Saturday, June 30, 2007

Where Are All The Babies....or.....The Blame Game Part 3

Part 3 in my series of commonly talked about reasons behind the slowdown of international adoptions in China.

  • The CCAA was recently in the U.S. and according to them, 4 out of 5 adoptions in China are domestic adoptions, leaving only 1 out of 5 for international adoptions. Hence, less babies for international adoption. The Chinese government has strongly promoted the domestic adoption program and according to them it has been very successful. I tried to do some research on domestic adoption on the CCAA website before this post, but was unable to get to the information I was looking for, so I do not have a lot of specifics on the domestic program. I have read that in the case of a domestic adoption that the Chinese government will waive the "one child rule". Of course, as with nearly everything that is involved with international adoption in China, there are many sides of this story. While the government agency who is responsible for child welfare has indicated that one of the reasons that there are fewer children for international adoption is that the children are being adopted domestically, many do not believe this is the case. There are many reasons behind why some do not believe that domestic adoptions are not as successful in China as reported. It is said to be unusual for a Chinese family to raise a child who is not a blood relative, historically in China there have been a large number or a)informal or b)adoptions within families. These adoptions are done privately and not part of the government regulated domestic adoptions. Another issue in domestic adoption is the financial aid obtained by individual SWI's for domestic adoptions versus international adoptions. I have read that several SWI directors are not interested in participating in domestic adoption because it is not as fiscally rewarding to the institute as an international adoption. As stated, I do not know the specifics of domestic adoption in China, but I do know that the individual SWI where your child comes from in international adoption receives a donation in the amount of $3000.00 USD from the adoptive parent(s). I think we can all safely assume that no one is paying this in domestic adoption. (I DO NOT think they should, by the way). The numbers of 4/5 of adoptions being domestic in China is at first glance kind of shocking, but when you break it down, it is really not a large number at all. Consider that if the CCAA completes approximately 10,000 international adoptions annually (with all countries, not just the U.S.), that would mean that there would be 40,000 domestic adoptions annually. Considering the population of China is approximately 1.3 billion, 40,000 seems like a very low number. Of course with that said, I did see the question of 4/5 adoptions in China being domestic posed to Dr. Jane Liedtke of OCDF and her response was "Don't believe 4/5 of all adoptions are domestic - that would put the number pretty high." If you a member of the yahoo group "Ask Jane in China", you can read her entire post in reference to this subject here:

So again, as with the prior issues regarding international adoption in China.....everyone has an opinion. And of you know what they say opinions are like....and everyone has one. Lol

By the way if you are in the process of adopting from China, I would strongly suggest you join the Yahoo group "Ask Jane in China". Dr. Jane Liedtke is living in Beijing raising her adopted daughter and runs OCDF "Our Chinese Daughters Foundation". Its a good source of no nonsense information. Ask a question, you'll get a straight unsolicited comments...just ask and answer. I like it!

Where Are All The Babies....or....The Blame Game Part 2

Continued from the previous post, here is yet another reason/excuse/theory...on what is behind the slowdown in adoptions from China.

Maybe I should change the title of this post to: Saving Face and the 2008 Olympics.
  • It has been said that one of the reasons for the slowdown is the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Here is the theory...Chinese people are very proud people, very concerned about appearances and about "saving face" as we would say in the U.S. Part of Chinas goal with the 2008 Olympics is to show the rest of the world how progressive the country is, that it should be considered a growing industrialized nation and not a third world country. Certainly as the Olympics grows closer, there will be more scrutiny, more stories of practices and way of life in China. For at least the past 5 years, more children were adopted internationally from China than from any other country. It is an issue of pride with Chinese officials that they do not want to be seen as a country who is "unable to take care of it's own". Hence the any reporting on the issue would potentially be positive for China....IE. just look at the decline in adoptions....abandonment is no longer an issue....children are no longer languishing in substandard care in orphanages....we as a country have evolved and take care of our own. Or so that is the theory of some. I don't know, this seems incredibly harsh to me. But then again, I have read articles relating to preparations for the Olympics that have told stories of people being evicted from their homes and property in the governments efforts to clean up areas around Olympic venues, with these people being given little to no restitution for their loss. I have also read stories about how due to the amount of pollution in Beijing, the government has decided to have several coal burning power plants in the area (a major cause of this pollution) shut down during the Olympics. The issue with these ordered shutdowns???? It is going to leave tens of thousands of Chinese without electricity during the Olympics.

I understand the theory of nationalism in China. I understand their thought of "for the greater good of all" opposed to the individual. Regardless of if I agree or disagree with these theories, I do understand them.

BUT if my daughter has to stay in an orphanage for even one more day than is absolutely necessary before we can be united because of the Olympic GAMES...let me say that again GAMES, that is something I will NEVER be able to understand!

Where Are All The Babies....or.....The Blame Game Part 1

When I first started this post, I had in my mind about 4 or 5 reasons that I was going to discuss here. As I began with my first reason/thoughts, the post began to grow faster than I anticipated. Therefore I have decided that I will continue with this post on several separate posts....1 "reason" I want to address per post. J.

There are endless theories as to what is behind the slow down of adoptions from China. Certainly the most maddening part Pulling My Hair Out of the process is that they are exactly that....theories. No one knows for sure. Well, I guess that is not entirely true, I assume that some government agency in China, the CCAA or the SWI's???, have to know. But as anyone who has followed the roller coaster ride of international adoption knows...those in the "know" don't necessarily find it their responsibility to share this information.

So, lets cover a few of the "more popular" rumors/reasons for the slow down:
  • There are fewer abandonments in China. This one probably has an equal number of believers as non-believers. The "Believers" argument is that the "One Child Rule" is easing in China and even where the law is fully enforced, that families are making more money and are able to afford the financial penalty of having more than one child. There is also the argument that the population is becoming more educated in birth control, therefore less unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Another side of this argument deals with the age old practice of the cultural bias preference for males vs. females, some say that with new generations that this practice is not as prevalent as in the past. The "Non-Believers", whose theory are that there are just as many abandonments as in the past, have their own compelling arguments as well. The argument of enforcement of the "One Child Rule" easing in China is highly debated. There are many, very disturbing, stories of forced abortions as well as forced sterilization within China by the Family Planning Officials. Here is a link to an article regarding this subject: The issue that people have a higher standard of living in some cases is correct, but as you will see from the story linked, apparently some are not being given the option of paying a fine for a second child (girl) even if they have the ability. The other argument regarding the financial status is the standard of living has increased in many urban cities in China, but the rural areas remain poor and daily life is a struggle for many. Statistically it seems that most birthmothers of infant abandoments come from rural areas. Cultural bias for males over females can also be tied to financial stability in some cases. The bias for a male offspring is at least partially based on a families ability to survive in the future...for parents to be taken care of in their old age. Since daughters get married, leave their family, and become part of their husbands family, their is no assurance for the parents to have someone to provide for them once they are elderly and unable to provide for themselves. It seems that the lessening of this cultural bias for male offsprings for the current generation is dependent primarily on two things....the standard of living of the couple as well as the pressure provided by the families of these couples. Pressure from past generations, particularly grandparents, plays a lot into the bias for a male offspring. Apparently, in China, as with a lot of other places in the world...."You can't teach and old dog new tricks".

to be continued...........

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Signs That We Have Waited Too Long For A Referral From China be honest, I "borrowed" the idea for this post from a post that was on Rumor was a very funny Top 10 List. I do not have 10, but I do have some very good indications that this wait has gone on for too long:
  1. I have a co-worker who, when we started the adoption process, was single, in college and very dedicated to her future professional career opportunities. We used to joke that she was "out to rule the world". Well, since that time, she has finished college, met a man, dated this man, married said man and yes....about 3 months ago had a baby girl!
  2. While we were working on the paperwork for our dossier, Tom and I asked our dear friends Stacia and Dustin if they would consider being our child's legal guardian if something would happen to both of us. I was hesitant to ask at that particular time, because Stacia was actively trying to get pregnant and things weren't necessarily going as planned. But we did end up asking them and we are so grateful that they happily agreed. Shortly after, Stacia did end up getting pregnant and we spoke about how our daughters would grow up together and be best friends. Well, they now have an incredibly beautiful, funny daughter. Bella is absolutely one of the cutest kids you have ever seen! We went to her first birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Hmmmm....looks like there is going to be a bigger age difference than we originally thought. Oh well, I'm sure Bella will make a wonderful "big sister"!
  3. Shortly after we submitted our paperwork, I started working on the nursery. I must have looked at hundreds of sets of crib bedding on-line before I decided on one. It is is a "Glenna Jean" set and the pattern (by coincidence) is called "Asia". I think that the set was pretty popular because I had to wait to get it because it was back-ordered. Ironically though, the bedding has now been discontinued! Discontinued....Before we even used it! Guess it is a good thing I got everything I wanted when I first ordered it and didn't wait!
  4. Tom historically goes back to Michigan at least once a year in the fall to attend a U of M football game. It has become an annual tradition for him and his son. Last year he thought maybe he "shouldn't" go....that it was an unnecessary expense, since we were going to have a new baby. As the time got closer and we were no where near a referral I told him "you might as well go ahead and may be the last time for awhile" and suggested to him that the rule after Willow came home was that he could go again as soon as she was big enough to go with him! we are.....almost the beginning of July, not to long again until Michigan football starts again...Go Blue! And once again, I hear myself saying...."you might as well go ahead and go............"

Sometimes I just have to laugh about all of this....because if I couldn't laugh, I might cry!

You Cannot Change The Truth

We attended an "Adoption Preparation" class given by a social worker ,who specializes in international adoption, several months ago. The following piece was in our packet with information from the class. I like this piece a great deal and thought I would share it with you adoptive parents who may not have seen it yet.


You cannot change the truth
These are your children
But they come from somewhere else
And they are the children of those places
And of those people as well

Help them to know about their past
And all about their present
Help them to know that they are from extended families
That they only have one parent or set of parents
But that they have more mothers and fathers
They have grandfathers, godfathers, birthfathers and fatherlands
They have family by birth and by adoption
They have family by choice and by chance

Childhood is short
They are our children to raise
They are our children to love
And then they are citizens of the world

What we do to them creates the world that we live in

Give them life
Give them their truth
Give them all that they came with
Give them all that they grow with

Your children do not belong to you
But, they belong with you
You cannot keep them from what is theirs
But, you can keep loving them

You do not own your children
But, they are your own.

Written by Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, with love to adoptive parents.
Dr. Pavao is Director of the Center for Family Connections in Cambridge, MA.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ladybugs and The Red Thread

Ladybugs are a sign of good luck in the Chinese adoption community. The story goes that if you see a ladybug that referrals will be received soon. There are MANY stories of this happening in the adoption community...too many, I think to be a coincidence. Believe
I guess I will REALLY believe when/if I see one just before we receive our in the desert in AZ, I don't think I've ever seen one here. I'm not even sure if we have ladybugs in AZ!

The Red Thread is an ancient Chinese belief that "An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break." From some of the research I have done, apparently this belief actually originally was in relation to "couples" whom would end up being married, but somewhere along the way it got "adopted" by the adoption community as relating to adoptive parents and their children. I believe this one too! I have a very strong feeling that there is a specific baby girl in China who will be Willow....not just any baby....OUR baby.

There is a childrens book, Little Miss Ladybug & Her Magical Red Thread, by Karen Acres, that combines these 2 beliefs about Chinese adoption. It is a cute story for children and the book has wonderful illustrations by Louise Pomminville.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day

Well, another Father's Day and Mother's Day have gone by and we are still "Waiting For Willow". Judy and I thought that 2006 was going to be the last Mother's and Father's Day that we would spend without Willow and now another one has gone by and we are still waiting. We are hopeful that this one will be the last but truth being told we really aren't sure that is true. The wait continues to get longer and things do not seem to be picking up in China. We are optimistic that our adoption will happen but we certainly do not know when.

This Father's Day was really hard on me because it coincided with the 22nd anniversary of my daughter's passing. June 17, 1985 the day after Father's Day, my 11 year old daughter Christina (Tina) was hit by a car and died instantly. She was a child from my previous marriage along with a son, Christopher who stills lives in Michigan and is 38 now. I still miss her.

Judy and I have been trying to stay busy and not think about the wait and this weekend discussed changing things around in the house for the long awaited Willow arrival. We have decided to move my home office from the library to one of the front bedrooms. We were going to make the bedroom a play room for Willow because it is right next door to her bedroom. It makes more sense to move it to the library because it is next to the great room and kitchen where we will be spending most of our time with her. It will allow me some privacy when I have home office days because there are no doors on the library. It also will allow me to do something that I have wanted to do since we moved here almost four years ago and that is decorate it completely in University of Michigan (my passion) stuff. I'm pumped up. I have U of M things in my office now but I'll have more wall space in the other room. Now we have something to do while we wait.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

CCAA Update

Well, referrals are out for June. The cut off is November 7, 2005. This means they referred 7 days since last months referrals....sadly....really only 5 days considering that 2 of these days were the weekend!
I just did the math and this leaves 108 days total or 78 week days of LID's until they get to us on February 16, 2006.
What does this mean? Who knows?! There really has not been any rhyme nor reason to referrals for many months. And you really can't estimate based on the number of days, because the number of families logged in varies by day. According to all the polls and "guesstimates" out there from various sources, November is a pretty big month and will take some time to get through. So...we wait....and wait....some days more patiently than others. But always knowing that one day our beautiful Willow will be coming home and all will be as it should be!
Congratulations to all who received referrals this month!
If you check out the link to the "Rumor Queen" she always has a great list of links on her site to individual families websites who have just received their referral information. There you can see pics of all the new babies!