The implementation of China’s One-Child Policy led to a rise in children being put up for adoption – particularly girls – and also served as an attraction for Westerners looking to adopt what they believed to be unfortunate, abandoned children. And this became a pretty lucrative market for China, as John Leland, author of the New York Times article, For Adoptive Parents, Questions Without Answers, points out. So much so that certain provinces began trafficking children into their orphanages in order to receive a $5,000 donation per child from Western foreigners looking to adopt.
With the One-Child Policy in place, it might not make sense why trafficking children would even be necessary, especially since Leland’s first article focused on Chinese mothers whose second child was taken away. However, the policy does not mean that extra children are automatically taken away by the Chinese government, but that the families might be ineligible for certain government benefits if they opt to keep the child. That is not what happened, according to the birth mothers in this article. One of these women claims the Official who came to her door gave her two options: Give up her second child. Or undergo tubal ligation.
The companion piece to Leland’s first article called, One Answer to Adoption’s Difficult Questions, is even more chilling. The article chronicled one American adoptive mother’s experience in attempting to find out where her daughter’s birth mother was, and whether or not they had been separated forcibly.
It’s a frightening thought that you might wake up in the middle of the night to your adopted daughter – who was supposedly abandoned at 2 weeks old – crying, “I miss my birth mom.”
In the end, the adoptive mother was unable to find her daughter’s birth mother. She did, however, find the man who reportedly “found” her daughter before handing her over to the orphanage; he had never seen the girl before in his life.
Reading these two articles in conjunction has led me to agree with the adoptive mother in the second article (who is anonymous). If China is going to go through the motions of trafficking children, I think the unfortunate children who were separated from their parents are better off here as opposed to being in a country where they are considered a “luxury item” up for sale.
The adoptive parents interviewed in Leland’s first article seem to agree. All of the adoptive parents felt that while some might want their children to meet their birth parents, all of them would not even consider allowing their children to move back with the birth parents, even if they discovered that their child was abducted and placed in an orphanage. That would not be in the children’s best interest – especially when some are only learning about this corruption months if not years after they adopt.