A Single Dad Celebrates His 97th Birthday With the Six Children He Adopted as Orphans

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A 97-year-old man has gained the admiration of Chinese netizens for never marrying so that he could raise the six children he adopted as orphans.

In 1954, 35-year-old Peng Yunsong adopted 8-year-old orphan Yan Jingcheng. Peng adopted five more orphan children — Guo Tingzhong, Zhang Xiuqing, Gao Yubin, Luan Jingtong, and Liu Yuzheng — over the course of the next 15 years. Although they have different family names, they all lived under the same roof with Peng as their father, reported the People’s Daily.

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Peng never married, having turned down offers from others to introduce him to single women through the years because he believed his children needed his attention more, reported NetEase (via Shanghaiist).

“If a woman is willing to marry me, she’ll suffer,” Peng told reporters. “I don’t want her to suffer with me. But most importantly, I have to raise my children.”

In order to support his children, Peng worked in a machinery plant and also took on any part-time jobs he could find, including picking up road litter.

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“The happiest time in my childhood was when we would all stand at the door, staring at the road, waiting for dad to come home,” Gao Yubing, Peng’s fourth oldest child, recalled. “My dad always wore a blue uniform to work. Whenever we spotted anyone in blue walking up the road, we got so excited.”

When it came time to pay for his children’s school tuition years later, Peng bought five goats and milked them early morning everyday so that he could sell the milk at the local market.

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Peng never let his children take on their own part-time jobs, however.

“Once they got some money for the first time, they would start racking their brains to come up with good ideas to make some more, instead of focusing on their studies,” Peng said.

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When Guo Yingzhong, one of Peng’s children, joined the army after turning 16, Peng secretly placed 10 yuan ($1.50) into his pocket. Guo broke down in tears when he found the money, which he knew was half-a-month’s budget for the entire family.

Peng’s six children have reportedly all gone on to lead fulfilling lives. Peng, not wanting to be a burden, never moved in with any of his children until he relocated to Harbin in 2013 to live with one of his children, Luan Jingong, at the age of 94.

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Today, the 97-year-old Peng still works four hours daily at an inn when he isn’t using WeChat to talk with his children and grandchildren.

“The whole family gets together on the holidays,” one of Peng’s sons said. “Kids from the next generation are all very close to their grandpa. They always tell him what they are doing with work or what it’s like to go study abroad.

“My dad has done so many good things in his life, that’s why he has lived so long!”

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