China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Police arrest a group of orphans "guilty" of living with an underground Christian

In the village of Sanhe, Hubei province, the police interrupted the Christmas festivities of a little orphanage run by a famous Christian leader, who has been arrested 12 times for his leading role in the life of China's unauthorised domestic churches.

Sanhe (AsiaNews) - Police in the central province of Hubei arrested, on Christmas Eve, a group of orphans and Christian volunteers who were preparing to celebrate the holiday with them. The agents confined the children to a hotel, and "convinced" the owner of the land that the orphanage stands on to evict the renters. This is the charge of the China Aid Association (CAA), a non-governmental organisation based in the United States that works for religious freedom in China.

According to the CAA, Protestant pastor Ming Xuan Zhang - who takes care of the orphans - spent the days after Christmas looking for a new location for his institute, with no success. This is because the director of public security for the village of Sanhe, together with officials of the Religious Bureau and United Work Front Department, threatened the landowners who "might have decided to help Ming".

This persecution is explained by the leading role that pastor Zhang plays in China's unauthorised domestic churches. Affectionately known as "Bike", the Protestant leader has been arrested twelve times by the authorities, who are trying to separate him from the Christian communities.

In 2006, American president George W. Bush asked to meet with Zhang during an official visit to China. The permission was not granted, because of the "disappearance" of Zhang. In reality, says the CAA, the police of Hubei detained him and kept him out of sight for the entire duration of the president's trip.

The Protestant leader has twice written to Chinese president Hu Jintao seeking justice, and asking for a stop to this campaign of persecution against himself and his orphans. He received no reply, and his orphans continue to live without a home of their own.

Beijing permits the practice of evangelical Christianity only within the Movement of the Three Autonomies (MTA), created in 1950 after Mao came to power, foreign missionaries were expelled, and Chinese Christian leaders were imprisoned. The unofficial statistics say that in China there are 10 million official Protestants, all united in the MTA.

The unauthorised Protestants, who meet in unregistered "domestic churches", are estimated at over 50 million. Over the past year, the government arrested 1,958 of them, between pastors and faithful.

According to a secret document of the Chinese communist party of Hubei province, which was leaked to the West last November, there is a campaign underway in China to "normalise" the underground Protestant Churches by offering them two possibilities: either join the Movement of the Three Autonomies (the Protestant communities led by the patriotic associations) or be suppressed.

The campaign is in clear opposition to the UN guidelines on religious freedom, which ban the distinction between religious activities that are licit (because they are controlled by the state) and activities that are illicit only because they are not controlled by the government.

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China-Babies Research

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Couple weaves Red Thread from River Falls

Debbie Griffin River Falls Journal
Published Friday, January 11, 2008

Local residents Tim and Jane Steinmetz use their professional skills in careers at the River Falls Area Hospital but also work to weave strong cloth into Red Thread Charities.

The organization serves the needs of Chinese orphans with training and humanitarian programs.

He’s a doctor and she’s a nurse at RFAH, and the two have made three, three-week trips to China with hopes to return this fall and maybe every year.

Jane Steinmetz encourages the orphanage staff members to take pictures of all the babies as they grow and develop.

The Steinmetzes adopted their daughter Quin from China in 2003. That led them to mission work there in 2005. After that, Danling Cai, who lives in Edina, Minn., contacted them about Red Thread Charities.

They’ve taken kindergartener Quin with them for each trip, and Jane says about their six-year-old on the 16-hour flight: “She’s a great traveler.”

She’s glad for Quin to get exposure to her native culture and learn along with her parents. The family always has an interpreter but is learning bits of Mandarin.

Job of the heart

“Our trips are working trips,” Tim explained.

The first time, they conducted exams to check each child’s medical condition. Orphanages have staff called doctors, but Tim said they don’t have the extensive education or training that a licensed physician or specialist has.

Orphanages run on a small, limited budget that’s never enough, according to the Steinmetzes.

Tim said China has good technology but lacks resources. Access to medical care can be extremely limited, especially in areas far from big cities.

The volunteers trained people and gave talks that some hospital doctors attended.

“We had about 100 people at the one talk we gave…,” he said.

On the last trip, they helped an audiologist friend conduct hearing tests. The couple often spends nights at official dinners with diplomats and hospital heads.

They were excited when a recent trip yielded one official’s commitment to give orphans half-price health care — a significant breakthrough.

The Steinmetzes said they’ve learned a lot about the kids’ lives. Their hearts go out, especially to the “special-needs” orphans.

“They are very, very few physical therapists in China,” said Jane.

Tim said, “After our first trip, we realized what they (kids) really need is physical therapy.”

The couple connected with the Hudson-based Special Children Center, its director Nancy Lawton Shirley and its 13-year pediatric physical therapist, Kiki Dickinson. They all went to China in October, caring for special-needs kids and teaching orphanage staff simultaneously.

For example, orphanage staff wasn’t sure what to do about a boy who cried constantly. The therapists recognized his autism and stopped his crying by placing him on a bouncy ball.

Tim said, “We make a three-year commitment to every orphanage we go to.”

That entails training, equipment and long-distance consultations.

For example, a new child came to one of the orphanages and the doctors had questions, wondered if the boy should be in leg braces. Talking with other physicians and reviewing pictures revealed that the boy would grow out of the condition and doesn’t need braces.

Hard lessons

Jane said the people are kind, hard-working and always willing to listen.

“The Chinese are so ready to learn,” she commented.

She said the one-child limit in China impacts orphanages. Laws don’t allow people to give up babies for adoption. Families face huge, unaffordable fines if they have an additional child.

The choice many make is the only one they think they have: Leave their baby where someone will find it and take it to an orphanage.

The Steinmetzes said that most Chinese generally agree with the one-child policy because of the country’s immense population. About 1.3 billion people live in China, compared to just over 300 million in the United States.

The couple went to one orphanage where the way of life is cold — literally. It has happy people but no heat. It’s below a geographic boundary that dictates which buildings can have heat and which can’t.

“Somebody had to draw a line, and that’s where the line is drawn,” Tim said.

Jane said it’s shocking that the kids and staff literally live and sleep in their coats, bundled with several layers of clothing underneath. She learned and accepted that’s just “how it is” for them.

The charity will be donating money to heat one room of the orphanage, where Jane said the kids can get physical therapy wearing only one layer of clothes.

The couple’s work also helps prevent misdiagnosis and encourage early diagnosis — two things that can really help the kids.

Small world

Jane said about their mission work: “It’s very rewarding for us.”

As Red Thread’s network grows, so does its ability to help.

Jane keeps in touch with many other parents who’ve adopted from the country. While on their first trip, the Steinmetzes’ son, Nick, came along and took lots of pictures.

Jane’s contacted parents who adopted from that orphanage and provided them a baby picture of their child, something many adoptive parents can’t ever get when adopting an older child.

She and Tim examined a baby who was later adopted by people in Madison. Jane said she e-mailed the parents their child’s baby picture and exchanged contact information.

Then she realized that she works at the hospital with the adopted child’s aunt.

Jane said about the connections, “We have a lot of weird, small world stuff like that.”

One little girl the couple examined while in China, ended up adopted and in the same St. Paul dance class as Quin.

The couple said Cai, Red Thread Charities director, makes things happen. They say she’s passionate, organized and well connected. They say she paved the way for all the progress volunteer groups are making to improve the orphans’ quality of life.

Tim sums up his and Jane’s multi-faceted work in China: “Our goal is to help each child do the best they can.”

The Steinmetzes encourage anyone interested in helping or learning more about Red Thread Charities, to log onto its Web site at or contact Cai at or 952-927-4705 and Cheryl Heley at or 612-743-3810.

Reach Debbie Griffin at or 426-1048.§ion=news&freebie_check&CFID=83235667&CFTOKEN=92910257&jsessionid=8830f42fb5b4555a6311

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