A Chinese man, abducted at 4, had successfully found his family after 30 years when he drew a map of his home village and appealed for help.
According to the Guardian, Li Jingwei was kidnapped from his home village in Yunnan province, China. A neighbor caught and sold him to a child trafficking ring in 1989.
Li said that he was sold to a family in Lankao, more than 1,100 miles away.
After seeing some stories of reunions from abduction cases in the media, he decided to search for his biological family 30 years after the day he was abducted.
“I realized I could not wait any longer because my parents should be getting older now. I worried that when I figured out where I am from, they might have passed away,” he told Henan Television after posting his map.
He had to recall key features of his home village based on his three-decade memories and drew the map and shared it on a popular video-sharing app, hoping someone could identify it.
“I’m a child who’s looking for his home,” Li said in the video.
Li was unable to recall the name of his village or his address. Nevertheless, he featured the village’s key features, including a school, a bamboo forest and a pond.
“I knew the trees, stones, cows and even which roads turn and where the water flows,” Li said in an interview with the Paper, a Chinese media outlet.
Shared on TikTok on Dec. 24, police matched the map to a Yunnan village where there was a woman whose son had disappeared.
Following a DNA test, Li found and reunited with his mother on Saturday, Jan. 1.
Video footage showed Li carefully removing his mother’s mask to examine her face before embracing her and breaking down in tears.
“Thirty-three years of waiting, countless nights of yearning, and finally a map hand-drawn from memory, this is the moment of perfect release after 13 days,” Li wrote on his TikTok profile before the reunion. “Thank you everyone who has helped me reunite with my family.”
He told the Paper: “My mother cried as soon as I got on the phone. After the video call, I recognized her at a glance. My mother and I have the same lips, even my teeth.”
Li is now living in Guangdong province. He said that he had no success in asking his adoptive parents or consulting DNA databases about his origins.