Thursday, May 12, 2011

Things the Mothers of Chinese Children Should Know: Child Trafficking

May 10, 2011: According to Global Times reporter Liu Linln, over the last 10 years at least 20 children born outside of their parents' birth quota in Longhui county (population 1 million)  have been seized  by "family-planning enforcers" (FPE). The FPE literally take these children from families and send them to "welfare centers" (otherwise known as orphanages) then list them as orphans placing a $3000 price tag on their heads so the government run orphanages can then place them with US and other international adoptive families. Some of the families report that the child taken was actually their first child. The child was taken while the husband and wife were at work. Yang Libing, a migrant worker, told the magazine, that their 7-year-old child has been found living in the US. Read the entire article here.

This isn't the first (or the last) we will hear about this immoral and illegal endeavor. In 2005, a number of officials in welfare centers in Hengyang and Hunan, were exposed for participation in human trafficking. In 2009  the Southern Metropolis Daily reported similar cases in Zhenyuan county, Guizhou where "welfare centers" bought children for 3000 yuan and then selling them to foreign adopters for $3000. 3000 Yuan is approximately $460 US dollars.

The trafficking mentality of these welfare institutions speaks volumes about the objectifying of children. Care in Chinese orphanages is neglectful at best and many continue to traumatize children through beatings, tying them to potty chairs, starvation, and worse. China has one of the worst records for human rights. Children with this kind of history are at serious risk for developmental trauma disorder and more. This is a real dilemma for adoptive families. Many families I have met do not want to hear about or address this topic. Many families are in denial that this could even happen to them or that it might happen to other people but "not to me".. There continues to be such a myth surrounding Chinese Adoptions. Many couple romanticize them by telling stories about the "Red Thread Myth". The cold hard facts are hard to hear but speak volumes about next steps to healing our children from China.

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INCIID interviewed by NPR: IVF Scholarships and Other Family-Building Issues

Carla and her husband CJ are one of many couples INCIID has helped with their family-building efforts. We have a host of stories from couples who have genetic problem, cancer recovery multiple pregnancy loss - you name it, we've heard it. We were pleased that NPR asked us about our IVF Scholarship and that we were able to share what we do with consumers who might be looking for help.
Building a family is a very private and personal endeavor. We live in a democratic albeit an arrogant and self-serving society. There are no laws in our country that mandate how many or if a couple is allowed to become pregnant and have a child. No one needs permission from the government when they want to start a family - or special paper work from the government in order to keep their job if they get pregnant. I mention this because if you of the mindset that thinks limiting the population is a good idea, you only need to move yourself to China where they do have a one-child policy and a significant preference for the male gender.

In China, you need to get permission from the government to conceive and carry a pregnancy and you are limited to one child. One of the results of this policy is abandonment of millions of babies. These abandoned orphans are routinely subjected to severe abuse and neglect in orphanages throughout the country. In fact China has turned this into a business putting a $3000 price tag on each of the orphans (which are sometimes found to be trafficked children). So while IVF is not everyone's "cup of tea", thankfully we live in a society that allows its citizens to make their own family-building choices.

Most couples we see and interact with have made a very careful decision to pursue treatment, adopt or live childfree. INCIID considers all carefully thought our decisions on the part of educated consumers a success. There is no one right answer. There are as many answers and sides to an issues as there are consumers and questions. The right answer for Carla and CJ was to pursue treatment. The right answer for another couple may be treatment and adoption, or making the decision to live childfree. I find it to be amazingly arrogant, completely clueless and sadly unintelligible of John Q Public to use cliché's like, "Just Adopt" Of all the arrogant utterings, I find that one to be the most ignorant.

Adoption is absolutely not for everyone. Adoption is a hard process with many, many intertwining issues that a perspective adoptive parents needs to think about. Agencies generally do NOT prepare consumers to consider the many facets of the adoption process and the integration of the child into a family. This country is sadly - sadly lacking in support of adoption and post adoption services. When a perspective adoptive couple comes to the process, the thing I most often hear is the joy of adding a child to the family. These couples need to be taught (and often are not taught) that as happy a union as this is for the couple looking to build a family in this way --- there are two other parts to this triad; the birth mother /parents and the child. The child in an adoption is experiencing loss - loss of the only family she has known - the only mother. Sometimes there is the loss of the birth country and an entire culture. Many adoptive parents (usually those new to adoption) have no thoughts about how serious this loss is to a child.

Children coming out of a post-institutionalized situation like China (mentioned above) are automatically a product of trauma starting inside the womb with the stress of hiding a non-government approved pregnancy. Children from China are routinely abandoned on a city street, picked up by the police and shuffled off to an orphanage. For those who want just a taste of what that means to a child, I suggest reading "Silent Tears". by Kay Bratt. "A child being dangled from a third story window. A boy tied to a chair. Children sleeping in layers of clothing to fight off the bitter cold. An infant dying from starvation. Some things your mind will never allow you to forget."

Many parents (myself included) are living the ramifications of a child with trauma integrated into a family. However, I consider both treatment and adoption major successes in building our family and the children I was meant to parent. Our older daughter is going to do great things in her life - in fact although she is still in high school there are many special needs children whose lives she has already touched through her volunteer work with them. My younger daughter will probably never be independent thanks to the damage caused by the neglect, starvation and abuse in an orphanage. Does this mean she shouldn't be here. I am sure there are some people who believe that is true. Just look at the history of special education. There are still many ignorant people who believe children who are damaged should not have a place in society.
How utterly arrogant, ignorant, self-serving and just dead-on wrong it is to even suggest or intimate that Carla and CJ's beautiful son doesn't deserve to be here because he came to his family through treatment.