There were two side bars to the article that I found particularly interesting. One, titled the Birthparent Riddle (p. 37), talks about birth parent searching in China with quotes from Brian Stuy, Kay Johnson, and Dr. Changfu Chang, a documentary filmmaker who has made several films about birth parents and adoption in China. Interesting quote from him in this paragraph:
The Chinese government hasn't taken an official position on search, but Chang is sure that 'the CCAA and Ministry of Civil Affairs are keeping a close eye on the ongoing searches by U.S. and European families." At this point, they seem to be taking a 'wait and see' approach, though attitudes differ greatly from province to province.The second sidebar, Talking About Corruption (p. 38), has helpful advice from Amanda Baden, Ph.D., who specializes in transracial and international adoption. First thing that caught my attention -- unless you have proof that your child was kidnapped or confiscated by birth planning authorities, etc., "don't imagine a worst-case scenario," but also don't whitewash or lie about it. Second important point: "This isn't a topic to get into with a 3-year-old. Baden recommends tackling it . . . at 6 or 7."
For those of us who are looking for the perfect way to explain this difficult issue, no luck:
'There's no great explanation -- it can't be spun in a way that makes it happy,' says Baden . . . 'The challenge is to be honest, and frame it so that a child can understand the situation, reflect on it, but not internalize a lot of negative feelings about China as a country.'Also, take a look at this Adoptive FamiliesCirle blog, where an adoptive mom describes a conversation about birth parents with her 6-year-old adopted daughter. Struck me as familiar -- Maya is 6, and this weekend she told me all about a school project of making a flower, and putting on each petal who they pray for (Catholic school, remember?!). She proudly listed each person in the family -- "you and Zoe and Mimi and Grandpa and my birth mother. . . ." Looks like Maya is entering a new phase; she's moved beyond avoidant mode in talking about her birth mother!