be more sad than shy, and did not smile at all throughout the half hour visit. When the visitors left, she followed them all the way to the entrance to the village, as if she did not want them to go. All the while, she did not smile, not even once.
I know, because I met the girl.