China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Attachment Articles and Information

Just saw a list-serv post talking about an attachment website with lots of info.

Link is here:

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Which Adoption Is Right For You?

free video hosting
Free Video Hosting

New list of 20 special needs children

Posted by: "carolnelson21" carolnelson21
Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:10 am (PST)

We will have our new list of 20 children available in a day or two, if
anyone is interested please email me and I will send you the info when
it is ready. They are too precious!

Carol Nelson
Director of Intake
Christian World Adoption

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Digging for roots

By Ron Hollander
Updated: 2007-09-14 07:40

Children on the roots-seeking tour at the Children's Palace in Shanghai. Ron Hollander

The handmade signs in the shapes of apples and hearts bobbed above the heads of the beaming grade school children lining the driveway of Qi Yi primary school, in Beijing's Haidian District.

Clad in red scarves and blue and white uniforms, the Chinese children welcoming us strained to hold their signs high, so we could see them through the tinted windows of our air-conditioned bus.

They read like a who's-who of the American, Canadian and Australian children on our tour: Tara, Tayler, Kim Lisa, Sarah Lian Wenhui, and my own daughter, Mei Ming ("beautiful and bright").

It was the second day of the Families With Children Adopted From China Roots-Seeking Summer Camp trip, in which 44 children and as many parents were returning to the motherland for 12 days to immerse themselves in the country of their birth. The program, founded in 2005, is 55 percent subsidized by the Chinese government, so that the approximately 73,000 children - mostly girls - adopted from China can learn about their birth-culture.

"Wherever they go in the world, they will always remain our children, too," said Lei Zhengang, deputy director of the Culture and Education Department associated with the China Overseas Exchanges Association. "We have sympathetic feelings for our children abroad, and they will always be linked to our Chinese traditional culture."

At the school, the mostly American children piled off the bus, to search for their names and the children holding them. Mei Ming, adopted in Wuhan in 1995 when she was 5 months old, quickly found her Chinese counterpart. While the Qi Yi marching band played, they soon walked off hand-in-hand for a tour of the school.

One of the goals of the Heritage Tour is for the adopted children to learn about China. Mei Ming approached that through her own, suburban New Jersey lens, asking her new friend how she got to school.

"So, do you take the bus, or do your parents drive you?" she naively asked. The answer: She walked or rode her bike.

That was just one, tiny nugget of cultural lore that my daughter and the others learned about what life would have been like had they remained in China. Everything from food (no cheeseburgers) to the cost of MP4 players (cheap, but are they authentic?) went into the mix. That was exactly how the parents wanted it.

"People have to understand where their roots are, where they came from," said Phil Strauss, a lean, outdoorsman who owns a parking business in Boston, and who is the father of 9-year-old Betty Jane. "Otherwise, there's a tremendous void when they grow up. As you get older, you start to wonder. I don't want that for BE-BE (Betty Jane)."

Other parents were similarly motivated to take the $675 trip ($985 for parents), excluding airfare - very reasonable compared to other private, non-government-supported heritage tours.

"Six months ago, my daughter Emma said: 'You're lucky, you have grandma, you know where you came from'," said Joni Robinson, an instructional coach for teachers in New Haven, Connecticut. "So, I realized it was time to give her a background, and then we'd all kind of be Chinese-American together."

Donna Ellis, a lawyer in New York, agreed. "Since the day I got Shayna (now 11), I knew I would make the pilgrimage back," said Ellis, who enlivened the tour by enthusiastically buying and irrepressibly modeling ethnic head dresses in every city. "I wanted her to see her birth-country, to experience what it's really like to be Chinese. That's something I can't give her, no matter how hard I try."

Or, as Robinson understatedly put it, "Going to Chinatown is just not the same".

This was the first summer that Canadian and Australian families were included on the tour, and parental sentiments knew no national boundaries. "I want Lilli to have a better appreciation for both cultures," said Patti Carr, of Ontario, Canada, of her 9-year-old daughter from Guangdong Province. "She will always have a dual identity, so I want her to understand both those identities."

Because the tour has grown, it has been split into two itineraries. Coordinating manager Lisa Kifer, who volunteers her time from Columbus, Ohio, and who herself is the mother of two girls adopted from China, anticipated that a third itinerary may be added.

The author with his daughter Mei Ming at a panda facility in Chengdu. Ken Horii

The entire group spent four days in Beijing at the beginning of the tour, and two days in Shanghai at the end. But in between, half went to Xi'an, Hangzhou and Suzhou, while my group toured Chengdu and Guilin, moving from plane to bus to cable car to foot at a needlessly dizzying pace that left us exhausted, and speculating: "If it's Tuesday, it must be Guilin."

Kifer said that the tour was a natural outgrowth of a government program begun in 1984 to bring Chinese children born or living overseas back to China for two weeks. One week would be spent seeing tourist attractions, while the other would be spent visiting their family's home province. That program is still conducted in even-numbered years, and now has thousands of participants.

But the unique aspect of the Children Adopted From China trip is that children who may be isolated and sometimes even ridiculed back home for bearing what their unenlightened classmates could view as the double stigma of being adopted and of being from China, now find themselves traveling with children exactly like themselves.

"I'm sort of embarrassed back home when I'm the only kid adopted from a different country on the other side of the world," said Betty Jane Moore-Strauss, 9. "But this makes me feel great, because I'm not embarrassed anymore."

"I don't feel different," said 9-year-old Danielle Comer from upstate New York, "because there's a lot of Chinese people around me now."

The older children on the tour, which has now brought families from 18 American states, with children adopted from 12 provinces, agree.

"It's a big relief to know what it really looks like," said Kifer's 12-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. "You know where you lived, and you don't have to think where you lived. It fills in a blank in you."

"It makes me more proud to say I'm from China," said Olivia Paradis, 13. "It's kind of sad if you're born in China and (have) never been here."

"Yeah," chimed in Mei Ming. "It's really pathetic."

Another special feature of the tour is that many families chose on their own to visit the orphanages from which their children were adopted, either before or after the tour. While for the parents this can be a nostalgic trip back to a wonderful moment in their lives - the culmination of years of dreaming about creating a family - for the children, this can be a daunting experience, fraught with nervousness and stirring up feelings of having been abandoned at birth.

Several of the parents said that while they were planning to visit the orphanage, their children weren't sure they wanted to go in, were afraid of being the center of attention and feared that they would find it dirty and depressing.

Mei Ming, who visited her welcoming and modern orphanage in Wuhan last year when she went on the tour with her mother, nevertheless said that it was not a happy experience.

"It disappointed me to think I was one of those kids that no one really wanted," she said. "I sort of regret going there. I imagined it special, but it was not. I was one of those kids who were useless, unimportant to their birth parents, just dumped somewhere."

Mei Ming, in the seventh grade in Montclair, New Jersey, also has her own, unique view of being among so many people who looked like her. "In the United States, me and my adopted friends are special," she said. "Here, I just feel the same as everyone else. I lose that special something that makes me me. It makes me want to say to them: 'Never come to the USA. This is my turf, so don't come here'."

But there is no denying that the tour dispels negative stereotypes that otherwise haunt these children. "It's really cool how I can see where I'm from," said Avery Gray, 13, of New Jersey, whose mother, Doris Chew, was raised by Chinese parents in New York. "I thought I'd be in an old hotel, with no showers, starving, that my stomach would hurt, stuff would be stolen. Instead - wow - it's so much different than what I thought it would be."

On the last night of the tour, following individual home visits to Shanghai families, we gathered in the lobby of our hotel for sentimental goodbyes. There were some tears, but I think there was also a sense of gratefulness to China, of course, for "giving" us our children in the first place, but then for caring enough about them to sponsor such a bountiful tour.

Speaking of the children, Kifer said: "They know their family doesn't fit here, doesn't fit at home, and yet here, this country is treating them as honored guests."

Linking a reception held last year for the tour and the origins of her own daughter, Kifer said in a choked voice: "Who would think that a child abandoned in a shoe box would then be walking into the Great Hall of the People."

Ron Hollander was a Fulbright fellow in Beijing from 1994-1996 when he adopted his daughter. He teaches journalism at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Ron's China Daily Article

Day 20 in Xi'an

Alex's Notes: Cool blog entry, lots of pictures at original entry, link is at the bottom.

Day 20

I spent all day at Starfish today, the time just zooms by. I took care of Lily all day, and when I left tonight at 4:30 she cried. It’s so hard to leave her.

Christine and I took Lily, Callum and Michael (I had a double stroller) for a long walk to Starbucks this afternoon. It was very hot 30 minute walk there and longer coming back, as Lily was a little fussy and I had to carry her and push the stroller. The Chinese people REALLY stare when we are out with the kids. Of course there is the one child policy, and here I am with two. We are never sure if they stare because we are Caucasian and the children are Chinese, or that they are not wrapped up in heavy clothes that the Chinese seem to do. One man even stopped and started berating us in Chinese... we just continued on our way. Lily had her first taste of Starbucks Vanilla Crème. She votes yes for Starbucks! (See picture). I’m going to have trouble saying goodbye to her tomorrow. I think I’ll stay all day. I really only have a bit of packing to do and I don’t leave for the airport until 11:00 am on Saturday. Amanda has asked me to come back anytime and stay in her volunteer apartment. She showed (and emailed) me pictures of Lily when she first arrived at Starfish and before she had her surgery. She had a large sac on the bottom of her back. She still looked perfect to me.

The Chinese language is very difficult and I find at times when spoken it sounds so angry even when it isn’t. The kids are all great, but sometimes it’s bedlam there. I often wonder how it must be when there are no volunteers there. The conditions at Starfish are a whole lot better than other orphanages. Amanda is going to the main Xi’an Orphanage tomorrow, and she’s asked Christine to go with her. There are 600 children there and according to Amanda, 10% will die in the next month. They don’t have enough help and the weak ones just don’t make it.

Coming home from Starfish today was very emotional. I’m very attached to China now, and if not for my family, especially my daughter, (Alex, I want to bring you here!) and friends I could just stay here. It’s so far removed from my life at home and I find that I am at peace here. I definitely want to come back for a longer period of time. It’s like time has stopped for me and all the little sh*t doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve seen so much suffering and poverty as well as kindness, acceptance, happiness and appreciation. The people here are special, and they work hard, their work ethic is unbelievable. The nannies at Starfish work from 8 am to 8 pm and that is just the norm.

Another Chinese factoid.. They exercise on the street outside their place of work before their workday starts. We see them on our drive over to Starfish. No wonder there are no fat people here!

Donna's Space