Unregistered adoptions are revealed by looking at census data. In 1990, demographers estimated from sample census survey data that there were as many as 400,000 adoptions per year and that this number—as well as the percentage ofThe whole thing is a must-read! Thank you, O Solo Mama, for bringing it to us. You've provided a fount of information for the China adoption community.
girls—was increasing. Couples often arrange “informal” adoptions secretly through friends or relatives. You know someone who is going to have an overquota child, and they know you want to adopt a girl, or someone helps find an adoptive family. After the adoption, the birth family may know where the child lives and may see her from afar though often the adoptive family doesn’t allow contact.
There are fewer registered adoptions because of the restrictive legal requirements (childless, over age 35 which has dropped to age 30). In 2000, when the legal age was dropped to 30, we know there were 50,000 registered adoptions. After that it fell. In 2001 there were 35,000 and it’s stayed around 35,000–45,000 every year. In 2008, there were 37,000 registered domestic adoptions. These are usually recorded as adoptions of foundlings but it could be your neighbour’s relative’s friend’s over-quota child who is hidden and then handed over to you—a childless couple over 30—to register as a foundling.
In the early 1990s, there were lots of real foundlings. Some orphanages would fill the hallways with cribs. There aren’t many foundlings now. There are some, but they’re few and far between, and so people who want to adopt find it harder to find them.
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