Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Ultimate Resource: Orphanage Data Books

I didn't realize when I began collecting finding ad newspapers in 2002 just how much valuable information they would provide. At that time, orphanages didn’t provide the finding ads to adoptive families; the ads were simply an “internal” procedural artifact required by the Chinese government in order for a child to be internationally adopted. As our collection of finding ad newspapers grew, I began to realize that the information contained in the ads could provide a picture of a different nature, a demographic picture, of an orphanage’s adoption program. By compiling the finding ages, genders, health data, finding location, and even, in some cases, the Chinese names themselves, I was able to draw important conclusions about the children's finding circumstances, such as whether the location was frequently cited by the orphanage, how common a child’s finding age was, and whether there were patterns that displayed non-random findings. With all of the data from a particular orphanage, I found I could compare a single finding—the proverbial “tree”—against the backdrop of the entire “forest” of findings from that orphanage.

Although we are able to synthesize the data from the finding ads into a very informative Birth Parent Search Analysis or Orphanage Reliability Analysis for adoptive families, in those reports we are only able to touch the surface of an orphanage's finding data. We are excited to now be able to offer adoptive families the opportunity to obtain the finding ad data for their child's orphanage as early as 1999, compiled and organized into a beautiful, 6"x9" hardbound book.

Our data books tabulate the information contained in the finding ads for every child submitted for international adoption from that orphanage from either 1999 when the finding ads started, or from when the orphanage joined the international adoption program.

We are currently releasing the books for Guangdong Province, but will have Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangxi, Anhui and other Provinces available in 2013. The Orphanage Data Books come complete with beautiful illustrations, a helpful introduction, and a summary of orphanage information that will allow adoptive families to identify other children found at the same finding location or on the same day, detect patterns not covered in our analysis reports, or just possess all of the primary data for their child's orphanage.

Not only will the publication of the records in the Orphanage Data Books be of interest and use to adoptees and their families, the finding ads represent a historical record of the tens of thousands of children adopted internationally from China, much like the immigration records of Ellis Island tell a story of the 12 million people who migrated to the United States between 1892 and 1954. Although of limited importance at the time they were created, the Ellis Island records are now actively mined for individual and collective information by direct descendants of the immigrants.

We are very confident that adoptive families will treasure this record of their child's orphanage for years to come.