Desmond Doyle is devastated when his wife abandons their family on the day after Christmas. His unemployment and the fact that there is no woman in the house to care for the children, Evelyn, Dermot and Maurice, make it clear to the authorities that his is an untenable situation. The Catholic Church and the Irish courts decide to put the Doyle children into Church-run orphanages.
At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.