Jacob Sullum at Reason Online has an interesting piece on adoption from China. It's interesting because of its treatment of the political and social forces in China that leave kids in orphanages. It's also more than a little odd to this adoptive parent's ear.
I say it's odd because Sullum, who launches the article by describing his own daughter's adoption, takes a somewhat political tone throughout, including in describing his own experiences. He also seems a bit clueless, frankly; he didn't anticipate that separating a 17-month-old from her caregiver would be traumatic.
But the heart of his piece is this thesis:
As I gradually realized, the truth about Chinese adoption is more complicated than the conventional story about Westerners who magnanimously take in China’s unwanted girls. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say these girls are “unwanted” only because the Chinese government has made them so. Although the government’s oppressive, family-destroying policies have had the incidental benefit of bringing joy to the lives of adoptive parents in the U.S. and elsewhere, it will be a great victory for liberty when such heartwarming stories stop appearing on newsstands and bookshelves. These adoptions would not be occurring if the Chinese government did not try to dictate the most basic and intimate of life’s decisions.
The article describes how Chinese government policies directly result in the between 160,000 and 1.6 million children in orphanages at any time, and how they lead parents to make the wrenching decision to leave their babies in public places. It also explains why the types of babies being left for adoption are not who you might expect:
Even couples who give up daughters, leaving them in hospitals, in busy markets, at police stations, or literally on the doorstep of orphanages (as our daughter Mei was left when she was about 10 days old), may not be eschewing girls so much as trying to complete their families within the restrictions established by the government. Because of the one-son/two-child rule, Johnson reports, the typical abandoned girl is a second daughter. The thought that Mei (who now goes by Meira, still Mei for short) probably has an older sister who is growing up with her biological parents startled me, since I had imagined parents subject to a strict one-child rule quickly tossing out girls to make room for a child of the preferred sex. Instead parents generally end up raising at least one girl along with the hoped-for boy.
China has a strong tradition of adoption, Sullum explains, but incredibly the Chinese government hindered in-country adoption until recently by not exempting adopted children from the one-child policy.
Sullum also reaches the realization that is often blocked by cognitive dissonance and emotion among adoptive parents — in a better world, he wouldn't have met his daughter. That's a sobering thought for adoptive parents, particularly since many feel that their adoption was designed by God. But when you see the system that Sullum portrays, in which government policies so clearly drive adoption, it's hard to refute.
It's a good read if you are interested in adoption issues.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Hate Speech Debate on More Perfect Live - September 5th, 2017
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017