Friday, August 21, 2009

Chilling Allegation About Chinese Adoptions

While I was in China this summer, I was invited ouut to dinner and at the dinner table the conversation turned to recent loosening of the one child policy requirements. I had felt rather uncomfortable in Kunming seeing billboards and ads on buses place by hospitals and clinics competing for the business of abortion of "unplanned pregnancy." Some offered "specials" of only 100 yuan for professional fees for an abortion, no appointment necessary. That would be about $15 Canadian. So I am happy to learn about this loosening due to the new problem of aging population in some areas such as Shanghai.

Continuing the table chat, I mentioned how many childless Canadian couples had adopted abandoned baby girls from China and what a joyous thing it was to see happy families of loving white parents and Chinese looking girls together. I was then asked about the costs of adoption and I explained my understanding of the various not inconsiderable cost of adopting from China including "donation" to the Chinese orphanage. To this I was told, "you should recommend to Canadian couples that if they want to adopt they could save money by coming to my province to get them. It would be cheaper and chances of getting a boy to adopt much better." I said how so? The answer evidently is that some out of plan babies, boys as well as girls, ended up in orphanages because their parents could not pay the fine for having an "illegal" second child (usually about a year's average salary as determined by the economic conditions locally). So the local authorities are keen to get their share of the foreign "donation" for such babies and offer such "out of plan" infants from poorer families for adoption abroad at a discounted rate to ensure that the babies are well away in case their grieving parents try and find them and steal them away without paying the fine.  So these are not actually orphans on offer but actually children forcibly ripped from the arms of their loving mothers.

I have no evidence that this sort of thing actually has been going on or if it is just some urban myth repeated between toasts of Chinese wine at a convivial occasion. Nevertheless, it gives me the chills to think about it.

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