Saturday, December 17, 2005

An Open Letter to the CCAA

To the Honorable People at the CCAA:

We have been, shall I say, on adversarial terms for many years now. Iam sorry for that, because in many ways the mission of the CCAA and mine are very similar -- to find loving homes for China's daughters and sons, and to empower them with knowledge to lead happy lives.

I can't presume to speak for the entire adoption community, but I do feel that I have a very good connection with the concerns of many, since I am the father of several Chinese daughters myself. So it is in that spirit that I post this open letter to you, the CCAA, knowing that you do read my writings, and in the hope that we can create an honest and forthcoming dialogue.

The Chinese culture has a long and splendid history. I am proud of the great strides China has made in the last decade to bring an openness and transparency to its people. As I read Chinese papers and watch Chinese television, I am often amazed at the stories I see reported, many of which I know would have been kept hidden just a few years ago.

That is why recent events in Hunan regarding baby trafficking have grown so disturbing for myself and the thousands of other families whose children were adopted from China. It is my firm conviction that the events that transpired in Hunan are isolated, that there is not wide-spread corruption in the orphanages, and that the overwhelming majority (if not all) of our adopted daughters came to us as we were told at adoption: being found as an orphan.

So, I can only assume that China is working from a position of determination to make sure events that occurred in Hunan are not common place, and are resolved quickly. I can only assume that there is no desire to cover-up what has been discovered to be wide-spread kidnapping and selling of China's daughters. As adoptive families, we trust that this is the case.

Thus, we can view the just-announced closing of Hunan Province to further adoptions as a precautionary measure designed to show that the CCAA and the government are on top of things, and are acting to return the adoption program to complete integrity and legitimacy. Realistically, we also recognize that it was a defensive move to avoid the possible closure of China to international adoptions by the United States and other countries under the Hague agreement. By closing Hunan, China seems to be communicating that this was a localized event.

But the parallel announcement that the Chinese press is no longer able to report on this story casts all of these actions in a troubling light. The Free Press isa fundamental right in the cultures of most of your adopting families, and our natural response to censureship of the press is that there is something to hide. But a free and uncontrolled press is the friend and supporter of honest government. It is only a corrupt government (which we believe the Chinese government is not) that fears the disclosures made by a free press.

I, therefore, offer the following suggestions in an attitude of humility and a sincere desire to assist China in resolving this issue. I love China heart and soul, and wish nothing but prosperity and goodwill for China from my country and all peoples in the world.

1) Most families watch your CCAA website carefully. You might consider posting information regarding your investigations and findings, letting adoptive families know what is being discovered. We all understand that there are individuals in every country that make bad decisions, and do bad things. China has no need to fear that reporting the actions of a few people will cause us to think that all of China acts or believes in this way. By keeping adoptive families informed, you will quiet a lot of the fear and uncertainty -- uncertainty that is, in all honesty, increasing among the adoptive families. This story has caused many to reconsider adopting from China; it has created bad feelings among many that have already adopted. It is in your control to dispel the causes of this bad will.

2) Allow the press in China to cover this story. Covering it up and protecting those that illegally kidnapped children for adoption is immoral, and against the basic philosophical principles on which China is built. As I stated above, everyone understands that a few individuals will act contrary to the public good, and these people should be detected, arrested, and punished for their actions. I believe this is what the CCAA wants. It is certainly what the adoptive families want. We adopted from China to assist orphaned children to find good homes. For us it is anathema to consider that our daughters were stolen to provide us with children, all in the name of money. By allowing the Chinese press to investigate and expose those responsible for these actions, we will have increased confidence that the CCAA is on our side. By preventing the press from reporting on this story, you simply make us believe that the problem is bigger than at first reported, and increases our uncertainty.

I welcome a dialogue with you on this or any other topic. I sincerely believe that the CCAA and I can assist each other in bringing happiness to China's adopted children around th e world.


Frank Feather said...

Dear Brian: This is a brilliant letter, extremely supportive and well-articulated, while saying what needed to be said. I am so thankful that someone of your credibility in the adoption community has the fortitude to say what you said, and to have said it in the way you said it. Thank you! Frank Feather, Adoptive father to 2 Chinese daughters; Consultant to Chinese Govt on economic matters; Co-Moderator of Yahoo Groups: Global_Adoption_Triad; China Adoption Library; China Adoptive-Parent News.

Julie said...

I really doubt anyone at CCAA will see this or give it much thought. We have no right to tell the CCAA how to run their adoption program.

Lisa said...

Brian, your letter was eloquent. I have to believe that all humans have a soul and in this particular genre, Chinese Adoption, that the clear majority only wish goodwill and great futures for the children that are adopted and for those yet to be adopted. God bless you,

One Lucky Mom said...

As a journalist and mother of two beautiful girls from China, it saddens me to be reminded that every culture does not enjoy the freedom of information that we do as Americans.

I do believe CCAA reads many blogs, this one included. I also hope that the current slow downs which are causing so much anxiety among waiting families, are discontinued. And that the situation in Hunan is fully investigated and rectified as soon as possible.

Barbara said...


This is a wonderfully written letter. I hope that one day we have the full story of what happened in Hunan. One of my daughters is from Chenzhou, and when she's older, I want to be able to reassure her that she was not involved in this in any way.

Anonymous said...

Brian, I noticed that the CCAA had an email link on their website. Did you email this to them as well?

Anonymous said...

Have you considered that you are being disrespectful? Rather than allowing them to handle their issues internally and save face you are requesting they provide you with an update of their current affairs. If and when they want to let us know they will.

Anonymous said...

A reliable source on a Yahoo group posted today that NOT all Hunan Province is closed down to adoption. The source is a professional involved in the adoption community and living in China. They pesonnally checked with CCAA today about Hunan adoptions at the request of
someone in the group and was told that the only orphanage closed to
adoptions was the one where the Director was arrested. All others are still open to adoption and they in fact just facilitated an adoption there Friday. The closed orphanage is Hengyang County Orphanage.

Are you certain about all of Hunan being closed?

Lyn said...

I'd apprecaite it if you could post a link to the source of your information which is stating that Hunan is now closed to ALL adoptions.

Anonymous said...

I think you are being very disrespectful. Just because these are your feelings I don't think you have the right to represent the rest of the adoptive families. To say that people are changing their minds about adopting from China is foolish. I would like to know where you are getting your information. Maybe it's people like you that makes CCAA not want the reporters to report on the story. I feel CCAA is doing the right thing in getting the situation under control. What gives you the right to tell CCAA how to handle things. Have you ever thought comments like this could hurt other's trying to adopt from China. I have very high regards for the Chinese and their culture.

Anonymous said...

My 15 month old daughter is from Hengyang County SWI and we were told that she was one of 4 babies to be the first adopted internationally from this SWI that was in July 2005, and now all this info is out about her SWI. I can not find the truth and would be very interested in any info you have or could find. The business card I was given from the director named himself as Jiang Jian Hua.

It would be so helpful to us and mean so much especially to her some day.

Anonymous said...

Have know no brains? How dare you speak for the rest of the parents wanting to adopt from China. You are incredibly disrespectful and are in no place to make the statements you did. I suggest you apologize to the CCAA for your disrespect and that you will no longer harrass the CCAA.

Anonymous said...

Brian, as the adoptive mother of a Chinese daughter, I appreciate your point of view and the work you do. However, I think you should consider that China has allowed us the privilege of allowing their daughters to join our families. They are under no obligation to you or anyone else. While I too wish that information was more readily available and more forthcoming, we in the U.S. cannot possibly grasp the political and cultural implications of such events as what has happened at Hengyang. It is irresponsible of you to presume that you speak for anyone but yourself, and to spread information that it is impossible for those of us Stateside to verify.

Viv said...

Are you quite certain of all your sources (The APC and other lists are not reliable sources)? There are a lot of rumors going around about closures and we are not yet sure if this is an isolated case or not. You mention humility in your post, but the way you choose to approach your work and the way you choose to address the CCAA shows you are far from humble.

Your blog is your forum, and I respect that. Just don't speak for all adoptive parents.

Anonymous said...

This is an exceeedingly condescending and disrespectful letter. I just hope that it does not influence the CCAA to (quite understandably) get angry and resentful over the intrusion of 'well-intentioned' Westeners into their own internal issues.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the fact that you have a solid reputation with many parents but I think you owe many of us an apology. Your "announcement" of the closure of Hunan to all adoptions over the weekend left many of us worried sick for more than 48 hours during a weekend when none of us could receive information from our agencies or from China.
As an adoptive parent you must be aware of the impact your words would have. My husband compared it to yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theatre.
I hope that in the future, before you make such far-reaching announcements you will better consider your source and also state your source from the beginning so the rest of us can better determine whether it is fact or rumor.
I also found your open letter to be disrespectful.. everyone is entitled to their opinion but I agree with others who have said that China allows us the privilege of adopting their daughters.. they don't have to do so.

Anonymous said...

I think its high time that you get down from your soapbox! You are not the U.S. ambassador for China Adoptions! Credibility? Really!

...And who are you?

I think your time would be better spent replying in a timely manner to people who request 'finding ads,' AND, honoring your offers to do research projects!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why it is that you insist on being a self appointed diplomat for the affairs of China and adoptions. What makes us different? You've adopted one more child than I have so it makes you some kind of supreme adoption advisor? From DNA on down you have your opinions. Well, you stuck your foot in it this time. You should never have stated that Hunan was closing adoptions - even if they were! Did you think what an impact that had on waiting parents? Or worse yet, parents waiting to travel to Hunan? They were devastated and not able to contact their agencies. Nice going. Don't you think you should let news like that take the proper course to arrive to all of us? Who appointed you to disclose this rumor to everyone? I have a lot of respect for China. I am the one who is 'lucky' here! I owe China so much for the best thing that has ever happened to me!

Anonymous said...

Please do not speak for other adoptive parents. Your voice is yours alone. Although you may be articulate that does not mean you speak with authority. You do not have a reputation for using either ethical or professional methods in your research and I do not wish for you to speak for me. Signed:Indiana Mom of two wonderful Chinese children.

Anonymous said...

why don't you come down from your self-made soapbox long enough to return all the money you have made from China adoptive families? Why didn't you "provide" all this information to your clients?

It seems as if you just have a need to feel self-important. It seemed to me that China has a very strict legal system and if there is a problem then they will handle it.

Scott and Karen said...

Wow...seems like you're getting slammed here. Okay, so maybe I disagree with some of what you wrote but good grief, I'm not going to shred you to pieces over it. There's enough of that going on in the adoption community as it is. This is just my take but I am saddened that we (ie, our family) will never know the entire truth regarding the circumstances of our daughter's birth and subsequent abandonment. In some ways, I find solace in that and in others, my heart breaks for the lack of knowledge we have.

As far as the "money you've made from China adoptive families..." That's your job and your desire. Everyone makes money doing something, right? We used your services and I highly recommend you. (You even answered one of my emails while you were in China adopting your daughter! Talk about dedication to your job.)

Your hard work has provided our daughter with yet another piece of the puzzle that is her life and I personally thank you wholeheartedly for it.

And if you want to write a letter to the CCAA, go ahead. It's your opinion, your prose, your blog.

I find your posts insightful and thought-provoking. And I, for one, do not always have to agree with what you (or anyone, for that matter) writes or thinks to find merit in the content.

Thank you for listening and happy holidays to you and your family.


Frank Feather said...

Isn't it interesting when critics prefer to be "anonymous" and sink to gutter-snipe personal attacks. They could learn much from Mr.Stuy who, risking his personal interests, faces reality and addresses the problem head on, with both humility and concrete suggestions for reform. I guess there will always be those in denial and/or who prefer to stick their head in the sand because they don't have a clue how to cope with such a situation. Keep up the excellent work, Brian! Respectfully, Frank Feather.

Rosa said...

Dear Brian,

I am glad you wrote this letter. It's not disrespectful. I did adopt believing that our daughters were abandoned and needed forever parents. I can't believe there are lots of parents who simply want to believe what's convenient to them. These are our children we are talking about. Why be afraid to let the CCAA know that we want to know what's going on? It's our right. Thank you Brian.

Anonymous said...

This comment speaks so well in terms of how I feel that I am just repeating it:

Please do not speak for other adoptive parents. Your voice is yours alone. Although you may be articulate that does not mean you speak with authority. You do not have a reputation for using either ethical or professional methods in your research and I do not wish for you to speak for me.

Marie Carmenati said...

Brian: Since you've complained on your blog that most of the negative comments about this subject were anonymous, I'll gladly sign my name to this. I think you need to cease and desist, the sooner the better. The CCAA can do WHATEVER IT WANTS in regard to Americans adopting from China, and is not answerable to you or any other American. Do you think it's appropriate for you to be posting such negative matter because you are "done" adopting? I, too, am "done" (just came home with my third daughter), but I have many friends who are not. Let us hope that you do not antagonize the CCAA to the point where they tighten the rules even further. We already have the singles quota as a result of people breaking the rules. Let the CCAA do what it does, and please stop posting opinions that are NOT the general consensus of the adoption community.

Anonymous said...

I am about to adopt from China and am dismayed by the parents here who write on behalf of *future* adoptive parents to try to guilt-trip you into silence. I consider that once I adopt, China--and particularly the world of China adoption--becomes partly my world, too, and that I have an ethical obligation to speak up about concerns I have with that world as much as I do about unjust things here in the US. And I see you doing just that with great sensitivity.

Anonymous said...

I thank you for the letter that you wrote. Like Frank I notice that all comments that were against your letter went unsigned. If these people want to critize you that they should at least not hide. It says for him that your comments are being posted.
I feel that the Chineses people and the world has a right to know what is going on with these adoptions. Would the American people like for our goverment to be able to tell the press what they can and cannot print??? Why should China not have freedom of the press like we enjoy. We know that a vast number of Chinese care about these babies. The stories that we hear and read about women and families and what they do for these babies. Do you not think that they would not like to know what is happening with the babies?
As the one post said that with an adoption from Chinese we as a family are now part of their world and my children need to know what their other world is like.
My daughter talks about wanting to meet her Chinese Mom. I told her someday may she might be able to if things change in China and she can and will come forward.
My S/N son who is turning 10 and we adopted at 4 1/2 yrs still feels the hurt that his "Mother" did not want him and did not love him. I have to explain she did but could not afford the medical care that he would need. Lately he has been saying that he wished he had not been born this way and was born nomarl. But no matter what I say I can still see the hurt in his heart and eyes that will not go away. I hope someday he will be able to meet her so she can tell why??.
So for making money off of Adoptive Parents - it is their choice how to spend their money. No one is being forced to give you money.
As for reading one article will cause adoptive peoples not to adopt form China. Then they should not adopt at all. All countries have their "horror" stories inclueding the US. As I told people who asked "How you adopted a child without knowing of it's background?". I reply it is a leap of faith.
As for S/N children being passed off as "heathly" I can understand. They know what happens to an "unadopted" child and they want to save them from that life. I would do the some if it were me. I would do what was needed to give them a better life.
My son has small scares on him. I would have liked to have known but they would not tell. I am sure that they were afraid I would not want him if I found out. I only wanted to able to tell him the story behind them. Now I just have to guess.

Thank you again for your wonderful articles which I have just found.

Jeannie Braden
Lancaster, Ohio