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.