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Father Reunited with Long-Lost Son After 24 Years & 180,000 Missing Person Notices

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Getting lost in a crowded location is one of the most distressing events that both children and parents can experience.

That moment when you realize you don’t recognize the people around you and the pair of legs you were standing near don’t actually belong to your mother, your heart stops.

But with the way the world has gone, it doesn’t take too long to notify the store and have employees on the lookout for a motherless child.

Lots of kids even have cell phones now, and finding out where they’ve gotten to is as easy as texting them. There are Amber Alerts and other protocol in place to help reunite families much more quickly than they used to.

But things haven’t always been that way. It was 24 years ago when one father lost track of his son and spent over two decades trying to find him.

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On August 8, 1994, Li Shunji was on his way to work, probably preoccupied with business and the requirements of the day, but he didn’t know he had a little shadow.

“I left home to start selling clothes at my stall. I hadn’t realized that my son had followed me,” he said.

He lived in Xi’an, which now has a population of over 12 million. He didn’t exactly “lose” his son because he didn’t even realize he’d been tagging along.

But he soon found out what had happened when his wife told him.

“I only realized that he had gone missing after my wife came looking for me at the shop,” he said. “My legs went numb instantly.”

Li Shunji and his wife Du Li were distraught. Their Lei Lei was lost somewhere in that great city, and they had no clue where to start.

They searched high and low, and Li ended up passing out over 180,000 flyers to try and locate his son. Li even sold his business so that he could devote his time to trying to locate his child.

Unbeknownst to the concerned parents, another couple had found the 3-year-old and took him home with them.

It’s difficult to understand the thought process that a couple would go through to find a child and then take the child home as their own without really putting in the effort to find his parents.

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Today that sort of thing would be viewed as kidnapping, but then perhaps they thought they were doing the child a favor and rescuing him from the streets.

Either way, Lei Lei was “adopted” by these parents and grew up with them. For 24 years they were his family until he was contacted by authorities.



Police had been able to compare DNA against the list of missing children and found Lei Lei who’d been lost all those years ago.

His parents, probably incredibly relieved to know their son was alive and well, were ecstatic to be reunited.



“Communication technology back then did not enable us to seek help efficiently,” Li said. But the wonders of modern technology have brought the family back together now.

The meeting was tearful as father embraced son in a hug that had been 24 years in the making. Finally, at long last, he had his son in his arms again.

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