So, here we were, eight years later, discussing some aspect of our research, and our youngest asked "Was I brought into the orphanage?" Before my wife or I even had a chance to answer, our oldest, Meikina, turned to her youngest sister and, with contempt on her lips, flatly stated. "Meilan, we were left on the side of the road by our birth mothers."I've posted before about my some of my doubts about the stories I was told about my kids' "finding." How about you? Do you have doubts? Do you now have facts that contradict what you once believed? How are you handling that in talking to your kids about their stories?
The contempt was not for her sister, but for the thought. Meikina viewed the idea that her birth mother had abandoned her on the side of the road with pure contempt. Meilan, confused by Meikina's answer, turned to me and asked, "Is that true?"
I used to think so.
* * *
The Hunan scandal served as the "paradigm shifter" that allowed future research and media investigations to reveal that issues of baby-buying, Family Planning confiscations, and other extra-legal methods of obtaining children were frequently and pervasively used by orphanages to procure children for adoption. First-hand accounts of birth families, foster families, Civil Affairs officials, and finders reveal that nearly every orphanage in Chongqing, Jiangxi, Hunan, and the other large supplying Provinces employs some manner of "incentive program" to recruit children into their facilities. Some pay money, others work with Family Planning, others make false assurances to birth families of education and other opportunities in order to have those birth families relinquish their children.
Thus, for the vast majority of children adopted from China, the official story of how they came to be in the orphanage is a falsehood, created by orphanage directors in order to be able to submit a child for international adoption. The description of their being found at the gate of some facility by some unnamed or named individual is almost always a lie. In the lion's share of cases, the children submitted for international adoption were "relinquished" -- given by their birth families to someone, who in turn brought the children to the orphanage. Only a small percentage of children were truly simply found abandoned.
Celebrating Mothers' Day: Reflections
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