Brian Stuy, president of FCC-Utah, a non-profit organization for families who have adopted Chinese children, and his Chinese wife Longlan Stuy argue that the system has been poisoned by deceit. The couple founded Research China, which specializes in tracking down the biological parents of Chinese girls adopted by Americans.Reactions?
Stuy has reported that directors at many Chinese orphanages view children as "commodities for international adoption." He notes that a single child adopted abroad can net up to US$ 5,000 for an orphanage.
In trying to locate the biological parents of his youngest adopted Chinese daughter, Stuy found that the orphanage in China had not only fabricated all sorts of information regarding the girl's abandonment but also lied to her parents that she would return to China and take care of them in their old age.
"The orphanage made up all kinds of lies for us, giving her a different birth date, finding date, etc. ," he said. "When we found this out, we were extremely angry with the orphanage director."
The Chinese government does not allow adoption agencies from outside the country to investigate an orphanage's claims concerning a child in its care, nor anything about his or her background, according to Josh Zhong, co-founder and president of CCAI. Moreover, he said, CCAA processes all international adoptions of Chinese children.
Zhong advocates reforming the orphanage system. He also thinks that China's economic, social and government conditions have now improved to the point that Chinese families and agencies can care for orphans and disabled children; they need not be placed abroad.
Since 2006, China has officially consented to giving domestic adoption "priority" as a member of an international agreement called The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
Zhong's perspective is shared by several western experts as well, including Nancy Riley, a professor of sociology and China specialist at Bowdoin College in Maine.
Over the years, Riley said she has "come to understand that while all the babies who are "adoptable" from China are not trafficked, some of them are."
"It seems to me that the biggest question on these (and other) transnational adoptions is not at the receiving end," she said. "But if children are trafficked, are bought, sold, stolen or otherwise taken from parents involuntarily (or under coercion), it has to be stopped at the sending end."
Domestic adoptions of Chinese children could protect families and prevent heartache, Riley said. "Allowing Chinese families to adopt these children would significantly reduce the number of children available to foreigners. That would allow the children to stay in China."
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