China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

11 Things You Absolutely Must Know About Chinese Etiquette

China is known as a state of etiquette and ceremonies. To understand the Chinese, some concepts should not be ignored:

1. Mianzi (Face)

The idea of shame, usually expressed as 'face' could be loosely defined as the 'status' or 'self-respect' in Chinese and by no means alien to foreigners. It is the worst thing for a Chinese to lose face. Never insult, embarrass, shame, yell at or otherwise demean a person. Neither try to prove someone wrong nor shout at him in public.

Never make demands, always calmly explain the situation and request politely assistance in correcting the problem. That way your Chinese host can offer an act of friendship rather than "losing face" by giving in to a demand. Most people will go out of their way to help you if it's presented correctly.

2. Guanxi (Relationships between People)

The fundamental glue that has held society together is the concept of guanxi, relationships between people. It is very important for the Chinese to have good relationships.

3. Keqi

Keqi not only means considerate, polite, and well mannered, but also represents humbleness and modesty. The expression is most often used in the negative, as in buyao keqi, meaning "you shouldn't be so kind and polite to me," or "you're welcome."

Let's talk about several aspects of Chinese etiquette.

4. Greetings and Introductions

It is important when starting or opening your greeting for the most senior person to introduce themselves and then the next senior person, thus working down the rank in your company or organisation. Even when Chinese business people visit Western countries, they will mostly walk in the room with the most senior person leading the party. This custom is a matter of respect and honour, these two words are probably the most important in Chinese culture. Normally when you are shaking the hand of a Chinese official or business person it is polite to slightly bow your head forward, but not your whole body.

Chinese prefer to be formally introduced to someone new. Always stand up when being introduced and remain standing throughout the introductions.

When talking with a stranger, the topics such as weather, food, or hobbies may be good choices to break the ice. To a man, a chat about current affairs, sports, stock market or his job can usually go on smoothly.

Chinese used to cup one hand in the other before the chest as a salute. But nowadays it is seldom used except in the Spring Festival. And shaking hands is more popular and appropriate on some formal occasions. But at present Chinese youngsters tend to simply nod as a greeting.

Shaking hands in an affirmative manner is widely accepted and common practice in Chinese business world.

Never scratch others palm with your fingers when shaking hands or you will fall into a trouble as this action is deemed as sexual intrigue and an intrusive act.
Business Card Etiquette

Use both hands when presenting business cards and be sure the writing faces the person to whom you are presenting your card. Cards should also be received with both hands.

Do not immediately put the card in a pocket or bag - this is considered rude. Follow with the standard "I am pleased to meet you, or "ni hao" in Chinese. When seated, place cards on the table.

Business cards should be printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Be sure to use simplified Chinese characters for mainland.

5. Social distance, Touching & Gestures

The Chinese do not like to be touched, particularly by strangers. Do not hug, back slap or put an arm around someone's shoulder. Note however that the Chinese generally don't have the same sense of personal space that North Americans do. It's not unusual for people to almost press up against you while speaking to you. Try to relax and not show how disconcerting it might.

Do not point the index finger--use the open hand instead.

Do not use the index finger to call someone-use the hand with fingers motioning downward as in waving.

Do not snap finger.

Do not show the soles of shoes.

Do not whistle.

6. Eye Contact

Maintain eye-contact with your business partner will help communications.

Staring or absence of eye-contact would mean impoliteness.

Note: When walking in public places, direct eye contact and staring are not common in the larger cities, especially in those areas accustomed to foreign visitors. However, in smaller communities, visitors may be the subject of much curiosity and therefore you may notice some stares, especially if you are blond or redheaded.

7. Dining Etiquette

Chopsticks should not be played with during a meal (for example banging them on the table), used for pointing or left standing up in a rice bowl.
The socially-acceptable method for eating rice is to bring one's bowl close to one's mouth and quickly scoop the rice into it with one's chopsticks, but simply lifting portions of rice to the mouth from the bowl held in the other hand is also acceptable.

If you wish to take a drink of the wine, you may first toast another diner. If you yourself are toasted but do not wish to drink, it is acceptable to touch the glass to your lips without drinking.

8. Gift Giving

If you are invited to a family party, small gifts like wine, tea, cigarettes, or candies are welcomed. Also fruit, pastries, and flowers are a safe choice.
Wedding gifts and birthday gifts for the aged are always sent in pairs for the old saying goes that blessings come in pairs.

Though four is an even number, it reads like death in Chinese thus is avoided.
A gift of clock is a taboo because it sounds like attending other's funeral. As connected with death and sorrow, black and white are also the last in the choice.

Always wrap gifts, but do not use white paper-it symbolizes death. Red and gold are the best.

When receiving gifts from the Chinese, do not open them unless they insist.
Tips for Meeting with Chinese People

9. Before Meetings:

Bring a large supply of business cards. You may meet many more people than anticipated.

Chinese usually tend to come a bit earlier to show their earnestness. And it would not be regarded as being late if you come within 10 minutes.

10. There are some useful Chinese expressions easy to learn:

Ni Hao

Hello (honorific)
Nin hao

Thank you
Xie Xie

Cheers (toast)
Gan pei

Zai jian

11. During Meetings:

When business negotiation is entered, verbal communications are enough and do not do too many gestures.
Do not take the Chinese nod for agreement; it's only a sign that they are listening attentively.
If a Chinese person gives you a compliment, it is polite to deny it graciously. Modesty is highly valued in China.


China is one of the few countries where tipping is not practiced. In most places, it is not necessary to tip and nobody will ask for it.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Orphanage Visit!!!

We visited Guangzhou Social Welfare Institute on Friday. That was the place that arranged for her lifesaving surgery at age 2, filed the necessary papers to find her a permanent home, and placed her in foster care. It is evident as you walk around that they do care about the children in their care. This SWI has many Waiting Children (Special Needs). Our guide estimated 70%. Most are not severe by any stretch of the imagination. There are both boys and girls. Some have special needs that are such that they will be there their entire life. It's always hard walking around and seeing all these children, most of which offer you an eager smile, some very shy, and others that reach out and want to be held. Half the Sky (HTS)sponsors preschool program here and we saw the classes and also a toddler room in which HTS personnel play and cuddle the toddlers. One of the HTS program directors was there and she recognized Siena from when she was in the program, prior to entering foster care one year ago. She immediately set off on a search for Siena's HTS preschool folder where they document progress, complete with photos. It really is priceless. They found it and gave it to us. We will have it translated when we get home. That folder was an unexpected surprise. I would urge everyone planning their trip to remember to ask for it when you go.

We went around to every classroom in which one of the children on my list (from the waiting parents on our GSW Yahoo group) was in. Each child was called out, and I got to hold several of them, have their parent's messages translated to them, ask all the questions, and surprise of surprises-we took pictures. None of the pictures are to be posted anywhere on the internet, including here. They are for personal use only. I have sent them to the waiting parents with those very strict instructions and I trust they will all comply. The only children in my blog pictures are ours-Maria and Siena.

It was a very special and moving experience. Siena remembered one of her close friends, a beautiful little girl that is deaf. I pray with my whole heart these children find permanent homes, and that anyone fighting the urge to adopt, whether in the US, China, Ukraine, or anywhere in our world, gives in. The rewards are incredible.


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'When do children really understand what "Adoption" means?'

Today most Scientists & Adoption Agents are of the opinion that parents should inform their adopted children as soon as possible about their status. The issue should thereafter be discussed more often at various points in time to give the child/children a chance to grasp their special status and the opportunity to ask questions. Only an early introduction to the subject will give parents and children a chance to develop an open and trusting relationship between each other.

There are two sides to the process of informing a child about it's adoptive status: First of all the information has to be passed on to the child and secondly the child has to understand the information it has been given.

It is more than likely that a 4 year old child can be made to refer to itself as "adopted" and further tell that it has grown in another woman's womb before being adopted by it's present parents. This however does not go to say that the child has understood what an adoption really means. More so it has to be assumed that due to the child's use of very specific vocabulary related to the issue of adoption the parents are lured into the false belief that their child fully understands the concept of adoption. By doing so, the cognitive capability of a small child is highly overestimated.
It takes approximately 10 years for an adopted child to fully grasp the information about its adoption which they have been given at the age of 3 or 4. This knowledge was the result of the scientific research by BRODZINSKY and his colleagues during the "Rutgers Adoption Project" (1986). The scientists examined 100 adopted children in comparison to 100 non-adopted children. There were 20 children in each age group: 4-5 years old, 6-7 years old, 8-9 years old, 10-11 years old and 12-13 years old. All adoptive children were adopted within the first 2 ½ years of their life. Their understanding of the adoption was evaluated on the basis of a 6 grade chart.

Although the 4-5 year old children had all been informed about their adoption most of them did not have any understanding of the meaning of an adoption (grade 0). At an average age of 5 years and 6 months most examined children either assumed that all children in general were born to their biological parents or that adoption and giving birth are the same (grade 1). At the age of 7 years and 2 months children could distinguish between adoption and birth. They viewed it as 2 different means of becoming a part of a family. The relationship between the adoptive parents and the child was described by the children to be a permanent one. However they could not articulate a reason for the permanence of this relationship other than voicing the assumption that "The child is now owned by its adoptive parents" (grade 2).

At an average age of 8 years and 8 months the children were not so confident about the stability of the Parent-Child Relationship anymore. They believed that their biological parents would either claim them back one day or that their adoptive parents could also decide to give them away at some point in time (grade 3). At 10 years and 4 months of age the children were confident in the lastingness of the relationship between adoptive parents and child again. With regards to this newly found confidence they even referred to professionals in a position of authority such as Judges, Lawyers & Medical Doctors (grade 4). It was not until the average age of 12 years and 5 months that the adopted children understood that an adoption on a legal basis of specific laws incorporated the transfer of parental rights and duties from the biological parents to the adoptive parents (Grade 5).

The adopted children were aware of an Adoption Agency being involved in their adoption at an average age of 8 years and 1 month but did not know the actual task of the Agency. Approximately 10 months later they understood that this organisation plays a vital role in the process. In most cases the first assumption was that the Agency's purpose was to cater to the wishes of the future adoptive parents. Once at an average age of 11 years and 11 months the adoptive children understood that the Agency first and foremost acts on behalf and in the interest of the well being of the children put up for adoption, therefore screening the potential adoptive parents.

Brodzinsky and his colleagues research clearly shows that the understanding of an adoptive child with reference to its adoption develops in predictable phases. In the beginning the knowledge is still very general and slightly diffuse but becomes more sophisticated with time. This knowledge is also associated with a growing awareness of the connection with social organisations and the relating laws.

The research indicates how difficult it must be for a child under the age of 13 or 14 to process the fact of having a dual set of parents. Younger children don't grasp this concept at all, slightly older children find it hard to fit the characteristics of adoptive parents into their idea of a family concept. Eight and nine year olds know that parents and children are blood related. Adoptive children of this particular age group therefore question which family they are really part of - their biological parents or their adoptive parents. Bearing in mind that children of this age group (8-9 year olds) have not yet understood the concept of adoption including all its implications it is not surprising that they feel insecure of their position within the adoptive family and voice a lot of questions regarding their heritage.

During a further examination of 156 adopted children aged 6-11 years old Brodzinsky and his colleagues (1986) found out that a child's comprehension of its adoption is neither influenced by structure of the adoptive family (only child, biological siblings, adopted siblings), their social status, the previous history of the child nor its age or condition of health at the time of adoption. This means that the comprehension develops through an intra psychological process by combining the newly received information with other relevant knowledge of family structure, social institutions, human motives, separation, loss, - etc. This Process is therefore imbedded in the overall cognitive development of the child.

The results of this research clearly show that parents and adoption agents generally expect the adoptive children to understand the process of an adoption too early. In return they are surprised when primary school children ask a lot of questions regarding their biological parents and their heritage, the reasons for being put up for adoption as well as being insecure in terms of their adoptive parents love and sometimes show signs of sadness and depression. Parents and experts do not understand these behavioural patterns and often wrongly judge it as negative although it is quite normal, age appropriate and probably inevitable. It is a sign that the children are trying to achieve a better understanding of the adoption. In order to do so they have to process the loss of their biological parents and the resulting emotions (sadness) at this age. This is being complicated by the lack of knowledge about their biological parents.

Consequently it is vital that adoptive parents make themselves aware of the fact that adopted children will comprehend the adoption with all its implications not until they have entered their second decade of life. They (adoptive parents ) can help the child to achieve a positive and extensive comprehension of the adoption by openly and honestly discussing the issue instead of avoiding it. It is equally important that they are also aware of the difference between adoptive families and biological families further understanding the special status of their own family. Primarily they should not overstrain the child and confront it with unrealistic expectations but should give the child the time it needs for the long lasting cognitive development process which will conclude in a full comprehension of the adoption.

Jeff Conrad himself was a adopted child.
He wants to give you the best and most comprehensive information about adopting children from all over the world.

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