Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby-Buying by Chinese Orphanages

Sky News (UK) is reporting on their own under-cover investigation that Chinese orphanages are still buying babies, despite recent news about past adoption scandals:
Though some orphanages said they no longer pay money for children, one worker at an orphanage in Hunan Province said they would pay £300 for a baby. The child required no identification.

"We'll arrange to meet somewhere at 4am or 5am, you abandon the baby there, and then I'll pick her up. That's how it works," she said, during a recorded telephone call.

When asked where the child would end up, she said that most adoptive couples were foreign. Chinese families, she said, were "not rich enough".
And the beat goes on. . . .


Karen said...

Im confused. Is this article saying that foreigners pay the orphanage directly and leave out the whole adoption waiting? Or is it saying that they are trying to have enough babies in the orphanage for the waiting parents?
Either way, I find both scenarios a bit odd, if it is a current article. The desire to adopt from China is still high, but the demand has gone way down with the wait times being brutally long. I simply do not understand why/how baby buying by orphanages, for the purpose of foreign adoption would be considered a lucrative business these days.

Jess said...

Duan Yuelin, who was interviewed, was the Hunan trafficker that got caught--and this is going on in Hunan. (Barbara Demick covered this in the LA Times.) Unbelievable.

"Foreign couples who adopt in China must pay a "voluntary donation" of around £2,000 to the authorities. Most of the money goes directly to the state-run orphanage that has cared for the child."

In response to the previous poster, the article wasn't addressing wait time at all. It's kind of irrelevant. The donation was described correctly, though, as a fee paid straight to the orphanage.

For those who choose to kidnap, entice away, traffic, or baby-buy, this business can be lucrative. Traffickers get around $300 per baby and orphanages get their fee. While not everyone chooses to participate and some orphanages will not touch a stolen child, for those who risk it, it seems to work.

Anonymous said...

And what of the families/parents involved in selling these children? Do they receive financial compensation? There must be some incentive to preplan your abandonement with said broker/worker?

Sad and ethically shocking.

As to the poster who linked the wait with baby brokering, I too see a correlation. I wonder about said "donation"; if its those fees desperately needed to care for the volume of children in an orphanage, why then add to the number of children in need?

Seems to me this is more likened to an, albiet disgusting, "finders fee" and perhaps an ill advised way to keep babies from being left in spots they may be more vulnerable?

Finally, most Chinese couples eschew adoption not due to expense but due to cultural taboos, government imposed child policies and of course the demand for healthy boys, in short suplly in most orphanages.

Nice sound bite for an article but not the whole story.

Research-China.Org said...

First, as one comment pointed out, the current five year wait time is evidence that ANY child obtained by an orphanage can be placed for adoption. While overall demand may be down, the demand still outpaces the supply, thus making the continued baby-buying a problem.

Second, while many Chinese families "eschew" adoption for cultural reasons, domestic demand at the orphanages is extremely robust, with most orphanages reporting waiting lists many years long. For the orphanages, it simply is about which avenue maximizes their income stream.

Third, finder's fees have universally been implimented in response to falling abandonment rates, thus refuting the idea that they represent some sort of charity exercise. In every orphanage where we have found these programs, the increasing payments have been to bolster supply. They are not widely seen inside China as being some sort of way to keep kids form being abandoned elsewhere, as no one really gives up a healthy child in China for nothing.

Anonymous said...

In the realm of foreign adoption and China, adoption of healthy infants are at an all-time low. Like a raindrop in the ocean.

What I do believe is that some directors want to keep their SWI's full in order to keep the value in their job.

Research-China.Org said...

"What I do believe is that some directors want to keep their SWI's full in order to keep the value in their job."

There is no evidence to support this idea. If it were so, one would see older healthy children in the orphanages, which one doesn't. While it is possible that a few children (mostly SN) are kept in order to provide a reason for a director's continued employment, there is no evidence that this is widespread or that any orphanage is "full" for this reason. It is just another idea bantered about to avoid the reality that IS supported by evidence -- fewer relinquishments.

And there are still many healthy children coming into the orphanages. Nearly all of the children from Guangxi, Hunan, and Jiangxi Provinces are healthy infants, and they with the other Provinces amount to over 5,000 children a year. So, while the ratios have changed since the Hunan scandal, there are still a lot of healthy children being pulled into the orphanages through incentive programs, etc., and the CCAA is trying to increase that number.

Anonymous said...

During the 90s I worked for a well known international christian adoption agency. I was told that Chinese families would go to a particular train station where they knew adoption workers would be waiting.

I don't know whether or not money changed hands there. I don't know if the mothers knew their children were being taken there, or if they participated.

It was well known that, at this station, newborns would be "found" by adoption workers.

During my time working for this agency, there was a regular list (pages and pages long) of waiting children with special needs. Often a cleft palate or clubbed foot from mercury poisoning. Mostly older kids.

These children were never adopted during my time working there. The homestudies all (with perhaps two exceptions) requested "healthy newborn between the ages of 0 to 6 weeks."

I always wondered where these newborns were coming from, which is why I finally asked.

A side note: in the majority of instances the parenting plan included only 6 weeks of at home care by one of the adoptive parents, after which the plan was typically full-time daycare.

An abandon child moved to a different country receiving only 6 weeks to attach with a primary caretaker?

I left the agency unable to fathom all of this.

However, I never knew if money changed hands at the station.

Lori @ Five of My Own said...

I've been asking this question and have yet to find an answer. Does anyone actually know the accounting process/money trail for the "orphanage donation"? There is a accepted assumption that the fee is returned directly to the orphanage and is then unregulated/unaccounted enough so that Directors can profit? What is the Chinese policy and procedure, the Chinese rule of law regarding the donations?

Anonymous said...

There ARE healthy older children at some SWI's. There are SN, of course, too. It depends on the SWI-- you can't make sweeping generalizations like that.

Secondly, although no doubt there are still healthy infants coming into the system, very few are being adopted overseas. Like I said, it amounts to a drop in the ocean if you're looking at the big picture.

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