Quake Took the Only Child of Many

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It's been over a week since an earthquake devastated China's Sichuan Province, leaving over 70,000 dead, missing or buried in the rubble.

More than 40,000 have lost their lives, but many parents have lost something they consider even more precious: their only children.

Mr. and Mrs. Wong hold on to a few photographs, which are all they have left of their daughter, Wen-Chen.

"I just wanted her to grow up safe, and school should have been the safest place," Mrs. Wong said.

For students in some of nearly 7,000 school rooms that collapsed, it was anything but.

Wen-Chen and over half of her more than 400 classmates were some of the thousands of innocent victims.

"All the dead were only children," Mr. Wong said. "Hundreds of only children."

The One-Child Policy has prevented 400 million births since it was implemented in 1979. Wealthy families can afford the heavy fines of having more than one child, but most of the families hit hardest by the quake faithfully followed the policy.

Because of that, they didn't just lose a child, they lost their only child.

Another father's son was just ten years old.

"I could lose anything but not him," he said.

Many parents who lived in the poor farming villages near the epicenter hoped that their children would have a better life than what they could provide.

Mr. Wong says his daughter was one of the brightest students in her class.

"She was the only hope in our family," he said. "Now that she's gone we've lost everything."

The Wongs say they can't bear to have another child, because it would be too painful.

But thousands throughout China are ready to have more. They want to adopt the children who have been orphaned by the quake.

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