Thursday, December 22, 2005

P.S. My Final Word on Hunan

Since posting my letter to the CCAA, I have been praised and pelted (mostly anonymously) for doing so. Many claim my arrogance at even approaching the CCAA, and many spoke from fear that the CCAA would be so offended that they would stop adopting to foreigners.

It is the unfortunate reality that my work in researching has deep concerns at the CCAA. I am not sure what exactly they are afraid of, but it seems we are locked in a power struggle to control the information that is received by adoptive families. I have had many experiences with directors that wished they could convey to their families information regarding birth parents, notes, pictures, etc., but were strictly prevented from doing so.

Due to my desire to protect directors and others who cooperate in providing information to families, I have become hypersensitive to being obscure and vague when making reference to conversations. "Certain meetings" are left chronologically undefined, because I am afraid the CCAA can determine who was at the meetings, and track down my sources. So, I am always required to change names, places, cities, etc. to mask the originator of my information.

The Hunan baby trafficking story has been building for years. If it wasn't for the very brave orphanage worker (and few of us can comprehend how brave this person was) that exposed the trafficking ring to the Shanghai newspaper, it would, without a doubt, have never been revealed, and all of us would have continued assuming that ALL of our kids were orphans. But the reality is that the CCAA was probably aware of this ring for several years. In early 2004 all of the orphanages in Western Guangdong Province had their records audited at the request of the CCAA. At the time, it was asserted that the reason for the audit was that there was apparently no slow-down in foundlings in Western Guangdong that had been experienced in most other areas of China, and there was concern "that the orphanages were engaged in baby-trafficking." At the time I learned of this I assumed that this was just a curiosity investigation, and found it affirming that most of the orphanages passed muster. The one orphanage that did not, Huazhou, apparently kept faulty or incomplete records.

Now, I have asked several Guangdong directors if, in light of recent discoveries in Hunan, the director in Huazhou was involved in baby trafficking. No one knows for sure. I personally find the whole timing of these events to be very suspicious. I don't know if Huazhou was involved, but press reports indicate orphanages in Guangdong were involved, and that this has been going on for many years.

Some have faulted me for releasing information concerning the closure of Hunan “based on rumor”. In this I have to respectfully disagree. I received valid, reliable information (information which is now being shown to have been accurate) concerning the change in status for Hunan from a director of one the orphanages. As others have posted, this closure was also communicated in the CCAA’s internal memos to most of the orphanages in the area. I stand by the accuracy of my reporting.

So, to those of you that feel I should have remained quiet, and not antagonize the CCAA, and "let them do their investigations," I would respond that the CCAA WAS investigating, and quietly cleaning up the mess. In all likelihood, if the Shanghai paper had not broken this news, we would never have heard anything about it. The financial realities of the international baby market that I have written about would have continued, and perhaps in another city another director might have made a similar deal with the devil.

But fortunately, the press did hear about this story. Now the world is watching, exerting pressure on China to make changes. Not to just fire those involved, but to arrest them. "Face-saving," is no longer an option in much of this. I believe it falls on us, as adoptive parents, to put aside our own self-interests and put as much heat as possible on the CCAA to insure that this never happens again. Never!!!!!

Was my letter arrogant? I don't think so. It was an attempt to show that this story is not simply an "China" story, one that can be censored and made to go away. This is a story that potentially effects your child and mine. It is my hope that it will spur them to really clean house, and make changes that will insure that the children we adopt from China, not just today but also next year, are truly who we think they are.



Anonymous said...

Brian, I have read the comments in your previous blog entry and I'm sadden that so many writers are so judgemental. I know your work well. You did a wonderful service for the parents of Fuzhou, Jiangxi, as well as the foster parents of our children. Without the opportunity to see through your eyes, I would never have seen where my daughter spent the first nine months of her life. I would not have "met" the elderly gentleman who was her foster father. I admire your professionalism, but even more, the love that drives you to find out answers. You are professional, ethical and caring, and anyone who says otherwise doesn't know you. Truth is truth, no matter where it is found. For years, we've told each other not to say anything to upset the CCAA, that they read APC and PAC, that they're anxious to find any reason to shut down adoptions. I never believed it then, and time has proven me correct. The CCAA has made many, many improvements to the system because they want what's best for the children in their charge. I think they will do the right thing here, too. But sometimes you have to speak truth to power, and you are doing that.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work Brian!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that we have someone like you who is able to get information and stories that we could never get. Our children (and us parents as well) deserve so much more information than we are given. I'm thankful that you share the info you gather.

You should note that if a poster wants to leave a name they must become a blogger and start a site, which many of us find too much to deal with for a simple response.


Anonymous said...

I do not follow the press and would not have known about this story had it not been for your blog.

Reading the entries you've posted has really given me somethings to think about and I thank you for it.

Brian- We may have been in China at the same time back in April 1998. We were there late March/ early April. You?

Have a wonderful holiday with your family!

Lorraine (I can't remember my blogger password to log on and post under my username).

Anonymous said...

Brian- I thought the comments made to you anonymously showed only cowardice on the part of the writer. I believe as a parent I have the right to information about my daughters' history. People who are so willing to give up on the truth about their kids for fear of offending someone will lose an opportunity forever.

Your work and comments are valuable. Keep blogging.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for everything you are doing.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those waiting Hunan families that spent last weekend on pins and needles after your "announcement" that Hunan was closed to adoptions. I have to respectfully disagree with your assessment that you have been proven correct.. Hunan is NOT closed to adoption... a few orphanages reportedly are but when you make a blanket statement such as Hunan (which implies the entire province) is closed you caused tremendous stress and worry. I think you should have been more careful in your choice of words... you write quite eloquently for your blog, you appear to know the power of words. I understand and respect the need to keep sources confidential to protect them but making such a huge prouncement without official confirmation deserves at least some background to give people the opportunity to judge the validity for themselves.. especially when such a prouncement is made on a weekend when every government office and agency is closed. I say again sir that you owe many people an apology. I am not anonymous, I am not "pelting" you with insults, I am respectfully expressing the hurt that you caused my family.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but my english is very poor. I'll speak spanish and I wish that someone can understand me.
Brian, yo no creo que tu carta al CCAA haya sido arrogante. Al contrario, es el único lugar donde he visto un poco de "luz" en relación a este tema. Creo que todos los que adoptamos a nuestras hijas en China lo hicimos, entre otras razones, por la claridad y la legalidad del proceso. Pero desde que conocimos el asunto del tráfico de niños, mi marido y yo no podemos quitarnos de la cabeza dos cosas: una, por supuesto que adoptamos legalmente a nuestra hija, pero ¿cómo sabemos que ella era realmente una niña abandonada? ¿cómo sabemos que ella es quien realmente nos dijeron que era? ¿cómo le explicaremos a ella su historia? ¿cómo sabemos que, aun involuntariamente, no hemos formado parte de un sucio proceso en el que nunca hubiésemos participado de haber sabido lo que sabemos ahora? ¿quién y cómo nos puede garantizar que nuestra adopción deriva del abandono y no del robo de una niña?
No creo que ante todas estas preguntas, que estoy segura que nos hacemos muchos, callar sea lo mejor. Callar nos hace cómplices; no me parece que eso sea prudencia.

Anonymous said...


Your Hunan "investigations" seem to be "ill placed efforts" China is a country of 1 billion +. Nothing is perfect there, nor in any other country.
CCAA has operated with the highest standards over many years.
You remind me of the guy who has little else to do but try to make trouble where there is none.

Anonymous said...

I have to say your original post was the biggest self-aggrandizement that I’ve read in a long time. I doubt seriously the CCAA thinks much about you at all. Your post doesn’t even make sense. You want people to put “heat” on CCAA? How? To what end? In the end, I believe you would hurt the real adopted daughter’ futures more than you would “force” a government’s hand. Think about this carefully before you answer to yourself. Your comment about “defensive move to prevent closure” impugns their motives. A large agency, and you believe you have to pressure them to do the right thing. Just like the US, China has a majority of the citizens and employees that care about those girls as much as you or I. It is extremely condescending to state that without the press, and your pressure, they wouldn’t do the right thing and that only one person in the entire agency cared enough to take action. You are indeed very arrogant. Your logic doesn’t even make sense.

-China’s press is controlled and can’t report on CCAA’s issues.
-Only corrupt governments fear disclosures from free press
-We believe the Chinese Government is not corrupt.

Your first two premises lead to the logical conclusion that CCAA and the press-controlling government are corrupt. Finally, how exactly do you expect CCAA to allow free press in a country when they are a tiny fraction of the governmental infrastructure and govern a very narrow aspect of Chinese affairs. The CCAA doesn’t control the press, the CCAA is controlled by a much bigger entity in the Chinese Government. It’s like asking the FDA in the US to cut the federal tax rate rate. That’s even if I buy the free press lock-down on this.

When Bill Gates went to China with Warren Buffet many years ago, he commented to the government officials on how to “do things right.” He was told by a high-ranking government official to do a little reading about China, its people and history before he should comment and suggest how they should do things. I’m just asking you to think about the impact of your words on people before you send them. You were extremely rude, and in my opinion you owe CCAA an apology.