Attitudinal changes concerning girls are nicely summed up in this paragraph:
Data for the current paper were collected in three separate studies between 1992 and 2004. In 1992–93, I examined adoption behavior among 21 adoptive families in a north China village within the context of market reforms and the one-child policy.
In 2001, I organized a survey on adoption in rural China in Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan and Fujian. Information was collected from 425 adoptive families, with the major results presented elsewhere.30 I also interviewed an additional 20 adoptive families, as well as people who had knowledge of adoption among their kin, neighbors and friends. Informal interviews on adoption continued during my fieldwork in rural North China in 2002, 2003 and 2004. In total, I have
information about adoption from 668 adoptive families located in many parts of rural China.
Society in general is changing, and new patterns of family relationships are emerging. Married daughters now easily return to their natal families to offer help, while many adult sons leave the villages to earn money in urban areas. Further, the traditional family structure is changing to one where the elderly have little authority within the family, and where the once-central relationship between father and son is giving way to increasingly intimate conjugal relations between husband and wife. The old saying, “having sons for old age security,” is being replaced by a new saying, “yang nü fang lao, yang er song zhong,” which literally means that daughters are brought up to provide old-age security while sons are brought up to send parents off at the end of life (that is, to pay for burial costs and perform various burial rituals). A man from Anhui used this saying to explain why he adopted a girl from his wife’s natal village in 1988. A man from Hebei remarked, “Yang er hao ting; yang nü hao ming”, meaning that it sounds good when one has a son, but life is actually better when one has a daughter. This is supported by cases in which parents give up one of their sons for adoption in order to adopt a girl. A couple from Shanghang County, Fujian Province, for example, adopted out their third son before adopting a 20-month-old girl in September 1997.Published in the China Journal at Australia National University in 2006, it's a must-read for adoptive parents of Chinese kids. It's very easy to read -- more so than many research papers! Thanks to kantmakm at adopttalkcanada forum for the link.