Thursday, January 04, 2007

Creating "Paper-Ready Children"

“More domestic families have adopted children from our center in recent years and economic and social development has meant that fewer children have been abandoned or orphaned.” (Lu Ying, director of the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA))

With the recently announced changes by the CCAA, the adoption community has turned its attention to why the CCAA appears to be cutting back on the number of families that will be eligible to adopt in the future. Several China-adoption "resources" have continued to assert, contrary to the statements of the officials with the CCAA, that the problem is not in the number of children available for adoption, but in the number of "paper-ready" children available, as if there is some technical difference between the two classes.

What follows is the process employed by China's orphanages to produce the paperwork necessary to adopt a child internationally. It begins the day the child is found.

A child is brought to the orphanage by the area police. Sometimes the police phone ahead, usually not. Within days of arriving, the orphanage will have either a staff doctor (if they have one) or a doctor at an area hospital do a complete physical on the child to determine if he or she is healthy, or carries any communicable diseases. The findings of this first medical exam determine whether the child will be classified as "healthy" or "special needs."

Also within a few days to two months, depending on the province, a photograph will be taken by the orphanage and forwarded to the Provincial Civil Affairs Office with the finding information taken from the police report. The finding ad, which costs the orphanage around 450 yuan to publish, is a legal notice to the child's birth parents that legal custody of the child will transfer to the state should the child not be reclaimed within 60 days. The legal notice usually reads like this one from the Guangdong Civil Affairs Office:

"In order to locate the birth parents, we are issuing the public announcements for the 26 abandoned babies in Gaoming City Social Welfare Institute and other Social Welfare Institutes. The birth parents or other guardians can come to the Social Welfare Institutes to claim their babies within 60 days of the publication of the Public Announcements. Please bring identification cards, the employer’s certificate, or the certificate of the Residential Villager Committee, or the certificate of the Residents’ Committee. After that period, the Social Welfare Institute will consider them as abandoned babies and process their paperwork according to the law."

During the next 60 days, the orphanage will monitor and examine the child to make sure all of its health issues are known. It doesn't matter whether the foundling was a day old or a year old; all are observed for 60 days to make sure any problems the child may have are discovered.

Two months after finding, the formal paperwork is started to begin the process for international adoption. Completing the paperwork was described by one director as "requiring patience" due to the detail and comprehensive information that is required. Medical information, progress reports, photos and other details are laid out in a package that, when completed, is forwarded to the Provincial Civil Affairs Office. The Civil Affairs Office reviews the paperwork, according to one director, for 15 days, contacting the orphanage if there are any issues, and then forwards the files from the entire province to the CCAA in Beijing.

Every director interviewed clearly stated that dossiers are prepared for every child in their care, unless the child is determined to be unadoptable. Unadoptable children are those with debilitating mental or physical handicaps. The orphanages tend to be lenient in determining which children are unadoptable, and will sometimes submit dossiers to the Civil Affairs for children with questionable problems in an effort to get them adopted. The Civil Affairs, conversely, tends to reject the severe cases, sending the files back to the orphanages in order to avoid problems with disrupted adoptions down the road.

The orphanages are assessed no fee to submit files to the CCAA, and therefore have no incentive to hold files back. In fact, the incentive is for orphanages to submit as many files as possible, in order to have all the children in their care adopted. The alternative is that the child remains in the orphanage until they reach 18 years old, an outcome that is expensive for the orphanage and least preferred for the child.

Once the paperwork is forwarded to the CCAA for international adoption, the orphanage continues to monitor the child. If the child is placed in a foster family, follow-up visits are made at least monthly, with measurements being taken to insure the child is being well-cared for and is healthy. Although some orphanage directors will allow a child to be adopted domestically after the paperwork has been forwarded to the CCAA, many of those surveyed indicated that once the paperwork was submitted by the Civil Affairs Office to the CCAA, the child is no longer eligible for domestic adoption.

When the child has been referred to an international family for adoption, and that family has accepted the referral, the CCAA contacts the orphanage to alert them of the date and time the child is to be brought to the provincial capital for adoption. In most cases, this is the only contact the orphanage will have with the CCAA regarding the child after the dossier has been submitted. The orphanage will prepare the adoption paperwork prior to the family arriving, keeping copies of the completed paperwork along with a copy of the original police report transferring the child to the orphanage. The rest of the original dossier is kept at the provincial Civil Affairs Office.

Knowledge of the paperwork process invalidates the theory that the current wait times, rule changes, etc., are results of not enough "paper-ready" children. In fact, every indicator suggests that it is exactly as asserted by the CCAA, an imbalance between the number of families applying to adopt, and the number of healthy children in China's orphanages. The process itself, coupled with little or no financial disincentives (and significant financial incentives), results in paperwork being submitted by the orphanage for every adoptable child in their care. The declining abandonment rates of healthy children, coupled with an increase in demand from both domestic and international families, has resulted in China taking steps to curtail that demand, at least from the international arena.

For more detail on the number of children in China available for domestic and international adoption, see my article “The Hague Agreement and China's International Adoption Program”.

85 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice overview.

I agree that we are taking this too far - this is still all about a system set up to handle 1000 - 1200 children a month max ( for any number of resesons including predetermined quota's) , with the demand more like 1500-2000 children a month.

"paper ready or not". China has to be able to take care of its own and maintian face in the world and not be a western baby factory.

Anonymous said...

The beginning of the quote by the CCAA director: "More domestic families have adopted children from our center in recent years" seems to go against what you have reported in the past - about how Chinese families are prevented from adopting, and what you have written in this article - about how all healthy babies are put up for international adoption and withheld from domestic adoption. It seems even more unlikely if the number of babies being abandoned is decreasing. It doesn't seem to add up.

Furthermore, I find the sudden precipitous decrease in the #days of LIDs being matched in each group suspicious. I'm not contesting that the number of healthy abandoned babies is decreasing or that the number of families submitting paperwork to adopt is increasing. Both are probably true, but I would expect to see a smooth curve, not a step function. I doubt that the number of abandoned children or the number of families wanting to adopt changed by a factor of 2 overnight.

The Hunan scandal could have caused a sudden precipitous change in the number of referrals each month, but that seems to be over now. I would expect that we would have started to see any trends in slowing down before that scandal, and we should see a continuation of those trends now.

I don't see any trends of increase or decrease. What I see is basically a steady state before hand - roughly one month of LIDs referred each month followed by a sudden change to ~1/2 month of LIDs referred each month - with no physically appealing explanation.

I also hear reports of full orphanages, but I haven't been there to see it myself. What do you see when you visit orphanages?

If the wait times for IA are increasing because there truly are fewer children being abandoned and more children are being adopted domestically, that would be just wonderful for the children.

But looking at the data, it looks like something is being fudged.

-J

Research-China.Org said...

I have never stated that all healthy children are placed with international families, only that the financial and geographical constraints make it difficult for most Chinese families to adopt. In fact, most orphanages I have spoken to adopt around 50% of their children domestically. However, they also report having many more domestic families willing to adopt, but that are prevented from doing so, mostly for financial reasons.

I too have had families report that they visit orphanages "full" of children. I would respond by stating that last month I was in a medium-sized orphanage. There were over 70 children in the facility. 20% of the children were special needs, but showed no outward appearance of having anything wrong. Some of these had heart conditions, others had mental issues. The remaining 80% were in various stages of adoption (this orphanage was international only). A large percentage (14 children) were being sent home in the following week.

The point is, walking through an orphanage brings little insight into this issue because 1) you can't determine if the children you are seeing are healthy or special needs; 2) you can't determine if the children are in the process of being adopted or not.

A good question for anyone to ask when they visit an orphanage is, "How many healthy two-year olds do you have in this facility?" The overwhelming answer will be "none".

Brian

just me said...

The problem is that I have been repeatly told that only 25% of the orphanages place children internationlly and the remaining 75% of the orphanages provide very poor care. That being the case, why are the remaining 75% not being opened to international adoption? If China can truly place her children domestically, awesome. However, I don't think this is the case.

Research-China.Org said...

While it is true that a majority of orphanages don't participate in the international adoptoin program, few of these are very large in size. It is the 80-20 rule -- the orphanages that provide 80% of the children (and that would under any circumstance) are already in the program. Additionally, my limited exprience with these "non-participating" orphanages suggests that they do significant domestic adoptions. I don't believe that healthy children could be increased significantly, if at all, even if every orphanage participated. If I am wrong, one would have to ask why the CCAA wasn't bringing in the rest of the orphanages? What is to be gained by having healthy, readily-adoptable children grow up in the facilities at tremendous cost to the state?

Brian

ruidh said...

Brian,

Thanks for the realistic and factual look at the adoption situation. I can see how some parents react emotionally to the news of changes in adoption rules and it is comforting to me to have explanations which make sense for the changes which have occurred.

Anonymous said...

Brian, your 80/20 rule statements regarding orphanages that do/do-not participate in IA sounds reasonable on the surface, but a basic math check on this calls into question:

If there are (and I know the reports are all over the place as to 1 million+, 750K, 500K, etc) indeed on the order of more then half a million children in orphanage care (directly in SWIs, or via extensions through foster care)in China, yet only about 15 thousand per year enter the IA program, the math does not work for me on your 80/20 statement.

If we use 500K (at any given time) as the conservative low end for the moment and then distribute that across the spectrum of ages it probably represents in the population, I still see more on the order of 50-60 thousand orphans in the system under age 2 at any given moment in time. If most all of these enter the paper chase internally for the reasons given in your article, where are the missing 35-45 thousand children? The CCAA rejection rate back to the orphanages can certainly not be that high.

That said, I totally agree that the dymanics of society in China are changing rapidly and that orphans abandoned is going to decline at a similar rate as China progresses, but right now that in and of itself does not explain a decline of 15-20% in IA over a period of one year. Forget about the increased demand through applications, the fact is China IA is begining a significant year over year decline in IA, but internal orphan numbers do not clearly support what you are saying at the moment. In addition, not all parts of China are advancing at the same rate, and so the more rural areas where the large bulk of non IA participating orphanages reside will be behind the more urbanized and moderized provinces by 3-5 years.

Anonymous said...

I am in the process of adopting a 4.5 yr old SN girl from a large SN only SWI that has only adopted out 2 other children internationally. When we got her finding ad, I was surprised to find the ad wasn't placed until January 2005 even tho she was abandoned shortly after birth.

Also, wouldn't it be more "cost affective" to pay the costs to get more children paper ready than to pay to keep them in the SWI?
DDW

Sheri said...

Brian, when you sent me my first daughter's finding ad (Guiping SWI, published I believe in May 2003) it was clear from the dates in the ads that, during the Nov/Dec 2002 time frame, about one child PER DAY was being found and turned in to the SWI. Since you collect finding ads, can you comment on whether/how much you are observing regarding a significant drop in numbers of published finding ads (read: abandoned babies)?? Thanks!

Nora said...

I hope that the decrease in the number of children available for international adoption is due to less children being abandon and/or an increase in domestic adoptions. I am somewhat skeptical this is the case. Reasons the CCAA may be limiting IA may not be in line with our thinking. The fact is that the CCAA is in control of their adoption program.

Karen said...

Brian-

I was under the impression that while we were waiting for our referral - mid-2004 through early 2005 - the CCAA had imposed a cap on international adoption agencies, requesting that they hold the number of dossier to a fixed rate. I further though that sometime in mid- to late-2005, the CCAA lifted that cap, allowing increases in the number of submitted dossiers. Do you know if this is true? It certainly seems that our agency, CCAI, is receiving about the same number of referrals each month now as they were when we were matched, but that represents half a months worth of referrals rather than a full month, leading me to assume our agency was submitting almost twice as many dossier a month for awhile.

Karen, Boulder

Anonymous said...

Where do these children fit in this equation?

Abandoned for a medical need and had corrective surgery in China fairly quickly but yet don't turn up on a SN list for years. I know of two right now that had corrective surgery 4.5 and 5 years ago but are just now being listed. Where have their files been all these years?

Research-China.Org said...

China has never indicated that there were 500,000 children in orphanages or foster care, and I don't believe the number is anywhere close to that. China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs reported in 2001 that there were 1,550 state-run orphanages, 160 of which specialized in the care of orphans. These facilities were said to have cared for approximately 41,000 children (Kay Johnson, “Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son – Abandonment, Adoption and Orphanage Care in China”, Yeong & Yeong Book Company, p. 204). A 2004 pronouncement stated that “Today, China has 192 special welfare institutions for children and 600 comprehensive welfare institutions with a children's department, accommodating a total of 54,000 orphans and disabled children (footnote 1 of Hague Agreement article).

Statements by China regarding 500,000 "orphans" is mostly reflecting the large number of informally adopted children, not those residing in the orphanages.

Brian

Research-China.Org said...

The SN program can obviously use an overhaul. My recommendation (if I could make one) would be that EVERY adoptable special needs child be listed on a CCAA website, logged by age, sex, orphanage, and special need. Families could then choose a child that matches their abilities from an orphanage to which they have an emotional connection, or an age that balances their family. The resistance that the CCAA displays to allowing families to "pre-identify" children is wrong-headed, and results in fewer SN children from being adopted. Better diagnosis, better information for the families on a specific child, and better access to all the children will only help increase the adoption rates of those that stand in the greatest need.

Brian

victoria said...

Our daughter was 1 at the time of referral. Any insight into why our daughter who was brought to the SWI at 4 days old did not have her paperwork sent to the CCAA until she was 8 months old? Her SWI is not new to IA. She could have been paper-ready much sooner as other children from this same SWI have their paperwork sent at 4 months old.

Research-China.Org said...

Victoria:

It is of course impossible for me to determine why they waited. Perhaps she was ill? It would be a good question to ask the director.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Very well said. Your essays are always very interesting and I wish you didn't receive all the criticism that people throw at you. It is a sobering essay for adoptive famalies to believe, but we must all agree it is best for the children to remain in birth country.

Steve
LID 9/29/05

Anonymous said...

Around the time that I was adopting (2004-2005), our agency began an explicit marketing campaign to find families for children from China even though they work in many countries. Ours is one of the oldest agencies, very conservative. I suspect that other agencies did the same thing. I was under the impression that my agency ramped up their marketing because CCAA told them that there was a particular need for more families. Now we're seeing the big increase in demand that resulted. Have you been in touch with any U.S. agencies to ask what motivated their actions?

Ray said...

Brian,

I referenced this article in my blog last week, wherein it states:

"China now has 66,000 orphans living in public welfare institutions and more than 570,000 living with families, according to the ministry."

Are we to assume the 570,000 living with families includes domestically adopted children as well as those in foster care?

-Ray

BunNee said...

Brian, you have argued previously that the number of children available for IA has dropped significantly because of economic progress, domestic adoption, etc. Others say no, China is holding back its children from IA for a variety of reasons--mostly to save face with the rest of the world.

However, it is not a lack of children for whatever reason that is causing the slow down in LID to referral time, but rather the overwhelming number of applicants. The CCAA stated that it had about 10 percent fewer children to place last year and its 2006 placement figures were on par with figures from a few years ago. However the number of prospective families has more than doubled by some accounts. In economic terms, it is the demand side that is really out of whack here.

Also: my daughter's medical exam was done more than six months after she arrived at the SWI. And when I look at medical reports of SN children, that's pretty much when their's are done too. One reason for the delay is so that the blood tests (esp. for hepatitis b) are more meaningful. Some children may get examined earlier if they are sick, but most children are getting the official exam a little later than you claim.

Research-China.Org said...

Ray:

The 570,000 is an estimate of the number of "informally" adopted children, which are legally classified as "orphans". It is not the number of children cared for by foster families sponsored by orphanages. The 66,000 is the number of actual children being cared for by the state, which would include all of the children in the orphanages themselves, plus those in orphanage-sponsored foster care.

There is no doubt (as I stated in my last blog) that demand has increased for the China program. But 2006 adoptions fell nearly 20% from 2005, and it seems probable that that decline was supply-side driven, mostly a result of the Hunan story.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Unicef states (2004) that there were 87 Million orphans in Asia (China being the largest population would seem to have the largest percentage of orphans). I believe that 10% are not being cared for by relatives (truly orphaned) and so I am assuming they would be in orphanages?

Do you have any information on this and how Unicef comes up with their numbers? I have only a few people I know personally have been in Chinese orphanages in the past year... but these orphanages the kids were not in great shape because of the lack of money to care for them ($12 per month per child) - these orphanages did not adopt out internationally. Do all the orphanages receive the same amount of money from the government? The one that my daughter was in was subsidized by Half The sky.

I am really trying to understand this issue...

The article is:
"Global Orphan Numbers Would be Falling Without AIDS"

http://www.unicef.org/search.php?q=orphans+in+Asia&Go.x=0&Go.y=0

Research-China.Org said...

A private e-mailer told me about her daughter's orphanage, the Shenzhen orphanage in Guangdong. I have been wanting to do an analysis on the adoption submissions of various orphanages for a while, to demonstrate the decline each orphanage is experiencing. This analysis is complicated by the redistricting program that is going on in China. For example, in 2000 (the first complete year of the finding ads) there was the Maoming orphanage in Guangdong. Since that time, the Maoming orphanage district has been redistricted, and two additional orphanages created: Maonan and Maogang. To complicate matters, when the Maogang orphanage was created, geographical area were taken from the nearby DianBai orphanage. Thus, it is difficult sometimes to do an apple-to-apple comparison.

But taking Shenzhen as a snapshot, the following numbers of IA dossiers were submitted in each year:

2000 - 58
2001 - 59
2002 - 29
2003 - 28

Now, the decline can be attributed to a) more domestic adoptions or b) fewer abandonments. It is not possible to determine the complete picture without checking out the domestic finding ads that were placed, something I tried to do for the Guangzhou orphanage in my Hague piece.

I will attempt to get a broader picture of this in the coming weeks, analyzing the ads from across China to see if substantial trends can be seen.

As far as UNICEF's estimates are concerned: I support UNICEF, and the job they are trying to do. But being in the fund-raising business, it is in their best interest to make the scenario seem as dire as possible. I am not insinuating that they are fabricating numbers, just that they are probably including anything that can possible be included. With China, for example, they no doubt include the half-million figure of "orphans" even though the overwhelming percentage of those children are being cared for by families, albeit in an extra-legal status.

Brian

RoLo said...

Brian I wanted to thank you for always writing informative and interesting articles.

We are currently waiting for referral - LID Dec 9/05

Carolyn said...

I'm really interested in your comment on the SN/WC program. You say that it is in need of an overhaul- isn't that exactly what is happening? I understand that the CCAA is expanding an on-line referral system for the SN program- and that this project has been successfully piloted in a few countries already.
Also, just as we sent our dossier to our agency in November 06 (we hoped for the CCAA to match us with a child having a specific medical need), our agency was instructed to send "select" information to the CCAA vice the entire dossier, and to expect a "child proposal" for each family requesting a WC. Upon accepting the child's proposal, a LOI and the dossier would be the sent together from the agency and processed by the CCAA. We're hoping this will be a rather speedy process, especially at the front end, but time will tell, I guess.
Please keep your ear to the ground for those of us adopting from the WCP! I believe changes are happening already.

Research-China.Org said...

I hope so. Keep us posted!

Brian

Anonymous said...

You don't address the second anonymous point that the number of children referred per month did not decrease slowly, but drastically. In fact, from one month to another, back in Oct of 05, there was a very sharp decrease and very sudden lengthening of the wait. So there must be more to it than gradually decreasing abandonment and increasing domestic adoption.

kim said...

Brian, I love your essays, as they bring a point of view impossible for us here in the states to even begin to know. I hesitate to even post this -- as I try to stay away from posting my opinion on blogs as people are always so fragile, it seems and defensive. BUT here goes. Since the new regs came out and there has been soo much hype, something has happened to my thinking. We are LID 1-16-06 and have a biological child. SInce we were married, we decided that if we were lucky to have a biological child, we'd also adopt a child, give a home to a child who needed it. MOre than two years ago, we chose China. Now, I worry that we should have chosen another country, that the children in China need to stay in China, if they are able to -- via domestic adoption -- and I feel I am part of a movement that is taking them away from their home country. What do you think about this?

K

Research-China.Org said...

To anonymous:

I try not to repeatedly redress issues from readers who don't read previous blogs. The "crunch" in October 2005 was addressed thoroughly in my "A Turning Point in Wait Times" essay (http://research-china.blogspot.com/2006/09/turning-point-in-wait-times.html)

To Kim:

I am not one to revisit decisions I have made, and second-guess my intentions, unless the evidence shows that my course of action is damaging to myself or others. Your situation does not fall into that category. Every international adoption program has ethical problems. The question one must ask is, on balance, are the ethics balanced by the results. As I point out in my "Hague" article, there is not a proponderance of evidence that the children adopted from China will have significantly better lives in China or elsewhere. There are pluses and minuses to both outcomes. Thus, I don't think you need to worry, at this stage, if you have made the right decision.

Now, a family just coming to the China program would do well to ask the questions that you have, and decide, based on the evidence, if adopting a child from China is the best option. There are other options (Ethiopia for example) where the balance between domestic adoption and international adoption has not been reached, and probably won't for a very long time.

You might consider changing your CCAA letter to allow for the referral of a minor SN child (cleft lip, extra finger, large moles, etc.) This would remove the ethical problem, and provide you with a wonderful child.

Brian

Erin said...

I am confused at your assertion that wanting to adopt a healty child from China is in some way an ethical issue.

Yes China is growing and changing and the need for IA is not the same as it was say in 2004-2004, but by all realistic measures it will continue.

Yes, the system is anti-domestic adoption for the 25% of the orphanages that deal with IA but not the other 75% (or the 80% of abandoned children you have infered are absorbed in the community anyway. That is for the CCAA and other Chinese agencies to work out / debate and I would speculate that that is being adressed as some level as we speak.

Yes, bad things have happend as the monies paid by bloated westerns has made the system a shady business.

China is roughy 1.3 billon people of which .9 billion live in rual areas making less than 400 dollars a year. Our daughters did not come from the high rises of Shanghi or Beijing but the small cities and rural villages in Hunan and Gaungxi and others. She was not wanted by her birth family or extended family - who did what they had to do and have moved on in life with out her.

Research-China.Org said...

What I mean by ethical issues is that as a world body (codified under the Hague Agreement on Children) it is defined as law that a country should seek homes for orphaned children before seeking families outside the country for adoption. Most professionals that a child should remain in its culture of birth if at all possible.

China's healthy child adoption program (by which I mean those without ANY health or age issues) is not fully compliant with that idea, and for many this creates an ethical problem: Do they adopt from a country knowing that it supports a program that is depriving the children homes within their culture of birth?

Brian

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative post. It's still not clear to me that "paper readiness" couldn't have contributed to the slowdown, at least in the short term. The story that I'd heard was that the CCAA established new paperwork requirements after the Hunan scandal to reduce the chance of having similar problems in the future. As a result, babies who had already gone through some steps of the process you outline had to be re-certified, creating a short-term "shortage" of paper-ready babies. Of course if that were part of the reason for the slowdown it should have worked itself out by now.

Apologies if I missed other posts or comments addressing this issue.

Research-China.Org said...

Individuals who asserted that the Hunan story created a "recertification" process for children are ill-informed. No paperwork needed to be redone, and no significant changes have been made in the process. The adoption program in Hunan was halted for several months, and no new babies were submitted, but no procedural changes were made.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Then what about allowing more orphanages to place children for IA? My understanding is that only some orphanages are allowed to submit this paperwork.

Research-China.Org said...

A good question. There are several factors at play. First, China does have a ceiling on how many children they will allow to be internationally adopted -- it is not unlimited.

The CCAA tries to balance this total "demand" (the upper limit) against the "production" of the member orphanages (the ones in the IA program). As the abandonment rates in these cities decreases, more cities are brought in to increase the supply.

China is adding new orphanages to the program constantly. It is their way of controlling the flow of children into the IA program.

Brian

Carolyn said...

Concerning Erin's comment and your reply about the ethics of IA for nsn children in China-

...is there actual evidence that children who are placed for IA would otherwise be adopted domestically?

I know that some orphanages prefer IA vs. domestic adoption, and that you could argue that children in these orphanages are not being treated iaw the Hague Convention. But given the "one child policy" that applies to families (adoptive or birth), is there really enough demand from childless couples to ensure that most children in such orphanages are placed with families?

I guess my point is that, even though the frequency of domestic adoption may be increasing in China, I'd be willing to bet that the demand is not yet great enough and, without IA, there would be a lot more children growing up in SWIs.

Research-China.Org said...

Carolyn:
Your questions are good ones. I believe that domestic adoption can handle the total number of healthy kids becasue a large number of directors indicated there was a multi-year waiting list of domestic families wanting to adopt. Additionally, even a low infertility rate would mean many millions of families that are potential adopting families.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

I have found your posts interesting over the last year. However, I am confused by some of your statistics. In your August 23, 2005 post you state "I estimate that there are around 250,000 found every year which end up in China's orphanages (almost 40,000 in orphanages that do international adoptions). This figure is based on the number of finding ads placed in the Provincial newspapers each year..."

In the above post, you seem to agree with China's assertions in the "Hague Agreement Article" that the total number of children in orphanages in China is 54,000.

From 250,000 a year to 54,000 total - how is this possible?

D. Rundle

Research-China.Org said...

The 54,000 is how many would be in the orphanages at any given time, the 250,000 would be the flow, how many pass through the orphanages. Consider it like an automobile factory. At any given time there are 100 cars being built, but in a year 100,000 are built.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Did you see the program on PBS "China from the Inside"?
If so, any comments on the segment Women of the Country?
www.pbs.org

Anonymous said...

Brian,

If the lengthening wait is caused by declining children available for adoption, then why didn't the CCAA implement a quota, as they did from Dec 2001 to Nov 2002, in order to rebalance the "excessive demand"? Why allow dossiers to double without taking measures to reduce the number of applicants?

Research-China.Org said...

As I stated in another essay, I think Hunan created a major shift, along with families moving from other countries. I believe the CCAA was caught a little by surprise. I don't know why they didn't react sooner, although I think that these kinds of changes are made slowly.

Brian

Nathalie said...

Great Overview.

The CCAA definetley got got hit by something. I wonder if eventualy this will cause a reduction of US agencies allowed to work in China as well.

I do have question on the number of children in SWI's. I read somewhere that 12,000 children a year are adopted from the IA program around the world.

If they have 54,000 in the SWi's is not the number of children increasing, or are the number of healthy children reaching the age of 16 or 18 before they are out on in the community, balancing out the SN children that are not adoptable?

Also if would like to hear what happens to the children who spend their lives in the SWI's. Im sure it ranges but are the healthy boys and young women "drafted" into the military or are set up in a house working at a factory or stay as nannies in the SWI's?

Research-China.Org said...

The 54,000 is a snapshot, and doesn't represent the total number of children that pass through the orphanages. Many times that amount enter and are adopted from the orphanages each year.

There are few healthy children "growing up" in the orphanages now, since they are adopted before they even reach a few years of age. The SN children will most likely grow up in the orphanage, and then will be assisted in finding jobs (if they are able to work) or they will remain in the orphanage under state care.

I have met many nannies who grew up in the orphanage. Most find outside jobs and live normal lives, returning to the orphanag for New Years celebrations, and when they get married.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I have spent the last four years working in a Chinese orphanage and feel like I see the "real" picture, not the fluffed up life that is prepared before adoptive parents or visitors come in. (I'm there when this happens, too, and it is such a farce)

I can only give you an inside look into my orphanage, and I know they all differ.

About children that grow up in the orphanage: As they grow older, those with special needs are used for manual labor. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, outside maintenance...anything that needs done is usually done by a teen orphan with an adult overseer. Once the teens reach the age of adult, around 18 but not always, if they have a physical or mental disability, most are moved to the building that is hidden behind the Children's center. This building is out of your scariest dreams, with bars on the windows and frequent loud outbursts. I can see it from the nursery and my heart aches for the people that hang out through the bars, hoping to see a little of life.

Other children that grow up and are not severely (in Chinese standards) disabled are most times sent to some sort of school to learn a trade, most usually financially sponsored by a foreign group.

Myself and my volunteers have pushed adoption dossiers on many children-- when we are told they are not eligible for adoption, we have moved mountains to "get past" the discriminations and have successfully changed that status on many, enabling to go on to their forever families. From my experience, only the "cream of the crop" children have dossiers prepared immediately after the 60 day mandatory notice. As a matter of fact, on one particular 4 year old that I am partial to, it took me a year of arguing, begging and pleading before they even ran the ad! (which I have a copy of) And I was promised her dossier would go to CCAA in July...still waiting and pleading. She is amazing and deserves a family.

Research-China.Org said...

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you very much for sharing your insight. Your experiences provide valuable insight into the "behind the scenes" of some orphanages.

There is a huge hestitancy to submit dossiers for SN children. This is particularly true to those with even slight emotional or mental problems. Your work in getting those "pushed" through is fantastic.

I wish the CCAA would insist on ALL children being submitted, with excellent medical diagnosis reports behind each child. That would then allow adopting families to choose a child that they felt could be helped by the qualities of their specific family. The CCAA under-estimates the potential such a program would have on the harder-to-adopt children.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting post.

Do you believe that the decrease in abandoned children reflects a decrease in the problem of gender bias or are individuals getting more adept at aborting female fetuses?

Research-China.Org said...

I believe it is a dramatic diminishing of traditionalism in China. The young couples having the babies are growing more "Western" in their attititudes: carry cell phones, watch movies, and are thus less inclined to abandon a child simply becasue of its sex.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I just want to point out that at least some of the SWIs involved in the Hunan scandal are now, once again, referring children for IA. And in this first wave, parents are being referred toddlers rather than infants. I'm not sure how this figures in the number of available children, but Hunan referrals are resuming, and there seems to be a bit of a backlog. Instead of skipping over the children caught in the scandal, they are finding homes.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

What you describe as an ethical issue with respect to the Hague Convention is more of a legal issue for China and the U.S. government. The ethics of adoption from China really hinge on the question of where the child would be better off not what is written in the Convention. That seems more of a question of personal belief given the bias against women in China and the evident belief by the many Chinese immigrants to the U.S. that they themselves would be better off in the U.S.

That said, I think it is a mistake for anyone to think they will be rescuing a child by adopting a healthy infant from China. What they are doing is making it harder for other couples (domestic and/or infertile) to adopt from China. Not that infertile couples have any particular right to a healthy Chinese baby (they could adopt an SN child as well) but some infertile women are probably a little resentful that after years of infertilty treatment, they now have a multi year adoption process ahead of them.

It seems that there is an abundance of potential adoptive
parents for healthy infants both international and domestic

Anonymous said...

In my orphanage that I work in, there has not been a decrease in abandoned children, rather from April to July 2006, there were 44 new babies found and delivered to our room. That was about a 40% increase in numbers and we had to open up a new room and seperate the newborns from the "almost" toddlers. I don't believe for one minute that there is a decrease in abandonment.

Anonymous said...

I personally did not know that I was entering such a competitive process when I submitted my dossier over a year ago. I am fertile, and wanted to adopt where I could do the most good. Knowing what I know now, I would have gone with special needs. I must say that I talked that over with my agency (large china-only) and they were not very forthcoming as to the process.
I do feel that I am wresting a child from an infertile couple that has been waiting years for a child. But I'm stuck in the process for lots of reasons. And I'll love our baby when she comes, of course.

Also, I pretty much disbelieve, as a matter of principle, anything an abusive totalitarian government tells me. So if they say there are suddenly fewer babies being abandoned (from one month to the next? from one year to the next, in a country of over a billion people, with a stringently enforced one=child policy?), I have to first go with the assumption that they are "saving face." Communism is all about face.

Research-China.Org said...

It is of course foolish to take statistics from a three month period and extrapolate that into a blanket statement, but Anonymous is in a position to do some true research, at least in one orphanage. If possible, it would be useful to obtain the finding statistics each year for the past 5 years. This would go a long way to determining more accurately whether her corner of China is experiencing a baby boom.

Communism isn't "just about saving face," although that is certainly part of the equation. To conclude that abandoments are not decreasing, but China is just saying that to save face requires one to believe that it is willing to institutionalize thousands of children out of pride.

My research has forced me to conclude that this is not the case. China doesn't want to appear as a country that can't take care of its own people, that is very true. But the words of hundreds of orphanage directors all points in the same direction: they can take care of their healthy children through domestic adoption. To comply with the Hague Agreement REQUIRES China to adopt these children domestically. Given that requirement, adopting families should be appreciative that any healthy children are submitted for international adoption.

Brian

Proud Dad said...

"I do feel that I am wresting a child ..... And I'll love our baby when she comes, of course."

You should be proud and happy for what you are doing and not be concerned / worried regarding the number of families in line behind you who are infertile or single parents. They too have an option for SN and other country programs if they so choose that direction.

I have gone though infertility and find the comments posted earlier disturbing. There are numerous ways to expand a family and to infer that this one program in one country is their only option, and that there should some how be a priority based on circumstance is wrong. IA is an option in life we chose to take for “lots of reasons” none more deserving of another, noble, better or worse. And like all things, life is not a guarantee.

Enjoy your journey and enjoy your daughter’s new life with out reservation. It will come back to bite you if you let it be an issue.

Randy said...

Brian

You make a very good statement on the Huage.

I still think this is at some level also about the money at the SWI level.

15,000 children adopted anually with roughly
$ 5,000 going directly to the SWI equates to 75 million US dollars. Not a lot of money in the big picture but it appears to targeted specifically to the SWI's - not to a central agency who would skim monies off the top.

It also sounds like from you other posts that the SWI is a quazi independent entity, with some monies from the state - but also to a level, left to fend on their own with little over site.

Anonymous said...

"You should be proud and happy for what you are doing and not be concerned / worried regarding the number of families in line behind you who are infertile or single parents. They too have an option for SN and other country programs if they so choose that direction."

I agee with this. However, if a couple who could have their own children is adopting for humanitarian reasons, I don't think adopting a healthy infant from China is the right choice. A waiting child program (either domestic or foreign) would be more inline with such goals.

Anyone who wants to is of course free to adopt rather than have a biological child without having to explain their reasons to me or anyone else.

Given all the issues and difficulties around adoption though, I can't help thinking it would be easier just to have a biological child if that is a viable option. Of course it would be even easier to live child free but I don't think that is a particularly popular option particularly amongst

Anonymous said...

I believe it is unfortunate (and incorrect) that some of you want us to believe that adopting a non-special needs child from China has no humanitarian impact. Brian has repeated in this blog that hundreds of thousands of children are abandoned in China each year (see August 23 and September 17, 2005). If 250,000 children were abandoned and brought to orphanages in 2005 and 58,000 were adopted domestically (with another 15,000 international adoptions) where are the remaining 177,000 orphans?

I believe that some of you are translating the current wait to mean a shortage of orphans. The wait is due to the fact that twice as many families submitted dossiers in 2005 as China has been used to. Even if they had no quota on the number of children allowed out of the country, they still wouldn't be able to keep up without doubling their staff!

We cannot control China's programs or criteria for domestic or international adoptions. However, one thing I do know. If my husband and myself were to drop out of the program, one less orphan would find his/her forever family. Of course I know that the next family in line would gladly adopt "our" child. But down the line... one less child would find a home.

As long as China encourages it, I hope people continue to flock to this program and give the orphans of china (both healthy and special needs)the opportunity to be placed in a loving family.

D.
(mother to a cleft palate child -who would gladly take another!)

Research-China.Org said...

I agree that the wait-time is impacted by a multiple of factors, among which is the desire by China to not adopt out a large number of children. But the 20% decline in adoptions last year has more to do, I believe, with the Hunan stary than any significant change in the numbers. In other words, absent the shutting down of Hunan, I believe adoption totals would have been consistent with 2005.

My estimate of 250,000 children found annually was based on the finding ads (hard data) and the number of orphanages in China. We have visibility of 25%, but no visibility of the other 75%. I become increasingly convinced, as I have written recently, that the 75% represents a relatively small portion of the total children found, being made up of small county orphanages. Thus, it is very possible, if not probable, that the 250,000 I estimated is overstated.

What we do know is that nearly every orphanage director has stated that the number of healthy children coming into their orphanages is falling, that new orphanages are being added to the system regularly to compensate for the falling "supply", and that most orphanages have a waiting list of domestic families seeking to adopt. Additionally, the CCAA has stated that there are not enough healthy children to satisfy the demand. Given what we know from the "hard data", it seems likely that supply is becoming an increasing problem.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian, I have read quite a few of your posts, I truly hope that China is learning how to take care of their little girls, and that the Hunaan incident is isolated. I have adopted two daughters from China and would not give them up for the world. I would die protecting them. I will do everything in my power to give them the best childhood, and hopefully the best oppurtunity to live a productive and happy life when they are older. That being said, it does cause me a great deal of pain to think there could have been "ethical issues" with the way they became available for international adoption. I would not trade my children for anything in the world, and no child deserves to spend any time in an orphanage; as much as it pains me to say, and as special as my children are to me, hopefully there will not be a legitimate need for internation adoption from any country in the future. If China is truly starting to take care of their own, it would be a blessing. However, I am not fully convinced of this yet.

Anonymous said...

I have been watching the PBS series the last couple of weeks on TV and it realy reminded me that China is not the US.

With the corrupt local Sheriffs running wild, it is ammazing that we have not seen more "issues" with IA.

Anonymous said...

"However, one thing I do know. If my husband and myself were to drop out of the program, one less orphan would find his/her forever family. Of course I know that the next family in line would gladly adopt "our" child. But down the line... one less child would find a home."

You can't possibly "know" this. What you are suggesting is the supply of adoptive parents is limited and the supply of healthy children limited only by the Chinese government. In reality, the supply of adoptive parents is being limited by the government. There seems to be no shortage right now and should one develop, the Chinese will relax the new restrictions. All healthy infants the CCAA wants to be adopted internationaly are going to find a home.

stan said...

When children are abandoned, do the parents go outside of their village to neigboring village or largr city to do so. Or is it so common and "expected"and no one takes a second look if a woman obviosly pregant shows up one day no long with child.

Anonymous said...

"All healthy infants the CCAA wants to be adopted internationaly are going to find a home." But that's my point exactly. If and when China decides to stop international adoption, they will likely say something like "those not logged-in by X day..." China has always provided referrals to those that meet their current criteria. They will provide referrals to all those logged-in up until the day they determine. Therefore, the number of children adopted internationally is, in fact, determined by the number of qualified families wishing to adopt. If a qualified family chooses not to apply, one less child goes home. There is no guarantee these children would be referred to domestic families instead. (Although I would like to think that if they stop IA it would be because they are confident that they can place all children domestically.)

D.

Anonymous said...

"China has always provided referrals to those that meet their current criteria. They will provide referrals to all those logged-in up until the day they determine. Therefore, the number of children adopted internationally is, in fact, determined by the number of qualified families wishing to adopt."

China modifies its criteria to reduce demand. The demand for healthy infants is much higher than the supply of adoptable infants. Therefore the number of children adopted internationally is determined by the supply of Children not parents.

This is unlikely to change unless infertilty rates drop or women suddenly decide they don't want to be mothers. I don't see either happening anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post to a point. We are really entering a period of unknowns and everything is conjecture/ speculation at this time.

If the number is true of 25,000 in process applications in December 06, plus a rush of applications in anticipation of the new rules - you could potentially have up to 40,000 pending applications in June.

The China program, be it fewer available children, an internal IA quota, Hague implementation, limited CCAA recourses (I believe it to be a combination of all these) has a real issue with supply and demand. Bottom line - the wait times can only get longer.

I know if I were adopting again, China would not be my first choice - Not because of any internal / ethical questions with the system or lack of desire in the China program, but rather the uncertainty and knowingly accepting this uncertainty and potential long wait.

I applaud those who are patient, but two- three years is a very long time to be waiting. I would recommend to a childless couple to look at all options before putting all their efforts into China at this time. The stress on a marriage, and unless you are strong enough to keep your life going and not get absorbed in it all, will have an effect on you - particularly if you have gone through a lot of infertility treatments.

To those who stay - in the end it is worth it and I would not change our decision to adopt, but it dose not come without an emotional and personal cost, which can only be magnified with certain long wait times and how you choose to live your life during those wait times.

Anonymous said...

Stan,

I feel qualified to answer your question. I live in China and have spent the last 3.5 years working in an orphanage.

Most people go outside of their area to abandon children that are old enough to talk- we know this because they come in speaking a strange dialect. Not Mandarin or our local dialect.They can't tell the ayis where they live because they are too young to know. I'm sure for infants, it doesn't matter as long as they can abandon them without being caught.

For the other question, it is common for a pregnant woman to "have her baby" and then her husband shows up and says that the baby died. It would take an idiot to believe that all these babies are dying in childbirth, it is logical that many of them are the abandoned babies that are found in train stations, hospitals and alongside the road.

I have seen it and heard it from the mouths of our ayis (nannies that work in the orphanage)I don't post this lightly, I only post what I know to be true.

Research-China.Org said...

Additionally, the birth mothers I have spoken with have all been from neighboring villages, not their own village. Thus, I believe that most babies are found close to their birth parents, but not right next door. That said, often there is a connection between the finding location and the birthparents.

Brian

Anonymous said...

If I may ask, do you think that abandonment is done for the express purpose of having the child brought up in an orphanage, or are some of these children being "exposed" as a form of infanticide? I guess I'm asking, are there many baby girls found dead, or are most being left safely to be found soon after their abandonment?

Research-China.Org said...

It is a little hard to know, as we only know about the ones that are found alive. My belief is that most children are left with the idea that the finder will raise them (if left at a person's house, business, etc.) or will be cared for by the state (orphanage, hospital, etc.) I don't think many people would intentionally leave a child to die.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian, I appreciate your viewpoint on a lot of things, in fact, we often think alike. However on this post, there are a few statements that I question.
First, you are bashing an adoptive parent, not necessarily for her viewpoint, but for the numbers that she maintains for her viewpoint. The numbers are not as important as the theory she presents. You state that she's only visited one or two SWIs and draws her conclusions from that. And you know this because??? It seems you are placing the same (but your own) ignorance onto her statements as you claim she and other adoptive parents have. If you are going to draw conclusions that you consider to be fact, then please do not bash others for your assumptions. It discredit's your thesis.

Secondly, you refer a few times about the survey that you conducted with rural families, concerning selective abortions. No matter how many RURAL families you survey, your results should always be the same. The reasons for that are obvious, and two fold. Rural familes would not have in their budget to hire a doctor willing to perform an abortion. Also, IF they did, poorer class people would be much less likely to admit it because they can not afford to be repremanded, and taken away from the only source of income they might have, -their contributions to manual labor, even if it's for just a little while. Have you considered conducting a servey with city folks? If you don't then your stitistics mean very little.

And third, from what I understand, the Chinese officials are NOT claiming there are not enough healthy children, they are claiming there are not enough PAPER READY, healthy children. BIG difference there! Regardless, it makes perfect sense to me that they would want to keep and raise more healthy girls in an SWI's, so that there will be more to marry and more to do laborous work in the future.
I also think, that in a comunistic country, such as China, there's a lot of governmental influence to "say the right thing", and people will, for fear of being impressioned. You don't hear much about the criminal elements in China, and their prison and/or repremand system is most likely the reason for that.
Just out of curiosity, how many SWIs have you been to personally, to view SN children vs healthy children in each institute? Sure, Ms. Russell visted maybe one or two....but I have also visited two (once in 2004 and once in 2006), there were a lot of healthy children running around or being tended to, both times. I also have several online friends that have gone to one or two SWIs and seen the same thing. When one considers not just one or two visits from one person....but rather, 50 or more visits from various people that I of know....Then it becomes more clear that some of what Ms Russle says, might be accurate information. Instead, you expose ONE person's experience, you then shove it aside and present your argument, which is based on larger elements than her own. You are comparing your findings to hers (your findings are obviously larger than one adoptive parent's findings) But if you combine the findings of all adoptive parents that have gone to different SWIs, that would be a larger findings and more of a variety for the survey than your own....So, it's all relative.
That said, I do believe there are less healthy children that are paper ready, but I do not believe there is a substantial decrease of healthy children.

Research-China.Org said...

Anonymous brings up some interesting points, which deserve to be revisited.

First, the abortion issue is obviously unanswerable given the current data. Any published figure (from humanitarian groups, etc.) are just guesses. The Chinese simply don't publish accurate figures. Additionally, availability of ultrasound technology does not indicate that families utilize that technology to perform sex-selection abortions. They may, but again this whole discussion is based on conjecture and supposition, not any hard data.

As far as visiting orphanages is concerned (and I have stated this several times already), walking into an orphanage and seeing children walking around being tended proves nothing. I have been in over 60 orphanages, and even my experience shows nothing. One simply can't determine the status of children by "walking around". Are those children healthy? Is their paperwork in process? Unless one asks such questions, visual assessments are meaningless.

Anonymous tries to once again bring up the assertion that there is somehow a large difference between available children and "paper-ready" children. This assertion is made by mis-informed people who simply have not even asked a director to explain the process. There is no difference. The directors submit the paperwork for all healthy children to the Civil Affairs (which then forwards the paperwork to the CCAA for international adoption) almost as soon as they are found. There is no financial, moral, or procedural reason not to. Whenever I visit an orphanage, I inquire as to the status of the children we see, and I have NEVER had a director say, "Although these children are healthy, we want to keep them here so that "there will be more to marry and more to do laborous work in the future."" Such thinking is ridiculous.

So, although I can appreciate the witness of adoptive families visiting orphanages, their evidence is usually of little value unless they dig deeper and gain insight into the health and status of those children.

Ms. Russell is like many adoptive families. She went to China thinking that the orphanages were (are) full of children needing homes, and is now unwilling to alter that paradigm when conflicting information is presented. The CCAA, logic, and my research conclusively shows that this is no longer the case.

Brian

the cady chase said...

Our daughter is from Hefei. She was found at 4 days old, and her referral picture was taken when she was 10 months old. In her SWI, she played in a playroom on the 3rd floor with ONLY NSN children, and there were many children there in that room when we visited. The SN children were on a different floor, regardless of their severity. This was made very clear to us during the visit.

If your conclusion is correct, that it is not based on paper ready children instead of healthy children, and that all the NSN children are available for adoption almost immediately, and information is sent to CCAA usually within days of being found, then;
1. it would seem that there would have been many less children in her age group, in the playroom, in her age group, playing around when we visited. This was a floor specifically for NSN children.
2. It took, apparently, 10 months after finding her, for the director of the SWI to submit her information to CCAA. So, this does not substantiate your claim that they are sent to CCAA usually after finding them. Or perhaps it is just the way that this particular SWI operates.
3. If all healthy children are submitted for adoption from every SWI that adopts IA, then there would be more (possibly as many) children adopted from the Hefei SWI as any other SWI that participates in IA. But that is not the case. I've searched and searched, and have only found a few adoptive families that state they adopted a child from Anhui province or the Hefei SWI. All three of the children in our group were between 13 and 17 months old, and all three had been there since early infancy.
So, your previous statements
"There is no difference. The directors submit the paperwork for all healthy children to the Civil Affairs (which then forwards the paperwork to the CCAA for international adoption) almost as soon as they are found."
does not seem to apply to at least one SWI.

Research-China.Org said...

I appreciate Cady Chase bringing specific information to the table. I happen to be familiar with the Hefei orphanage, and here is the current situation there:

There are currently several hundred children in the Hefei orphanage, 95% of which are special needs. Last year (2006) over 40 children were adopted by international families.

Hefei's paperwork process is nearly identical to that outlined in this essay. The orphanage waits two months before any paperwork is prepared in order to evaluate the healthy and demeanor of the child. The paperwork on all the adoptable children is then forwarded to the Civil Affairs Bureau for domestic or international adoption. Although referral photos, progress reports, etc. are taken a few months before the child is referred, the paperwork has been in the "pipeline" for much longer.

Parents must be careful before assuming that the paperwork that is received by them at referral is the first paperwork submitted by the orphanage.

I confirmed the number of children in Hefei this evening, and was told that there are very few healthy children in the orphanage.

Brian

the cady chase said...

wow Thanks Brian. That was info that I did not know. Guess we were the lucky ones to get a child from Hefei from the sounds of it. The SWI is in pristine condition and looks more like a well maintained day care center than an orphanage. And the work that Half the Sky does there is incredible. I did assume that the paper work was sent over at the same time as the referral photos, but it seems odd that some people get referred children as young as 6 months old, yet our children were all 13 months old or older at the time. Perhaps it's just a matter of when CCAA looks at the info sent in. We had asked for an older toddler so we were blessed with our request, but the other two were hoping for younger toddlers in the 6-9 month range.

Anonymous said...

I CANNOT believe your propoganda !!
You are very misinformed/ignorant person! How I WISH I could tell you what I saw in China last year it was DESPERATE inside the orphanage I went to so so so many children.Please for the sake of these children in China STOP this misguided crusade I beg of you

Research-China.Org said...

Dear Anonymous:

As is usually the case, another post from an anonymous poster with little specifics. If you wish to really provide counter-evidence, provide the name of the orphanage you visited. I can then do some investigation. You can do so to my e-mail BrianStuy@research-china.org.

Brian

Emily's Parents said...

The problem I encounter with this article is the same as I do with a number of your articles Brian, I find you to be inconsistent with your own writings.

"I estimate that there are around 250,000 children found every year which end up in China's orphanages (almost 40,000 in orphanages that do international adoptions). This figure is based on the number of finding ads placed in the Provincial newspapers each year, reporting the date and location for each foundling. How many are silently taken from the scene and raised in the village or town where they were found is unknown of course, but my instinct tells me it is also in the hundreds of thousands."

- Brian Stuy

http://research-china.blogspot.com/2005/08/chinas-missing-daughters.html

I really appreciated many of your articles back in 2005. Over time however, I feel you now mostly meander and drift around on matters related to China orphans and International adoption. Pesonally, I would like to see the old Brian back.

Research-China.Org said...

Dear Emily's Parents:

I'm not sure I follow your comment, but will try to respond.

Since we are not given a clear picture of all that happens in China, we must make assumptions based on what we do know. We know how many children are adopted outside China to the U.S. every year. We do know that last year that number was down 20% from 2005. We do know that China had a baby-trafficking scandal that resulted in a large adoption province being restricted for 5 months of 2006. We know that almost all the directors, when asked by a domestic Chinese family if they had any children available for domestic adoption, said no. These same directors also stated that the number of healthy children in their orphanages was going down every year. They also stated that they have long waiting lists of families that were interested in adopting.

We know that these same directors indicated that as soon as a healthy child reaches 3-6 months old, the paperwork is started to adopt them internationally.

We do know that financial considerations play a substantial role in orphanages, and that therefore there is little reason for a director to intentionally prevent a child from being adopted.

Now, we DON'T know exactly how many children are abandoned each year, how many are brought to the orphanages, how many are informally adopted by families in China, etc. But in the final analysis that doesn't matter as much as the one thing we do know: There no longer seems to be enough healthy children to satisfy both domestic and international adoption.

Brian

Anonymous said...

While I think this blog makes a tremendous amount of sense, it doesn't explain why there are still so many children which wait so long to have their files submitted. We continue to see older children, often with no special needs beyond age, come up on lists. There is no question in my mind that if our daughter's file had been submitted much earlier, she would have been adopted in a heartbeat (thank goodness for us, but not necessarily for her). So, if there is so much incentive for submitting files and there are no charges, why are there so many older children on waiting child lists...even while there are babies being submitted from the same orphanages?

Research-China.Org said...

Good question. I see the finding ads being placed for older children, and many of them are found at older ages. Others have SN that are being fixed or corrected. But if anyone can point to a specific example of a healthy older child being submitted, and the orphanage she is adopted from, we can do some research.

Brian

CyberPanhandler said...

Brian, I have an example for you. My daughter was abandoned at 2.5 months and was in foster care through Fuzhou SWI from that point until she was handed to me at 15.5 months. She was almost 14 months old when she was referred to me. he had no special needs and no history of illness. I traveled with 6 other families to Nanchang in July of 2006 to adopt our children from Fuzhou SWI. All 7 of the children were NSN and all were toddlers. My daughter, at 15.5 months then, was one of the youngest. One other was 15.5 months, and the other 5 ranged in age from 18 to 24 months. All had been found either shortly after birth or within a few weeks to 2.5 months of birth, all had been in foster care since being found, and none had any history of illness. While I thank my lucky stars every morning that my daughter is with me because I can't imagine any other child in her place, we all wondered why our children had not been referred much earlier to other families.

Research-China.Org said...

CyberPanhandler:

Fuzhou has an arrangement with the Linchuan #2 orphanage to process children brought to that orphanage. Thus, to determine why a delay was made, one must determine if your child was originally brought to Linchuan #2 or Fuzhou City.

You have a good example, and I would like to pursue it further. You can e-mail me privately and we can see where the delay took place.

Generally, a look at the "age at referral" statistics show that over the last year, the ages have been trending lower.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Dear Bryan: As an adoptive mother I am really grateful for all your work and investigations.
Please, is it possible to get a copy of the original police report transferring our daugther to the orphanage?. You write here about this document and I think this paper would be very valuable for our daugther in the future. May be it can provide some additional information about her finding.
Which would be the steps to follow in order to get it?.
Thank you very much.

Research-China.Org said...

The police report is available in your child's orphanage file, one of the only important documents that remains in the file. You might be able to obtain a copy by writing to the director. Seldom will you get a copy directly from the police, who usually simply refer you to the Civil Affairs officials.

Brian

Paper Research said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.