China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Fortune’s Sisters

Cary Conover for The New York Times

THREE’S COMPANY Adopted in China, Leah Potoff, left, Hazel Parker-Myers and Annabelle Laserson are best friends in brownstone Brooklyn.

Published: January 6, 2008

THERE is an ancient Chinese myth that people who are destined to meet are connected from birth by invisible red thread. For three Brooklyn mothers who were strangers until a few years ago, the legend has a deeply personal resonance. In early 2004, when they traveled in the same group to adopt year-old girls in China, Martha Laserson, Molly Parker-Myers and Lauren Uram made a discovery that would thread their families together for life.

During a visit to the orphanage where the babies lived, in Anhui Province of southeast China, the women were told that their daughters not only knew one another but were also crib mates.

Before they became Annabelle Laserson, Hazel Parker-Myers and Leah Potoff, the little girls were Dong Dong, Ping Ping and Qiang Qiang, and they slept side by side. Before they developed a taste for New York-style pizza, they ate a rice porridge called congee from the same spoon.

Before the well-tended pigtails and chin-length bobs, they wore matching institutional buzz cuts. And now, living in brownstone Brooklyn, nearly 7,000 miles away from the place they were born, they are best friends.

“It was still dark as we headed out, and we were all in our private bubbles of nervousness and joy. We were going to meet our babies. As it got lighter, I marveled at the countryside — the water buffalo, the fields, the little villages — I wanted to memorize the surroundings to describe to my little girl in the years to come. She, after all, would be raised in Brooklyn (along with two of her crib mates), and not one of these farm villages we passed, although she may well have started out there.”

From Molly Parker-Myers’s diary, Jan. 5, 2005 (the first anniversary of the girls’ adoption)

Four years ago, Mrs. Parker-Myers, Mrs. Laserson and Ms. Uram were delivered to their daughters. These days, the girls see one another regularly, marking the passages of childhood by attending one another’s birthday parties and eating Chinese takeout with their families. Thanks to their daughters’ unique bond, the three women also belong to an exclusive mothers’ group of three.

All these connections played themselves out during a late summer picnic in Prospect Park. The women took turns breaking up bubble-blowing fights and watching the girls collect bouquets of sticks under a canopy of trees. When the mothers weren’t wiping little noses, their talk gravitated to subjects like New York’s ever-growing population of adopted Chinese girls. While there is no exact count of the number of Chinese adoptees in the city, nearly 70,000 have found homes in American families since 1992.

“That’s one of the biggest reasons why we chose to adopt from China,” said Mrs. Parker-Myers, who has a heart-shaped face and thick brown hair. “I felt like it was this sisterhood in a way. Our daughters will have someone else to grow with and bounce around ideas with, but they’ll also have a connection to their babyhood. That’s invaluable.”

Given the local prevalence of children adopted from China in recent years, it is not uncommon for New York families to uncover orphanage ties. Dr. Jane Aronson, a Manhattan pediatrician who specializes in treating children who were adopted abroad and who is known as “the Orphan Doctor,” often overhears her patients quizzing one another in her waiting room about the circumstances under which they adopted their Chinese babies.

“Looking for missing answers — and there are so many — when you have a moment of connection, it’s very powerful,” Dr. Aronson said. “It’s wonderful because it’s history, it’s roots, it’s family — it’s orphanage family. And often it’s the only family the kid has from the country where they were adopted.”

In Search of Memories

“Finally, we were let out at the lobby. We knew we would be leaving this place with our babies in our arms. The lobby was adorned with lavish decorations for the upcoming Lunar New Year, and was a sea of red and gold. We noticed only vaguely, I think, because we were all so thrilled — and because we all had to pee desperately! I remember all the moms-to-be rushing to the bathroom together, chatting, chatting, filled with nervous energy.” Jan. 5, 2005

In an effort to mend their daughters’ broken ties to their birthplace, the three mothers cling to the few scraps of information they have and, in their different ways, try to piece together a patchwork of memories, however threadbare.

Mrs. Parker-Myers, 35, a preschool teacher who lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Kensington with her husband, Lars, a manager of jewelry trade shows, is the writer of the group. She chronicled their two-week journey to China in an eloquent adoption diary that includes comment on everything from the sparrow kebabs and goat testicles that she encountered during her first days in Beijing to the mothers’ attempts to absorb the essence of the country that their daughters never knew.

Ms. Uram, a quiet-mannered illustrator with ginger-colored hair in her late 40s, is the archivist. In the Lefferts Manor brownstone where she lives with her husband, Leni Potoff, an art conservator, she has carefully stored away dozens of artifacts from the couple’s trip to China, among them a Going Home Barbie, a limited-edition doll given to adoptive parents that is accessorized with a detachable Chinese baby, and the clothes Leah wore in the orphanage, carefully wrapped in red tissue paper.

Mrs. Laserson, a social worker with a petite athletic build who is in her early 40s, lives in Park Slope with her husband, David, a stockbroker, and their 9-year-old biological son. Unlike the fastidiously organized Ms. Uram, Mrs. Laserson is a bit of a pack rat. But despite the jumble of toys and books that clutter her two-story brick home, she can meticulously recount each laborious step of the adoption process.

It’s unlikely that the three women would have become fast friends had they not traveled together to Asia. But they waited together in China. They were in the same room when their babies were placed in their arms. They were together at the orphanage when they discovered that their daughters had shared the same crib. They were even together when they saw the locations where the three abandoned babies had been found before being brought to the orphanage.

“I know that if anything ever happened to me, Leah could always come to you with questions,” Ms. Uram recently told the other two women. “Because you were there.”

The Threads of Their Lives

“The main caregiver took Ping Ping in her arms, crying and saying her name and giving her lots of hugs and kisses. It was very emotional. She held Ping Ping and Dong Dong (Annabelle, another future Brooklynite) together, and we told her how they were going to live in the same place in the U.S., and they’d see each other often.” Jan. 8, 2004

The girls are now 5, the age at which many adoptive children are just beginning to understand that they are somehow different.

One fall morning, Hazel Parker- Myers followed her mother into the family’s living room and put to her a tricky two-part question: “How many childs do you have?” she asked, scribbling invisible notes into a pad. “And how did they come into your family?”

Like Ms. Uram and Mrs. Laserson, Mrs. Parker-Myers has often told her daughter the story of her adoption. One Sunday morning over homemade biscuits and marmalade, they looked through the pictures in Hazel’s adoption album while her mother recited the abridged version of Hazel’s story: In addition to Leah and Annabelle, its characters includes the caregivers at the orphanage, or aunties as they were called.

“You were in China living with your aunties, right?” Mrs. Parker-Myers prompted, as they paused over a picture of a tearful Chinese caregiver cradling two toddlers in pink and blue bunting. (Annabelle, the baby in pink, has the identical photograph in her album.) “And we were living in Brooklyn, and we wanted to adopt a baby.”

As the girls get older, their mothers will ration out the precious few remaining details of their stories. But first, they have to decide which story they want to tell.

On the one hand, there is the heartwarming tale of the three orphans who shared a crib in China and are now friends in Brooklyn. But as Mrs. Parker-Myers put it, “We don’t want to be seen as clueless adoptive parents who are just thinking that our child’s life is a fairy tale, because obviously it’s not.”

Soon after the adoption, Mrs. Parker-Myers stopped subscribing to the red-thread theory, which many adoptive parents of Chinese children have embraced as a way to imagine the fated bond between parent and child. “You can’t rely on mythology to explain their story because it isn’t the whole story,” she said.

Nor is she alone in these feelings. Having read about older transracial adoptees, some of whom say they resent having lost their cultural identity, these three mothers worry about what their daughters will think when they are no longer the silent characters of their own stories but their authors — and editors.

The conflict over what to share and what not to share underscores the differences among the three women. At the picnic in Prospect Park, Ms. Uram bristled when Mrs. Parker-Myers began to tell one of Hazel’s favorite stories, about how the orphanage caregivers lined up the babies at the edge of their crib and fed them congee from the same spoon.

“I don’t think you should do it,” Ms. Uram scolded. “It’s a sad story.”

Mrs. Parker-Myers shrugged off the comment. “I think it seems pretty practical myself,” she said. “If I had triplets, I’d feed them like that, too.”

There was a pause. Finally, in an effort to ease the mood, Mrs. Laserson said, “I think it’s a big cultural difference.”

Growing Up, Perhaps Apart

“It’s really been fun to get to know these other families. This is a real bonding experience. The three Brooklyn families are already planning to have a mothers’ group with our girls.”

Jan. 9, 2004

As their memories of the trip to China fade, the three mothers from Brooklyn try to blend subtle touches of their daughters’ first culture into their lives and their homes.

Annabelle and Hazel recently took a Chinese ribbon-dancing class together in Park Slope. At Leah’s house, Ms. Uram and her husband now celebrate Passover with matzo-ball soup served with chopsticks and Chinese ladles. There is already talk of a joint “homeland trip” when the three girls are older.

Still, as their lives unspool in different directions, their invisible red thread will begin to stretch. It already has.

Especially during that first year after their return from China, the mothers relied heavily on one another for support. But as their bonds with their daughters grow stronger, the women are depending on one another less and less.

In part, this is because they have different ideas about child-rearing. Mrs. Parker-Myers wants a progressive education for Hazel, who on a recent afternoon could be found in the family’s living room playing with castanets and shrieking with laughter. Ms. Uram prefers a more structured approach for Leah, who attended preschool at the Red Apple School in Chinatown, perhaps the city’s best-known bilingual school for Chinese students, and is tutored privately in Mandarin.

As the girls grow older, it’s likely that they will also grow apart. The Parker-Myerses are adopting another girl, who is in China awaiting her new family, and they are considering moving away from the city as early as next fall, perhaps to Philadelphia.

On a recent outing to a Chinese restaurant in Park Slope, Mrs. Parker-Myers was tense with expectation and anxiety. “I can’t predict the future,” she said, fumbling with a message from a fortune cookie that offered no clues. “It doesn’t seem very hopeful that we can stay in New York, because, frankly, we can’t afford it.”

The mothers are also preparing themselves and their daughters for the challenges they are likely to face as they get older. But the girls will have to fight certain battles themselves.

“As they move into school, they’re getting the sense that there is a stigma associated with being adopted,” said Amanda Baden, a New York psychologist who specializes in transracial adoptions, and is herself a Chinese daughter of Caucasian parents. “They may get more self-conscious about the fact that their parents look different from them. And they’re starting to understand that for them to have this family means that they might have lost another family.”

It is at that point, the mothers hope, that their daughters’ crib connection, tenuous as it might seem, will be of use to the girls.

“They have other adopted friends from China, but no one else they shared a crib with,” Mrs. Laserson said. “There will be times when they don’t want to be adopted and Chinese. But there will be other times when they need to feel adopted and Chinese. And no matter where they are, they have two other people they can talk to.”

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China-Babies Research

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Provinces and SWI's

Hello Friends,

When China-Babies first started out, we were limited to doing reports in Jiangxi province.

Since then we have branched out, and with each new request, we have often been able to open up new areas.

Today, China-Babies has grown to serve 20 Provinces and over 65 SWI's, with more being added every month.

This is due mainly to our clients requests in asking to find out if we can get reports from their child's SWI that is not yet on our list.

Below you will find a pretty current listing of the Provinces and SWI's we serve (I say pretty current, because it grows each month).



Zhangzhou City


Diangjiang County

Zhangzhou City



Dongguan City

Foshan City Nanhai

Foshan City Gaoming


Le Chang




Wuchuan City



Nanning City Yongning District



Dawu County

Yanxin County



Dao County SWI Yongzhou


Yi Yang

**(Currently received approval from adoption center for all international orphanages)



Wuhai City

Jiangyin City

Changshu City

















Xiushui County


Yi Yang



Ningxia CWI Yinchuan City

Yan'an City

Yulin City







As always, we appreciate you allowing us to serve you and your family, and will continue to do our best to provide you with the best information possible regarding the early life of your little one.

If you would like to talk to us about what we do, give us suggestions, or ask us about starting a Research Report for you, please click here to contact us.

All the best,

Alex & Misty Stanczyk

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China-Babies Research

Monday, December 31, 2007

Custody Resolved, a Move Looms

Published: December 30, 2007

MEMPHIS (AP) — An 8-year-old girl taken from an American couple and returned to her Chinese parents after a seven-year custody fight faces another big adjustment: moving to China.

Karen Pulfer Focht/Memphis Commercial Appeal, via World Picture Network
Anna Mae He with her mother, Qin Luo He. Anna is getting to know her family after years of living with foster parents.

The girl, Anna Mae He, rejoined her parents, Shaoqiang and Qin Luo He, in July, under orders from the Tennessee Supreme Court. She had lived with an American couple who took her in as an infant to help her financially struggling parents and then refused to give her back.

Now, with the custody fight resolved, Anna’s family faces deportation. Her father says it is time to head home to China.

“Next month, we’re going to do the paperwork with a federal immigration judge,” Mr. He said recently at his family’s small, two-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Memphis.

Mr. He came to Tennessee to attend graduate school at the University of Memphis, but his student visa expired years ago. He was allowed to remain in the United States because of the custody fight, which began in May 2000 and ended with the court ruling in January.

“We always wanted custody to move back to China as a family,” Mr. He said.

An immigration judge agreed four years ago to delay ruling on the Hes’ immigration status, but Mr. He said that decision could come anytime now.

“If deported, we might never come back again,” Mr. He said. “With a voluntary departure, we don’t get an order.”

Mr. He said he expected to return to China by the end of February. A Memphis church, New Sardis Baptist, has begun a drive to help pay for the family’s move.

Ashok Kara, a family psychologist working with the Hes on Anna’s transition, said the girl was warming toward her parents and was getting along well with her brother, Andy, 7, and her sister, Avita, 5.

“At least on the surface, things are moving in a very positive direction,” Dr. Kara said. “She’s happy. She talks. She laughs. She jokes. Although beneath the surface where things are not easily observed, we don’t quite know what’s going on.”

A third grader, Anna earned all A’s and E’s on her latest report card. “She participates well when called up,” her teacher wrote. “I enjoy having her in class.”

Anna’s former foster parents, Jerry and Louise Baker, won a court order five years ago barring the Hes from any contact with Anna, so she is still just getting to know her family.

But piled up on a living room sofa one recent evening to watch cartoons, Anna, Andy and Avita shared the easy laughter of comfortable playmates.

Anna ignored questions about China or the pending move, focusing instead on the TV and a book of children’s poetry called “Falling Up.” She did find time, though, to occasionally poke Andy in the side with a foot, setting off bouts of giggling.

“She has been learning Chinese, but she’s a little bit afraid of the language,” her father said. “She told me it’s very difficult, this language. But she’s becoming more curious about China. She asks about the schools, the teachers, the children, what’s the subjects that are taught.”

Anna was born in January 1999 with her parents facing hard times financially and legally. Mr. He was accused of sexual assault by a female student at the university, a charge that cost him his scholarship and student stipend though he was acquitted at trial.

The Bakers, a suburban Memphis couple with four children of their own, were introduced to the Hes through a private foster-care organization. They volunteered to take in Anna for a few months but decided later to adopt her, even though the Hes wanted her back.

The Bakers accused the Hes of being unfit parents and argued that Anna would have a better life in America than in China.

In 2004, a Memphis judge took away the Hes’ parental rights on grounds of abandonment, a decision that drew widespread criticism as culturally and ethnically biased.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the Hes thought they were giving up their daughter for a short time so she could get health insurance and lost custody largely because of their ignorance of American law. It ordered the family to be reunited.

Dr. Kara said he had hoped Anna would have more time to bond with her family before moving to a country with an unfamiliar culture and language.

“But the way things were set up, they were allowed to stay here until a resolution, and the resolution has taken place,” he said.

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China-Babies Research

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You Are Mine

You Are Mine
by Kelly Feichtinger

I love you
Though I have yet to see your face.
You are mine.

I dream of holding you in my arms
My child from far away
You are mine.

I like awake at night
Imagining who you will be.
You are mine.

I prepare our home and my heart
To receive such a precious child.
You are mine.

I pray for your happiness and safety
Until I can be the one to provide it.
You are mine.

I hold my breath
As we wait for the call.
You are mine.

I will the time to fly by
As we wait fir permission to travel
You are mine.

I feel as though my heart will burst
When you are placed in my arms.
You are mine.

You rest your soft cheek against mine
And sigh contentedly.
I am yours.

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