Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hunan, One Year Later III: Reactions & Reflections

How was the Hunan story interpreted inside China? In a country that frequently reports child abductions and trafficking, was this episode treated with a collective yawn and ignored? Or did the fact that these children were adopted to foreign families make this story resonate with those inside China? In this third article from China's Fenghuang Weekly (March 2006), the reporter editorializes about how the Hunan scandal was perceived by himself, and the impact he feels it will have on China.

Since this essay concludes the articles detailing the events surrounding the Hunan scandal, I offer my reflections on what Hunan should tell adoptive families, and the warnings we should take from this event. It is my fervent hope that we never hear of another scandal involving the buying and selling of children to support our adoptions. It is my hope, but it is not my expectation.


________________________________________

Self-reflection within the Chinese System of Adoption
By Deng Fei (of Hengyang City, Hunan province)

Cases of buying and selling infants involving welfare centers reflect the predicament of those in charge of this kind of charitable work. At the moment the most pressing issues are to expand the industry’s openness to new ideas and willingness to test them, encourage nongovernmental investment, and thereby put the charitable industry on the right track.

"Babies will not be taken in anymore." That is what an official with the Hengdong County welfare center on February 22, 2006 after listening in on the examination of an infant buying and selling case in court. Another official right to his side interposing, exclaimed: "How is that possible?"

At present, China and fifteen other nations have established transnational links for cooperation on the subject of adoption involving a total of 200 welfare centers all involved in international adoption. Data provided by the China Center on Adoption demonstrates: since 1992 the number of toddlers that have been sent abroad for adoption has surpassed 50,000 with more than 90 percent of them being female and more than 90 percent of them going to America. Adoption by foreigners has already become a major method for the placement and fostering of Chinese babies.

An official of the Hunan Provincial People's Government agreed to discuss foreign adoptions with the Fenghuang Weekly. According to him, in 1992 the people's government asked that adopters pay fees for the initial care of the child, but payment was not clearly delineated. Payments therefore varied widely and at some welfare centers touched on the absurd. Later on, the government systematically introduced norms of payment. Now the clear and definite fee to be paid by foreign adopters as reimbursement for the center's initial care for the child is 3000 American dollars.

In 1997 the justice department and the civil administration cooperated in the releasing of a document called "Methods of implementation of the adoption of children by foreigners." This document stipulated that payment of initial care fees should be made to the "Children's Foster Society” (a governmental organ). This clarification led to the easing of the Civil Administration of Welfare Centers' budget pressures as most of the money was redistributed to the welfare centers.

China's local governments have long been responsible for the welfare centers in their area, bearing many of their associated costs, including expenses for the basic care of the children. Unfortunately though, many of these governments do not have the financial strength to pay for all that is required. An official of Hengyang city informed the Fenghuang Weekly that county finance departments will usually give money to the centers according to the number of children in them each year.

In 2004 welfare centers in Hengyang County received 300,000 yuan, money that was divided between the care of children, elderly people, the payment of staff, and all other necessary expenses. The exact distribution of this money, however, was not fully clear.

One manager of the Hengyang County Civil Administration explained that, before the beginning of adoptions involving foreigners, outside of the income the centers earned from the local finance bureau, centers would also rely on profits from the raising of pigs and fish. These programs were helped by the fact that, generally speaking, welfare centers are located in relatively remote locations and so are able to get a good amount of land. Since their budgets have often been so limited these welfare centers tend to have very limited access to the material benefits of the outside world.

Since the beginning of the implementation of measures allowing for foreign adoption, welfare centers have been able to earn nearly 3000 American dollars for each child given out in adoption. The money allows welfare centers to raise the foster care conditions of their children. Before these measures Hengyang County welfare centers would have to send any ill children to the Provincial People's Hospital for treatment, "that was something nobody dared to think about."

Some critics point out that welfare centers in Hengyang that went so far as to purchase infants were engaging in a sort of unusual method of problem alleviation. As they see it, in this way people were provoked to become more determined in the implementation of the government's "planned birth" policy.

As the price of infants on the market began to rise, cases of stolen infants began to appear. In October of 2004 the Public Security Bureau, in cooperation with others, was able to solve a large-scale inter-provincial child kidnapping case. One hundred and ten people were arrested in the course of the case and seventy male children from six different Provinces were liberated. The kidnapping of children is now rampant, but we are only able to glimpse the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, as some of these children enter the channels of foreign adoption through the welfare centers, the cost of the rectification of these cases becomes very significant.

The Civil Administration, Justice Department, and Public Security Bureau have issued many statements concerning problems involving foreign adoption and have promulgated strict regulations. Yet, despite the efforts of these departments, some welfare centers have become spellbound by the potential for profits. The Hunan Province's justice department has itself gone so far as to put the head of the Hengdong County Welfare Center in the defendant's seat, somewhat aggravating the bad elements within the current system. Also, the voice of those on the internet calling for a reevaluation of the current system has been growing gradually.

An official with the civil administration of Hunan Province stated that the incidents of buying and selling of infants surrounding Hengyang's welfare centers have indeed provoked many to rethink the current system of foreign adoption.

In comparison with the more and more thriving channels of foreign adoption, domestic adoption has been sagging all along. Those in the Civil Administration inevitably blame the rigorousness of current family planning related policies. A single man must be over the age of forty before he can adopt a child, and he must never have had children in the past. A couple that has been married for five years with both members over the age of thirty and without biological children of their own may also be permitted to adopt a child.

What's more, many families within China that have wanted to adopt a child have been turned down for already having one biological child. Judging from current regulations, welfare centers are generally unwilling to allow the further developments of domestic adoption unless adopters pay a 24000 yuan initial support fee for the child. Thus, there are great barriers to domestic adoption. For contrast, in developed countries the government will provide subsidies to the households of adopted children.

Some officials within the Hengyang civil administration system suggest that the nation should adjust its adoption policies in order to encourage more domestic adoption. With the smooth development of domestic adoption, welfare centers could collect enough money to provide much needed standard aid to the sick, the old, and the weak. It is said that now the Civil Administration is promoting a new kind of "place trust in families to bring up the children" method. In certain Provinces, this method has already become a principal method for raising orphans.

Some experts believe that cases of the buying and selling of infants can be seen as a reflection of the predicament of charitable industry in China. Among the most pressing issues of the moment are the need for the vigorous development of new and multivariate ways of thinking on the issue, and the need for nongovernmental investment to help get China's charitable industries onto the right track.

___________________________

Reflections on Hunan

by Brian H. Stuy

I believe the Hunan scandal story will be remembered as a turning point in the China International Adoption program, for it was in November 2005 that a prominent myth of China’s program was cast into doubt. (I use the term “myth” as defined by Dictionary.com as meaning “an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution”. The term does not insinuate a belief that is necessarily untrue, merely that it is assumed to be true, but unproven. The assumption may, of course, also be false, having never been true. )

I say “myth” because all of us were taught, and believe, myths regarding China and the adoption program. It involves such innocuous myths such as lady-bug sightings and red threads. But other myths are more profound and important to adopting families. For example, when I adopted Meikina in 1998, I was taught by my agency, the media, and fellow adopters that the children in China’s orphanages would never find homes, and those who survived would probably grow up to become prostitutes and drug abusers. Their futures looked bleak indeed, and we were compelled in those early days to view our adoption as an act of grace.

It seemed so very simple “back then”. The Chinese preferred boys, so female infants were being abandoned wholesale. Unless adopted by benevolent foreign families (few families in China, the story went, considered adoption so there was little hope of these girls being adopted domestically), these girls had no chance for higher education or other opportunities in life. In adopting a little girl, not only were we providing a home for a beautiful child, but our donations and support would help improve the circumstances of those left behind. Thus, China’s program was viewed as perfect: Perfect ethics, perfect process, and perfectly predictable.

I advised families to consider China above other programs because it was demonstrably legitimate, and had no apparent corruption. Unlike Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, and other countries, China’s record was spotless. There were no stories of families having to pay “unforeseen” processing fees once in-country. The child a family received was the one they were referred. It seemed to work flawlessly. (There were, of course, individual experiences that refuted some of these assumptions, but they were viewed as the exception).

That is why the Chinese adoption community was shocked when the allegations from Hunan became known. How could this story be true, many families asked, given what we know about China? In a country where so many children are being abandoned, why would there be a need for orphanage directors to buy infant girls?

But Hunan should be viewed as the canary in the coal mine, for in Hunan we have the clearest evidence yet that many of our cherished myths may no longer be (if they ever were) true.

At its foundation, Hunan is about greed – greed of orphanage directors, traffickers, and probably birth parents. We can argue the motives of this greed, but it is undeniable that a desire for money led Hengyang County director Jiang Jianhua to first require his employees to seek out unwanted babies, and later to purchase children outright from traffickers. It was greed that motivated Duan Meilin and her sister, and the other traffickers, to “adopt” children from various individuals and transport them hundreds of miles to Hunan, where they sold them to the orphanages. It was greed that created the environment where the price of these children rose from 200 yuan to over 3,500 yuan in the space of two years.

Defenders of the China program, including myself, point out that these children were unwanted, and therefore the trafficking was not that bad. It certainly is not serious enough to label China’s program as corrupt, as we commonly understand the term.

If pushed, I would admit that I see little problem with the idea that unwanted children were accepted from birth parents and delivered to the orphanage in lieu of payment. Trafficking per se is an innocuous term, covering everything from being reimbursed for travel expenses to the buying of children abducted and smuggled to their buyers. But the Hunan scandal begs several questions, questions that serve to muddy the waters.

We must ask ourselves, for example, if it is possible that there were birth parents who gave up their daughters because they were able to receive a substantial sum from the orphanage or from the traffickers. In other words, is it possible that the situation in Hunan actually increased the number of children that were deserted by their birth families in order that those families would be given what for them was a substantial sum of money? Did the actions of the orphanage directors create a “market” for these children that otherwise would not have been there?

And if these directors were, for whatever reasons, compelled to purchase these babies to fulfill the demands placed upon their orphanages, what other means might be employed by other directors to accomplish the same ends? Would they, for example, be willing to seek out unregistered children in poor villages and confiscate those children to adopt to Americans and other foreigners? Before we reject such a hypothesis, we might want to consider the story of a dozen families in Gaoping County, Hunan.

In March 2006, families in this rural village filed a petition asking for the return of eleven children taken from them by Family Planning officials over the past four years (http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=5696). One of these families, Yang Li Bing, stated that “his de facto wife gave birth to a girl in July 2004 and even though she was their first child, the county's family planning officers took the infant away on April 29 last year [2005] citing an 'unregistered marriage and an illegal child'."

In an area where the average annual income is about 3,000 yuan, Mr. Yang was told that he could have his daughter back if he paid 8,000 yuan. A few days later, that ransom was increased to 20,000 yuan. Unable to raise that amount of money, Mr Yang lamented that “We are poor people and my relatives were not able to collect so much money in several days.” When he was unable to come up with the cash, a Family Planning official notified Mr. Yang that his daughter had been brought to the Shaoyang orphanage, and that “even if you could offer 1 million yuan,” he could not get his daughter back. He was simply told to “give up hope.”

One must question why Family Planning officials would confiscate unregistered children to bring them to an orphanage that was already filled with abandoned babies? Were they simply acting out of a desire to strictly enforce the laws of the land, even if that resulted in an increased burden being placed on the orphanage? Or were there other motives? The Hunan scandal forces us to ask these questions.

And what happened to these confiscated children?

It is perhaps coincidence that the following month the Shaoyang orphanage submitted dossiers for two children to the CCAA for international adoption that listed birth and finding dates that exactly match the birth and confiscation dates of two of the eleven children confiscated in Gaoping County. If we knew the birth and confiscation dates of the other nine, would we find internationally adopted children with those dates also?

In June 2006 I detailed a survey of the orphanages that participate in the international adoption program. When asked if they had children available for domestic adoption to a local family, 93% of the over 250 directors stated that they had no healthy babies available for domestic adoption. Many admitted that most of their healthy children were adopted internationally, and that a domestic family should look elsewhere to adopt a healthy infant.

It is a sad reality that families inside China have no legal options to adopt if denied access to the children in the area orphanages. Many families, like the one who told her story in an August posting, resort to extra-legal adoptions from close friends or other families that seek to get rid of an unwanted child. But these families face suspicion and high fees when they seek to register these children, and as we saw in Gaoping County risk discovery by Family Planning officials.

Some of us fail to consider the plight of these families in China – mostly childless, they desperately wish to build a family through adoption, only to be denied that opportunity because their city or county orphanage adopts the children internationally. Placed in such a position, some families buy their child from traffickers, while the most desperate kidnap a child off of the street.

Thus, Hunan is the canary in the mine in that it, along with many other lesser-known articles, describes the changing dynamics of children in China. Hunan highlights the growing imbalance between the number of unwanted children, and the number of families seeking to adopt those children. It illuminates to what extent directors will seek to profit from that imbalance by illegally seeking and purchasing additional infants from other areas of China. While their motives may be altruistic (giving everyone the benefit of the doubt), the results are not. Domestic families are denied children, other families are coerced to give up their child for an inconceivable amount of money, and still others have their children confiscated under the umbrella of the law. And those are just the stories we know about.

I have defended China’s program in the past, and I continue to believe it is among the best in the world. I have spoken with hundreds of finders who confirmed the truthfulness of the stories given to adoptive families. I have sat at dinner with many directors who have displayed and conveyed a deep desire to do the best they could for their children. But these experiences are not universal, and exceptions have occurred. China must work to remove the conflicts that exist in their adoption system, and remove the financial pressures that devolve on its orphanage directors.

Maybe I expect a perfect system, one in which no one’s rights are infringed upon, and where the children are always prioritized. A system where the governments, agencies and adoptive families think first what is best for the child, and second what is best for them. A system where an orphanage director would never willingly encourage or force a birth family to relinquish their child, and adoptive families would never participate if they suspected such things were happening.

If I expect too much, perhaps it is because that is the myth I was taught when I began adopting. Perhaps that is the myth many are still taught today.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brian, Thank you for sharing these articles with us. But what do you suggest is now the proper course of action? Should we discourage others from pursuing international adoption? Should we encourage them to consider other countries? Should we be paralyzed by our confusion and disillisionment? Would you have adopted your children knowing what you know today?

Research-China.Org said...

That is the most excellent of questions.

The truth is, with my limited brain I am unable to clearly see where these children would grow up happiest. I look at my own daughters. My oldest was adopted as the healthiest and most attractive of Chinese babies, and would definitely be desirable by any family. My middle child was older, and possessed physical attributes that made her more difficult to adopt domestically. And my youngest almost certainly would never have been adopted domestically.

The world body, however, has stated that all children should first be given the opportunity to be adopted inside their own country. China has ratified that agreement, and therefore has promised to subscribe to its principles.

As I travel in China I see the strong sense of community, the rich culture and history, and the strong sense of family. If one is of adequate financial means, it can be a very good place to live.

If I had to do it again, I would not seek to adopt a healthy infant. There are so many children that truly need homes, and that unless adopted internationally will never find homes. Those with six fingers, cleft lips, minor correctable issues for example. If I did it again, I would seek one of those children, because they don't possess the ethical concerns that healthy infants do.

As far as China itself is concerned, I think that overall it is still the best program on the planet. But the conflict between domestic and international adoption poses significant ethical (not legal) iussues for me.

Brian

Anonymous said...

It is good to shine light and ask questions. I think it's great that you are advocating on behalf of Chinese families. However, I think you may have lost some perspective on international adoption.

While I've never been to China, based on the picture you've presented, China is a far cry from baby brokerage. Go to Guatemala, a favorite for international adoptions because of its short wait and the age of most babies available for adoption (as young as 3-6 months). There is no central governmental agency as such that facilitates or oversees adoptions; it is all private attorneys. They pay fees to "babyfinders" who locate babies and pregnant mothers. Mothers are paid little of the enormous fees collected by the attorneys. NONE of the money collected goes to help orphans left behind.

Secondly, you state that "with adequate income, China can be a good place to live." My question: how many have an "adequate income"? And of those, how many want to adopt? Given China's demographics (what is known of them, anyway), the number of orphans, special needs or not, still is greater than the number of Chinese couples who can adopt and want to adopt. In short, while you've given me food for thought, the information and data you present have not convinced me - yet- that there are legions of Chinese parents out there who wish to adopt and can't, because all the babies have been taken by foreigners.

Research-China.Org said...

Of course what we are discussing about China is made in relation to China, not other countries. As I stated, I believe that China's program is better than many other programs.

The problem with China is that we have all been taught (and continue to be told) that the China program is founded on the premise that these children will not be adopted in-country. I believe the evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, shows this to be a false premise. Anytime you have orphanage directors telling you that there is a 3 year wait for families inside China to adopt, you have to ask why.

Certainly there are many other countries that have bigger ethical issues than China. It is for that reason that many people have come to the conclusion that international adoption should be abolished altogether.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I always tell friends that the IA process in China is not all warm and fuzzy and in some ways we felt a little dirty in the process, particularly once we got in country.

However, our daughter’s birth family was not the only ones who abandoned her. Her community and country abandoned her as well. I cannot change this fact. I will also not allow any revisionist view of our desire in adopting a child in need of a loving home for being anything but what is was.

If I.A. promotes the dark side of abandonment, then the CCAC under pressure from the US and other countries should implement strict abandonment guild-lines for IA adoptions and eliminate third party payments by the local SWI of any type which rewards “middlemen” even if the actions / intentions are good (which I believe is probably the norm). Full disclosure would do wonders to clean up our own political system and the same might work for China.

Anonymous said...

Brian, Thank you for all of the work that you do for the adoptive community. I have to say that I am very thankfull that we adopted a little girl that is cleft affected. I know in my heart that she would not have had a family if we had not stepped forward to adopt her. She is now one of the biggest blessings in our lives.I truly hope that more adoptive parents will be willing to adopt SN kids. Christy

Anonymous said...

I guess for the most part we will never know where our individual children come from in China. It is sad to think of the minority that come under shady situations but to focus on that as a waiting parent is overwhelming. It is good to have both sides of the story but for most of us we so desire to have a child that all we can do it ask questions and advocate for ourselves and hope that others are doing their job. You have to let go of the fears and let the process happen because in the end you have very little control over the path your child has taken before she is placed in your arms.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Nice work. I admire a refusal to turn away from unpleasant truth.

I'm a little confused. Do you think the infant trafficking has always been part of the international adoption program and that the abandonment of large numbers of female children has always been a myth, or do you think that the situation of female abandonment has radically changed from 1996 to 2006. Was there ever a time that the myths of Chinese adoption were true?

I, too, am very uncomfortable when I think that my desire for a child is actually creating the climate which encourages ongoing abandonment/relinquishment and which interferes with the establishment of potential domestic adoption program. On the other hand, isn't it China's responsibility to do what is right for its daughters?

It's hard to know what my responsibility is as a well-meaning American. I hate that the China program now seems like a giant Wal-Mart where I can get a daughter cheaply and easily at someone else's expense. As much as it's not PC to adopt to save a child, I want the adoption to be meaningful. I want to give a home to a child who needs one. I want the adoption to represent more than my selfish desire for a child.

I, too, am trying to go the Waiting Child route, though the competition for children on the lists is very strong.

Lisa

Research-China.Org said...

Lisa:

Good questions, but unanswerable. There has never been official data on the number of children abandoned, adoptable, etc. It has all been provided by Western news sources and authors, and one is unable to verify whether those numbers are true or not.

One could point to such things as the "Dying Rooms", but again that presentation is fraught with problems that question its validity. So, we don't know.

I am not one to look back on decisions. Information gained today should not cause one to review decisions made yesterday or last year. My hope is that this information will be considered in future decisions. I can simply say that it is the situation now.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

I chose China for many reasons, one reason is I don't like the idea of people competeing for children, as if they are a commidity. I felt like domestic adoption in the US was like that. You had to sell yourself to the birthmother, and the one with the best superficial appearance wins (again personal opinion, no offense to anyone). When I adopted my first child from china, the program was still relatively small and like you I believed of the good of the program and the need of the children. I am in the process of adopting a second daughter. Since getting back in the loop, so to speak, my views on the program have changed. I am seeing the great demand for NSN and honestly I have a problem again for competing for a child. I have since changed the age from infant to an older child. I want to give a child a home that would otherwise not have the chance.
Even if no one pays attention to the Hunan situation, I would think people could see that there are not alot of children available for adoption (NSN) and that China is in the process of change.

anyway my two cents.

Research-China.Org said...

Wise choice. Good luck in your adoption!

Brian

Anonymous said...

well, do you think in this batch will be manay children from Hunan, please let to know us ....

Research-China.Org said...

Yes, I expect a significant number of Hunan referrals this batch.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Do you think that if there are more Hunan babies that they may speed up some?

Research-China.Org said...

It will be interesting to see the next month or two. If wait times keep increasing, it will become even more apparent that a supply imbalance exists. In that case, serious restrictions will need to be put in place to bring down demand.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian, We just got back from Hunan in the middle of September (last month) adopting our 3rd time from China. The 16 children in our travel group came from southern Hunan, small orphanages. Our daughter is from Shuangpai County, and her orphanage now has 14 babies. I continually wonder as I look at our little girl, did we get this little one from this remote orphanage (we got to visit the O. and meet her nannies and see the other babies) because of the other Hunan orphanages that have been "closed?" We were told that IA has happened at this orphanage once or twice in the past 15 years.

Research-China.Org said...

More likely is that Shuangpei has been made a part of the IA program as a result of declining children all over China. Since you travelled in September, your daughter and her orphanange mates were already in the process when the Hunan story broke, and thus unaffected.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,
I was wondering if you had any knowledge on how an SWI gets chosen to be a part of the International Adoption Arena.

When we adopted from Hengdong, we were one of the first groups there. There was no Hengdong Yahoo group, and when I asked on APC, I received only one reponse from another family who had adopted from Hengdong. Of course now there are many more.

But I'm curious as to how SWIs are selected to be a part of IA. Obviously being a part of IA is good for the SWI. And does this process in any way tie into the SWIs feeling like they need to "obtain" healthy infants available for adoption.

Research-China.Org said...

I don't have any idea how the orphanages are chosen, if in fact they are chosen. While interviewing the directors, many indicated that any orphanage that wishes to particopate may do so, and that those who don't wish not to. I am not clear on the subject, but will ask next time I get the chance.

Brian

lakegirl said...

Question....so the demand now is high for abandoned babies/children in China.....for many different reasons......all good intentions for all involved.....so maybe it is a good thing that the demand is high because the CCAA might then seek out more welfare centers to be added to the IA and domestic adoption programs so these children at least have more of a chance to be adopted, instead of staying in the orphanages. I can imagine that alot remote regions of China have orphanages where possibly those children never get adopted as the are unknown about? In a country with 1.3 billion population and their child control policies, you would think that there is still a huge need for abandoned babies to be adopted? I was given at a seminar that I went to that there are 220,000 orphaned children a year in China and that only 150,000 make it into the adoption system. Are these close to being correct figures?

Anonymous said...

myth & reality

As always I appreciated your thoughts. Re the "myth" -- I do think agencies still use it. I'm increasingly dubious that it's a true reflection of reality.

Like you, I adopted from China in the late 90s (1997). My kid was from Nanchang where at the time they had 400 kids in their charge. I got video from a family that was there in late 96 (when we traveled, no one was allowed to see the orphanage), and it was a sobering video -- kids everywhere, stuck in potty chairs in the hallway, vacant expressions, shaved heads. The kids our group received were grossly malnourished, had a variety of ailments (respiratory, scabies, exczema, etc). None were in foster care at the time, though we later got evidence that some had spent a limited time being fostered. My 14 month old could barely sit up, certainly not crawl, and functioned at about the 7 month level. She weighed 14 pounds.

Fast forward to summer 05, when we revisited Nanchang. Now there are only about 50 kids on site there, almost all young SN kids and older kids in the group home. the director tells me there are only about 150 kids in their charge altogether, including those in foster care. Abandonment has just dropped a lot, she said.

I do believe the kid we adopted in 97 needed to be adopted, and that the orphanage at that time was overwhelemed with kids that would not otherwise have families. But recent developments make me very skeptical that this is still the case for many of the 'sending' orphanages. And whatever's going on to inhibit domestic adoption is just simply wrong, imo.

I wouldn't adopt from China again unless it was an SN/waiting child proceeding. I personally think the tipping point has been reached, where 'young healthy' international adoption has become a disincentive for China to encourage domestic adoption due to the financial support flowing in. This is my opinion based on all the available evidence, which as you yourself admit, is somewhat murky. It's easy for me to say since I don't intend to adopt more kids anyway ... but at the time I WAS adopting, spouse and I DID try hard to make sure we were part of a solution, not part of a potential exploitative situation.

I wish all the best to today's potential a-parents as they try to puzzle this out....

Julie, chicago

Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for the article and the insight. The comments and your opinion give much to think about. I hope that much good comes to China through all this. I am glad there are people ready and willing to adopt.

Alyson