Saturday, September 10, 2011

China: 'Mom' of 100 Triggers Controversy

Interesting but bizarre little story at China Economic Net:
Yuan Lihai, a 46-year-old woman who has adopted more than 100 abandoned babies over the past 25 years, has aroused the public's curiosity about what kind of person she is, the Henan Business Daily reported Thursday.

Yuan, who started to adopt babies in 1986, is called 'mom' by her adopted children.

Of all the children she has adopted over the years, 39 young children are still living with her in Lankao county, Central China's Henan province, as those who have grown up have left her to work or are married with their own families.

Most of the babies were found suffer from diseases when they were adopted, said Yuan who added that some of them were too weak to survive.

At first, it was Yuan's love of children that prompted her to adopt abandoned babies she saw at gates of hospitals. Since then she has became well known for adopting babies across the county, and has had some babies abandoned directly outside her house. Even the police officers and hospital personnel sent abandoned babies to her.

Thanks to the stress of caring for the adopted babies Yuan and her husband separated, but fortunately other family members agreed to help her take care of the adopted children.

As the number of adopted babies grew, Yuan found that her house was not big enough to raise so many children. To solve this problem, she sent some children to her relatives' homes, including her biological son, and found other places for the children to live.

Nowadays Yuan employs four people to help take care of the children.

While receiving a lot of praise for her kindness, there are also some doubts as to her intentions, because there is a considerable expense associated with Yuan, who is not wealthy, raising so many children.

Some doubters say Yuan sells the healthy children on for profit or cheats in insurance claims for minimum living costs.

Yuan denies the claims, and says she earns enough money in other ways to raise the children. Yuan receives some aid from people she has helped and earns money from other business ventures including a store operated by her sister and a house for renting.

Yuan says she receives a minimal 4,000 yuan of guaranteed relief allowance each month, but says that it is far from enough to cover her costs and expenses.

Yuan admits that she did send some children to other willing adopters, but says it was without charge.

In an attempt to ensure the adopted children have a better life, local authorities have advised Yuan to give up custody of the remaining children, so that they can be sent to official homeless shelters.

However, Yuan says she does not want to give up the children due to emotional ties that exist between her and the children.

Though confronted with difficulties and doubts, Yuan is still willing to accept more abandoned babies. She says that when she passes away, she will let her natural son continue to raise the children or send them to an official homeless shelter.
Things that make you go hmmm. . . . Good samaritan? Child hoarder? Child trafficker? Hmm. . . .


LilySea said...

I just don't think there's enough info there to say.

Anonymous said...

How would those same questions be answered if the woman was American and had taken the children from foster care and raised them?

Anonymous said...

Anon--I think the same questions would be asked of an American. The same issues DO exist in US foster care--there are people out there who take multiple children for the aid they receive. It is perfectly acceptable and ethical to ask her intentions. Basically she is running an orphanage without state intervention, should she not be regulated either?


Anonymous said...

Child hoarder.

Anonymous said...

Just read a book about an Ethiopian woman who did the same thing, taking in about 70-80 kids, some HIV + at a time in Ethiopia when most people wouldn't even come close to these kids, let alone provide a home for them. It was only after she got successful (financial donations), after many years without any donations, that some people questioned her motivations. She was even arrested at one point, due to unsubstantiated allegations of sexual abuse by one of her employees, that she did not report and child trafficking. Was it rumor and jealousy by neighbors, that led to the allegations, or was there an iota of truth, that got exaggerated? It was a great read and had me in tears at the end. "There Is No You Without Me" by Melissa Fay Greene.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to think because there isn't enough information. That said, the quanity concerns me.

I used to work in foster care in the U.S. and fostering as income (sometimes sole income) happens often. In fact, one case a foster mother was medicating a child on purpose so the child would qualify for more income.

However, think about it-- who do you know that fosters other people's children? Very few middle/upper middle class families (at least in the large urban area I live.)

kantmakm said...

More info and (very sad) photos here: