Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adoptive Parents in China Still Live in the Age of Secrets

From Channel News Asia:
More Chinese are defying tradition by adopting abandoned babies, especially handicapped children. These adoptive parents however, face many obstacles.

14-month-old Cui Keren was born with a cleft palate and abandoned by his parents shortly after birth.

First sent to a children's home in Shanxi province, Keren was later taken to Beijing for medical treatment.

In the capital, Keren was cared for by 48-year-old volunteer Cui Yaji at a temporary home for abandoned children.

The bond between the two became so strong that Ms Cui decided to adopt the infant.

"Initially I was very hesitant as it means adding another member to the family," said Ms Cui in Mandarin. "Raising a child is not a small matter but something with long-term implications."

She had the strong support of her husband and her 17-year-old daughter, Kexin.

Keren is an indispensable part of the family now. He has also undergone an operation for his cleft palate.

The only worry faced by the otherwise happy family is that Keren is unable to obtain his hukou, or household registration, in Beijing.

That is because Keren was abandoned and found in Shanxi province.

Under current regulations, Beijing only allows abandoned children to be registered in the Chinese capital if they are found and abandoned in Beijing.

"This is really troublesome for the child in future, whether in registering for school, finding a job, or going abroad," lamented Ms Cui.

"I won't be able to produce his proper registration. I'd only be able to produce the adoption papers. This isn't good for the child's healthy development."

Like most adoptive families, Keren's does not want him to know that he is an adopted child.

They prefer to break the news to him when he is older. But not being able to register him in Beijing means that it is difficult to keep his adoption a secret.

"Being abandoned by his natural parents meant that he had already been wounded once. I don't want to see him wounded a second time," said Ms Cui.
Sigh.  Like it isn't going to wound him when he finds out his loving adoptive parents have lied to him for every minute of his life. . . .

Maya's foster parents have fostered several children after her, one of whom was domestically adopted in China.  They told me that it was a family from Guangdong Province (not from Guangxi Province where Maya is from), and that they came to a different province to adopt so as to make it easier to hide the fact the child was adopted.


Truly Blessed said...

Doesn't surprise me. In many ways, China is mirroring the US of about 40-50 years ago. Additionally, in China, it's all about "saving face" and to admit that you couldn't father/bear a child might be shameful to some people (or rather the parents of the infertile couple).

Anonymous said...

Not telling children that they are adopted is hardly something that only happened in the US 40-50 years ago. It still happens all the time.

That being said, and as much as I think most of us agree that it is troublesome, that hardly seems the most important part of this story.

The rules and restrictions on the issuing of hukou is a major issue for these children (and many, many other people throughout the country) regardless of whether or not their parents choose to tell them they were adopted.