Sunday, September 22, 2013

The "Must Reads" of the Research-China.Org Blog

If you are reading this, you are probably an adoptive parent of a child from China, or interested in China's international adoption program.  Research-China.Org has been researching China's orphanages for over a decade, and the articles presented on this blog are written with adoptive families in mind.  But since we began this blog in August 2005, we have written over a hundred different articles.  Many were written in response to incidents of small import, others were in-depth investigative pieces written in response to major events in the history of China's adoption program.  Navigating these articles is laborious and time-consuming.  So, to make it easier for readers to find the "meat" of the blog, below are the ten most important articles we have published.  These ten articles will allow the reader to gain important insight and information on China's adoption program.

1)  "My Agenda" -- Adoptive families, like all people, are very emotional when it comes to their children -- the stories they tell them, how they perceive the program, and how their adoption journey is viewed by themselves and others.  If you write "rainbows and lady bug" stories supportive of China's program, you are welcomed and quoted.  But beware the day you speak out about a disrupted adoption, a bad experience with an orphanage, or point out and discuss articles about corruption:  Then you are looked at askance, your motives are questioned, and many begin to think you have an "agenda".  In most cases, this is a very simplistic view to take, but many use it to ignore information they are not prepared to learn.  This essay was written in response to those who question my "agenda".  Why do I work to inform adoptive parents of issues they should know about with respect to China's program in general, and their own child's adoption in particular?  Do I really want to end international adoption from China?  This essay answers these questions.

2)  "The Dark Side of China's 'Aging Out Orphan' Program" -- Nothing pulls on a heart string like the thought that a child will never be adopted.  In recent years, as the number of healthy young baby girls has declined, some orphanages have begun offering Western families older, "aging out" children.  Obstensibly children that have lived for many years in an orphanage, recent events show that in many cases, these children have been recruited from birth families under deception and intentional fraud.  If you are considering the adoption of an older "orphan," this investigative piece is a "must read."

3) "The Hague Agreement and China's International Adoption Program" -- Originally written for Adoptive Families Magazine, negative push-back from the China adoption community caused the editor to pull the article.  However, to date no more comprehensive essay into the ethical issues of China's international adoption program has been written.  The article is based on a comprehensive survey of all the orphanages involved in China's international adoption program in 2006, questions presented by a Chinese native seeking to adopt a child domestically.  The findings of this survey, combined with other data references, show that China's international adoption program runs aground of many of the Hague's prescriptions and goals.

4)  "The Finances of Baby Trafficking" -- Written just as the Hunan scandal of November 2005 was breaking, this essay is essential reading if one wants to understand why orphanages get involved in baby-buying.  The tension between domestic and international adoption is explored, as well as the hurdles orphanages place in the paths of families inside China who seek to adopt.

5) "What Are the Problems in China" -- To understand China's adoption program, it is necessary to take a journey back to its beginnings and trace the changes it has undergone.  In this way one can determine if the "China Myth" of millions of unwanted girls being abandoned is true today, or if not, when it was true.  An interview with an orphanage employee from Jiangxi Province discusses when their employer began baby-buying, and for what reasons.  This essay also discusses characteristics that allow an adoptive family to detect whether trafficking is occurring in their own child's orphanage. 

6)  The Hunan Scandal Explained -- Discerning adoptive families recognize that the Hunan scandal was a turning point in China's international adoption program.  Following the scandal, the number of available children declined sharply, and the wait time for families wanting to adopt a child increased from under a year to the current five years.  Was the Hunan scandal an isolated event, or was it simply the tip of the proverbial iceberg?  By knowing what happened in the scandal, readers are in a better position to determine that important fact.  A three-part article published by Deng Fei in the Shenzhen-based magazine "Fenghuang Weekly" represent the most accurate reporting on the background, causes and prosecution of those involved in the Hunan scandal.
a) Hunan -- One Year After -- Part One
b) Infant Trafficking: One Family's Story
c) Hunan, One Year Later III: Reactions & Reflections

7)  "Mirror, Mirror" -- How does a domestic family adopt a child inside China?  Do the Chinese submit dossiers to the CCAA?  Must they do home studies?  How much does it cost?  To gain insight into these and other questions we spoke with Jiang Lan, who together with her husband adopted an infant from the Huadu orphanage in Guangdong.  The differences between their journey and most adoptive families is fascinating.

8)  "Ripples" -- My research for nearly half of the last decade focused on getting police reports, photos, and other orphanage information for families.  That changed when I finally located and interviewed my daughter's foster mother in 2005.  In the blink of an eye, I came to recognize that the time my daughter spent with this family was transformative, and that this woman held the key to my understanding the orphanage program, as well as events in my own daughter's life. 

9) "Creating 'Paper-Ready Children'"-- The idea that a submission "quota" is in place, and that this quota explains the decline in adoptions, goes against all evidence and data.  This article details the steps involved in submitting a child for adoption by the orphanages, and a 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 coming into China's orphanages.

10)  "What to Tell, and When" -- Although each adoptive family approaches the presentation of information to their child differently (each child is, after all, unique), there does seem to be a tendency among some adoptive families to "overfeed" their children information.   This article works from the premise that we should empower our children to make the decisions of what they want to know and when.  By doing so, I believe we give them the power to determine their own identities.

If you would like to obtain a more detailed treatment of these topics, you will want to join our "Rest of the Story" subscription blog.  On that blog we analyze the adoption patterns of many orphanages in Hunan, Jiangxi, Chongqing, Guangdong, Guangxi and Anhui Provinces.  We have also discussed birth parent searching and other topics of immense interest.  The subscription fee is only $20 per year, and we guarantee you will find it worth every penny. 

We hope you find these articles enlightening.  If you have any questions about our other offerings, such as our Birth Parent Search Analysis, Finding Ads, Orphanage DVDs and Photos, or translation services, please let us know.

Monday, September 02, 2013

DNAConnect.Org is in the Air!

We announced on this blog a month ago the creation of a new searching tool to be utilized by adoptive families and Chinese adoptees interested locating birth families.

DNAConnect.Org has a simple purpose -- to allow DNA to be efficiently collected in China. As most readers are no doubt aware, in the past many opportunities have been lost to collect DNA from a birth family that is met in China, either while an adoptive family is on a "Heritage Tour" with their child, or when found through a "searcher." In the past, the high cost of buying a DNA kit, maintaining the contact information for the birth family, etc., have made collecting "non-familial" DNA unpractical.

Thanks to the generosity of the Chinese adoption community and others, we have raised funding to purchase the DNA vials in bulk. We have transferred some of those kits to China, and over the next few months will begin collecting DNA from known birth families in China. We have sufficient funds to process these samples for submission into a large U.S. DNA database, and are hopeful that matches will occur.

In order to foster transparency and increase accountability, we have recently added a Board of Directors. These four individuals are prominent members of the adoption community, either as adoptees, China adoptive families, or as members of the larger internaitonal adoption community. DNAConnect.Org's board will oversee fundraising, marketing, and community awareness. In this way it is hoped that DNAConnect.Org becomes a community effort, whose goal and objectives is simple: Provide our adoptive children with as many options as possible to search for and find biological relatives through DNA testing. 

As adoptive parents, all of us should realize that helping our children in this effort is one of our primary responsibilities. In the coming months we will be updating our DNAConnect.Org Facebook page with successes. We will detail where the DNA is being collected, how many matches are being found, etc.

We can use your help. Please spread the word in your adoption communities. "Like" us on FB, talk about us on your FCC groups, orphanage newsgroups, and other China adoption groups.  And consider being a financial supporter

The success of this project rests with the adoption community.  By supporting this project you will allow DNA to be collected and contact information with family members in China maintained.  If you are among our first supporters, you will have a "donation brick" placed on our wall of honor as one of the first supporters of this vision. 

DNAConnect.Org has the potential of changing the face of relative searching. Please join us in helping to "pay it forward."  The beneficiary may one day be you.