Ruan Xia had given this photo a first appraisal. To find more clues, he’d have to look more closely but now wasn’t the time for that. Next, he looked at the other picture on the right, his brows raising faintly.
He had thought that this was about a fiancee Mister Mo might want to surprise but as it turned out, it was a fiance instead. He didn’t comment on it and instead took a closer look: The man looked Chinese but there was a vague shadow of European features hidden. He should be in his late twenties or early thirties which gave him a rough idea of the timeline.
Ruan Xia looked up and nodded. “I see. Do you know anything about the adoption process? At least a timeline?”
Mo Fang nodded and motioned at the document. “I noted that down on the first page. He was left on the steps of an orphanage, likely in the early morning hours. They didn’t know how old he was exactly but mentioned that it shouldn’t have been more than a few days so the tentative date of birth was put as the day before they found him.
“Unfortunately, nobody had been seen and they couldn’t find any information. The mother also didn’t come back to retrieve the child in the next few days so they considered him abandoned. After that, he was adopted in a matter of weeks and sent abroad with his adoptive parents.”
Ruan Xia gave a hum. “There wasn’t any information about where he might have been born either? A specific hospital, I mean?” He had already returned to the first page. There really wasn’t much but he at least had a city and the name of the orphanage. That was a good place to start. Most likely, this was all this Mister Mo knew though.
Mo Fang indeed shook his head. “No. They actually contacted the hospitals in the vicinity but there was nobody who had recently left with a child who fit the picture of the woman.”
Ruan Xia hummed again before looking up. “Your fiance isn’t available to ask further questions?”
Mo Fang tensed and lowered his head. He should have led with that. It was just that it had seemed so strange to start with that information when Mister Ruan asked what he was asking him to do. Now, he might have to explain more.
He hurriedly shook his head, unable to look up. “No, my fiance … he passed away recently.” He clenched his hands into fists, trying not to lose composure.
Si Tao next to him really would have liked to reach out and comfort him but he felt that it might be better to just give him a moment to compose himself. He turned to Ruan Xia and cleared his throat to get his attention. “The two of them were preparing to return to China soon. Part of the reason for that was that he had hoped to find his birth family and reconnect before the wedding.
“It was a long-standing wish though. One that he unfortunately didn’t get to fulfill while alive. Xiao Fang is trying to look for his family now as a way to honor what should have been his last and maybe give them the assistance that his fiance otherwise would have provided.” He didn’t mention the inheritance that Mo Fang intended to split in case there was any family left. They didn’t need to tell Ruan Xia everything, after all.
“I see.” The private investigator looked at the paper in his hand again, feeling that he had managed to put his foot in. Well, you couldn’t really blame him for this, could you?
This might have just been meant as a sweet surprise for the fiance. In fact, he had guessed so which was the reason he had asked. After all, not getting all the possible information would make his job much more difficult and lower his chances of really finding somebody. He had thought they could figure out a way to either gather more information or even convince this Mister Mo to let him talk to his fiance.
Well, clearly, he had thought too much again. The fiance hadn’t come along because he simply couldn’t. He really should have asked Mister Si first!
Ruan Xia wanted to sigh but held back and simply nodded. “I am sorry to hear that. In that case, we will have to make do with this.” He waved the documents in his hand. “Seeing as there is little information, I can’t give you an estimate of how long this might take. In general, this kind of case takes longer because there is more research to be done and I might need to travel to the relevant locations myself to look for further clues.”
Mo Fang had somewhat calmed down and nodded after Ruan Xia explained. “I don’t expect immediate results. If it was that easy, my fiance would have found out years ago. This was always something he knew would require a trip to China and extensive research. I am willing to wait. Anyway, it’s not like it would still make a difference for him.”
Ruan Xia nodded with a solemn expression. Then I will look through all of this carefully, come up with a preliminary plan of how to go about this, and start my research. If you want me to, then I can notify you as soon as I have found any new leads. Otherwise, I will get in touch if I manage to reach a major breakthrough.”
Mo Fang thought for a bit. Waiting would be hard and smaller updates might help but Ruan Xia wouldn’t always have time to make sure they were true. “I think major updates would be enough. If there is a lot of time elapsing between updates, you can just give me a heads-up as to where you currently stand. I assume you will need my contact information for this?”
Ruan Xia nodded, got up, and brought back a document for Mo Fang to fill out. “There is also a contract that states any additional terms. You can take it back home and then get back to me or read it here and sign if there are no terms that need discussion.”
Mo Fang nodded. He filled out his contact information first and then directly read the contract where he was. Anyway, he wanted Ruan Xia to be able to start as soon as possible.
An hour later, Mo Fang already walked out of the private investigator’s office with Si Tao, feeling a lot better. This matter wasn’t in his hands anymore and he might not receive results anytime soon but at the very least, things seemed to be slowly moving forward.