Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another Article on the Child Confiscations in China

The New York Times reports more on the child confiscations we've already heard about, though this episode is new to me:
Xiong Chao escaped that fate. Villagers say he was the last baby that officials tried to snatch, and one of the few returned home.

Now, six years later, his 63-year-old grandmother, Dai Yulin, patiently scrawls blue and white chalk numerals on her concrete wall hoping — in vain — that Chao will learn them.

“He has been to primary school for a whole year,” she said, “and he still cannot recognize one and two.”

Nearby is the tiny, dark room where, she said, she tried and failed in September 2006 to hide Chao from family planning officials. He was 8 months old, her son’s second child. Officials demanded nearly $1,000, then took him away when she could not pay.

His mother, Du Chunhua, rushed to the family planning office to protest.

There, as she struggled with two officials on the second-floor balcony, she said, the baby slipped from her grasp and fell more than 10 feet, to the pavement below.

Later, she said, as the baby lay in a coma in the hospital, his forehead permanently misshapen, officials offered a deal: they would forget about the fine as long as the family covered the medical bills for Chao.

Also, they said, the Xiongs could keep him.
Makes me feel more than a little sick.  And then there's this charming quote from an adoption agency that placed children from the local orphanage:
The scandal also has renewed questions about whether Americans and other foreigners have adopted Chinese children who were falsely depicted as abandoned or orphaned. At least one American adoption agency organized adoptions from the government-run Shaoyang orphanage.

Lillian Zhang, the director of China Adoption With Love, based in Boston, said by telephone last month that the agency had found adoptive parents in 2006 for six Shaoyang children — all girls, all renamed Shao, after the city. The Chinese authorities certified in each case that the child was eligible for adoption, she said, and her agency cannot now independently investigate their backgrounds without a specific request backed by evidence.

“I’m an adoption agency, not a policeman,” Ms. Zhang said.


Debberoo said...

We are a CAWLI family and I can not speak highly enough of the agency and its director Lillian Zhang.

Following the publication of this report we (as a CAWLI family) received a group email from Lillian in which, amongst other things, she explained that a 45 minute phone interview was distilled down to that one quote.

I long ago learned that far too many reporters decide what the "angle" will be for their piece and then disregard anything that does not bolster the slant they want to pitch.

That single quote left to stand alone can so easily be interpreted as Lillian Zhang having no regard for the ethics of adoption, trust me nothing could be further from the truth.

Donna said...

Another CAWLI family here, I agree completely with what Debberoo had to say regarding Lillian Zhang.

malinda said...

So is it not true that Ms. Zhang has not done any independent investigation to discover if her agency has placed children whose birth parents are looking for them because they did not, in fact, abandon them?

That seems more damning to me than the rather insensitive-sounding quote about not being a policeman. . .

American Mamacita said...

I read that article yesterday, too. And I wonder if maybe we as the adoptive parents aren't EXACTLY who is supposed to wrestle with this kind of report (maybe more so even than the agency reps??).

Yes, we want our agencies to do due diligence, but they're precisely whom those in-country want to deceive. They're the gateway. Meanwhile, we APs have our choice of with whom to adopt - and from which country.

And even with stories like this, is this representative of a high enough percentage of the adoption statistic that we would withdraw altogether?

I'm not sure (even as I investigate similar stories and search for the truth in our own kids' adoption).

Donna said...

Hi Malinda,
I think it may be worth a moment of your time to read a letter that is posted on the CAWLI website. Lillian Zhang sent this out to all CAWLI families back when the Hunan scandal broke and again just last Friday. I would link it here but it is embedded as a Word document and I'm not sure if that will work. Go to and you will see it under:

Special Message
IMPORTANT NEWS: China Centre of Adoption Affairs changed its name into China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (hereinafter referred to as CCCWA) on 15 Feb., 2011

Many families have come to us asking for our thoughts on tough issues surrounding adoptions today and in light of recent articles on Corruption in Adoption - please read some of our thoughts here .

I believe that letter will give you additional information regarding Lillian's perspective.

Debberoo said...

"So is it not true that Ms. Zhang has not done any independent investigation to discover if her agency has placed children whose birth parents are looking for them because they did not, in fact, abandon them?"

I did not say or imply that anything in the article was untrue.

My point was that reporters frequently use only the "truths" that support the slant they want to promote and leave out the "truths" that don't mesh so well with that slant. By including only this one short quote (taken from a 45 minute conversation) it is very easy for the reader to be given the impression that this Agency and Director do not concern themselves with the ethics of the China adoption program. Knowing them personally I know that this is absolutely not the case.

"That seems more damning to me than the rather insensitive-sounding quote about not being a policeman. . . "

I do not feel that there is anything "damning" in itself about an agency not undertaking an independent investigation in a situation like this.

Would it even be appropriate for an adoption agency to attempt to carry out such a difficult and delicate investigation? What would make them qualified for that kind of detective work and would it not be an intrusion of the privacy of the birth family, the child and the adoptive family for them to do so without a specific request from at least one of the parties involved?

I should make it very clear that I do not speak for the Director or the Agency rather I speak to my great respect for them. We both know that there is much that is wrong in the world of International Adoption but this remarkable woman and her agency are an inspiring example of what is right in it.

Research-China.Org said...

I find myself in agreement with Donna, Debberoo and the others who have come to defend Ms. Zhang. In fact, the entire China program FORCES adoption agencies to comply, not ask questions, etc. A number of years ago, for example, the CCAA established their legendary "point" system for agencies. Work well with them, you earned positive points. Ask the wrong questions, have too many issues, etc. loose points and risk being terminated from their program. Even then, one adoption agency director, Ina Hut, was so troubled by the problems that she personally went to China, only to be told by China and her own government that she was PROHIBITED from conducting any independent investigation. After her China "tour", she returned home and resigned.

An adoption agency director, no matter how much they suspect problems, can't push the issue without risk of reprisal from the CCAA. Few are willing to discreetly perform their own investigations. And, as the system is currently set up, they really are unable to.

This story is much more about the continued allowance by the real gate-keeper -- the CCAA -- of these things. Agencies, adoptive families are unable to police the system. The governments are, and don't.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Research China and others!

I wondered when someone would point out to Linda and others the one sided perspective of ONLY laying blame on the adoptive agencies, directors and AP's. Because China then is above reproach? Of course.

I have seen Linda herself write so passionately about white privelege and arrogance and yet she believes one woman should take on an entire system, correct in-country travesties and possibly remold or remake a foreign governments's in our (American then? ) image?

Sure and in their spare time maybe they can end world hunger and violence too!

Please can't we all be reasonable!

Anon. C.C.

Mei Ling said...

"she believes one woman should take on an entire system, correct in-country travesties and possibly remold or remake a foreign governments's in our (American then? ) image?"

Remember that starfish story?

One person cannot change the tide or save all the starfish. But many efforts, combined together, can make a difference.

P.S. Everyone sees world hunger as being bad. No one sees adoption (resulting from economic and political inequality) as bad.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this? I'd be interested to read what you think of it.

Anonymous said...

Well Mei-Ling, according to Research.Org(China) a few (or more) directors did in fact continue to press for change, answers, investigations....etc. Only to have their agencies denied adoptive ties or to be removed from their positions: sadly resulting in quite possibly those most ethical and capable of transparent ethos/actions/change, being removed from the equation.

By all means ~ change corrupt policies. I think our point was, when does the responsibility lie with the foreign government and peoples? Do they share any culpability? And when its all said and they truly want that change?

Anonymous said...

And when do the "parents" here in the US and other Western countries accept responsibility for creating the environment that makes this heinous practice lucrative?

Sorry, but adoption, for the most part, is really nothing much more than baby-buying at this point.

It's rich white women who've contracepted and aborted themselves into infertility, or slept around and picked up diseases that have rendered them infertile, or just waited too long because they were too busy indulging themselves to bother with babies when they were the appropriate age, buying babies from poor, vulnerable people.

I see adoptive parents and I see baby-buying and baby-stealing monsters.

Sorry. You're part of the problem, too. And there's a special place in hell waiting for you...