Chinese adoption

I have two daughters adopted from China and it is an issue close to my heart.

Here’s a link to a story in the New York Times on identity issues for these adopted girls face. My wife and I decided to adopt two girls from China in the hope that having a Chinese sister would help with these issues. I guess we’ll find out in 10 years, when our oldest adopted daughter is in high school, whether the theory was correct.


prosa

It's typical of the Times to emphasize the negative. I imagine that most of the girls will turn out just fine.

aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south.

My response to the TV is going to be TV commenters

Government can! The comments on my TV is going to be TV, delivered like TV, for a very long time post - itself quoting Mark Cuban and Susan Crawford - are unanimous in their belief that government can't. I have...

StCheryl

I think that no matter what a parent does and with whatever intentions, their teenagers will find a way to criticize it. This is a more complicated issue because of the cultural sensitivity required in analyzing international or trans-racial adoptions. I see many, many such families in my neighborhood, and understand the pains they take to help their children learn about, and even embrace their native cultures. It seems to me that everyone benefits, and that like prosa says, leave it to the Times to emphasize the slightly negative aspects of every subject it covers. I have to say that since reading the Times' coverage since 2003 on the so-called "opt-out" movement by educated women, most of which is based on anecdotes at best and poorly-designed and misleading surveys at worst, I read all of its sociological reporting with a large bag of salt at hand.

jasonnolan

I have 2 chinese sisters... well, half sisters. Well, they're Chinese, but the family came over to Jamacia in the 1820s... about 20 years before the other half of the family came over from Ireland. To be honest, I was the first member of the extended family to go to China, well Hong Kong, in the late 80s. But Grams has been there a couple times since, and my middle sister's shooting for an Olympic berth for the summers there. She's looking forward to representing Canada in China. The question is to me not one of where you come from, but the pressures to fit in where you are. Pressures to fit in cannot be mitigated with special classes or heritage language, but with extreme diversity. After visiting a friend (white) in florida last week, and talking with is daughter (adopted japanese girl) there was a clear sense that she like the extreme multi-cultural aspect of her community in compared to growing up in japan. The new location offered more opportunities for community and expression than an indigenous one would for her... or that's how she felt. I guess my point is that it is less about importing chinese culture than it is embedding experiene in a diverse one. Good luck.

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brianb

I'm just hoping this tedious ethnic identity politics is done by the time our daughter gets old enough to notice that she doesn't look like mom or dad.

kkwan

Race and identity will always be an issue, whether societal or personal, especially in a ethnically diverse place as the USA. I think the adoption scenario is just another slice of the same pie.

Being an Chinese American and being born here I can say that there is very little of "China" prevalent in me. Only remnants of my parents and their parents experiences and what they decided to pass on. I am wholy American. My ideals, preferences, desires are American and I believe this to be the same for almost all American born Chinese and infant adopted children.

Being adopted only provides less remnant with which to hold onto and the remnant becomes the face in the mirror (as opposed to culture or family). With that remnant it would be up to individuals to build upon it to determine an identity, to fill in the holes.

There will be some need to identify with others of the ethnicity because the difference will always be perceived.
To what degree depends on how strongly their remnant needs to explained and built up. Ultimately they will need to be comfortable with themselves, their identity, in their context.

With that, exploring their "Asian-ness" and "Adopted-ness" will allow them to sort these issues out but at some point this must lead to a discovery that one's identity is an amalgamation of experiences and internalizations that are unique to all others, and on this one must stand alone.

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Ken D.

My wife and I, both white, adopted biracial African-American children, now 13 and 14. From pre-school on, they have known many children who were ethnic minorities, multi-racial, adopted, and every combination of the above. Our children -- and so far as I can tell their varied friends -- are extremely comfortable with all of this. Our neighborhood includes many ethnically mixed marriages and families with adoptees from China, Korea, Vienam, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and West Africa. We live in a relatively cosmopolitan university community, but not unlike a great many other American cities. This all may be slightly off point, but our experience leads me to believe that the vast majority of Chinese adoptees will do splendidly.

prosa

It occurs to me that the oldest of the adopted Chinese girls are just about old enough to start dating. I could see that causing some problems in the years to come, hopefully they'll be able to manage okay.

Jane Shevtsov

Maybe, just maybe, kids should be encouraged to develop identities as human individuals, not as "Chinese" or "American" or whatever.

iluvmark

wow thats so great that you took those two girls in Im also adopted and i know that my life is so much better then it could have been

i like to give thx to people like you

THX ALOT

Bellawantsasister

We too are adopting a little girl from China - waiting for the match. Her identity is an ongoing source of my research and interest. Thank you for providing this link!

Brian

Are we at the point where the Chinese adopted girl has become a type of brand or status symbol? There are children in ever more dire circumstances than China that need adoption yet they lack the mystique of Chinese girls

TI

"There are children in ever more dire circumstances than China that need adoption yet they lack the mystique of Chinese girls"

This is an observation worth exploring. Why are Chinese orphans so popular? The numerous number of adoptions is not explained by the populousness of the country. Plus adoption from Korea and Vietnam is highly popular.

I suspect it has something to do with perceptions of Asian girls. I think we are adjusted to believe these girls will turn out alright, not disappoint.

Can Steven or anyone else who has adopted discuss their own perceptions?

Allison

TI, sorry, but I find that comment offensive in so many ways. It shows no knowlege of adoption and the process that each country sets up. For example, it is nearly impossible for a non-Indian American to adopt a child in India. We've researched international adoption extensively.

We chose to adopt from China because the country has a very clear and unchanging process for prospective parents. In other words, you don't get stories out of China like we do from Russia. For example, sometimes people who adopt from Russia are told they must hand over much more money once they get there; Russia and some other Eastern European countries are an anything goes adoption process. China is one of the few countries with clearly uniform enforced fees and rules. They don't change the rules when you arrive, nor do they bump let movie stars and the like adopt within a few weeks when for the rest of us it takes years. In addition, the fees for the process are more reasonable than many other countries.

You seem to not realize that many who want to adopt go to Eastern Europe first because they're looking for white babies--I suppose that's worth exploring! As far as the view that Americans should adopt children from America, that also shows ignorance of the very flawed and stressful system we have here. The babies in China are orphans. Many babies in the U.S. are given up for adoption because their birth mothers are coerced teenagers or poor women who have not been informed of their rights and all that is available to assist them should they choose to parent the child.

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prosa

It's typical of the Times to emphasize the negative. I imagine that most of the girls will turn out just fine.

aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south.

My response to the TV is going to be TV commenters

Government can! The comments on my TV is going to be TV, delivered like TV, for a very long time post - itself quoting Mark Cuban and Susan Crawford - are unanimous in their belief that government can't. I have...

StCheryl

I think that no matter what a parent does and with whatever intentions, their teenagers will find a way to criticize it. This is a more complicated issue because of the cultural sensitivity required in analyzing international or trans-racial adoptions. I see many, many such families in my neighborhood, and understand the pains they take to help their children learn about, and even embrace their native cultures. It seems to me that everyone benefits, and that like prosa says, leave it to the Times to emphasize the slightly negative aspects of every subject it covers. I have to say that since reading the Times' coverage since 2003 on the so-called "opt-out" movement by educated women, most of which is based on anecdotes at best and poorly-designed and misleading surveys at worst, I read all of its sociological reporting with a large bag of salt at hand.

jasonnolan

I have 2 chinese sisters... well, half sisters. Well, they're Chinese, but the family came over to Jamacia in the 1820s... about 20 years before the other half of the family came over from Ireland. To be honest, I was the first member of the extended family to go to China, well Hong Kong, in the late 80s. But Grams has been there a couple times since, and my middle sister's shooting for an Olympic berth for the summers there. She's looking forward to representing Canada in China. The question is to me not one of where you come from, but the pressures to fit in where you are. Pressures to fit in cannot be mitigated with special classes or heritage language, but with extreme diversity. After visiting a friend (white) in florida last week, and talking with is daughter (adopted japanese girl) there was a clear sense that she like the extreme multi-cultural aspect of her community in compared to growing up in japan. The new location offered more opportunities for community and expression than an indigenous one would for her... or that's how she felt. I guess my point is that it is less about importing chinese culture than it is embedding experiene in a diverse one. Good luck.

Read more...

brianb

I'm just hoping this tedious ethnic identity politics is done by the time our daughter gets old enough to notice that she doesn't look like mom or dad.

kkwan

Race and identity will always be an issue, whether societal or personal, especially in a ethnically diverse place as the USA. I think the adoption scenario is just another slice of the same pie.

Being an Chinese American and being born here I can say that there is very little of "China" prevalent in me. Only remnants of my parents and their parents experiences and what they decided to pass on. I am wholy American. My ideals, preferences, desires are American and I believe this to be the same for almost all American born Chinese and infant adopted children.

Being adopted only provides less remnant with which to hold onto and the remnant becomes the face in the mirror (as opposed to culture or family). With that remnant it would be up to individuals to build upon it to determine an identity, to fill in the holes.

There will be some need to identify with others of the ethnicity because the difference will always be perceived.
To what degree depends on how strongly their remnant needs to explained and built up. Ultimately they will need to be comfortable with themselves, their identity, in their context.

With that, exploring their "Asian-ness" and "Adopted-ness" will allow them to sort these issues out but at some point this must lead to a discovery that one's identity is an amalgamation of experiences and internalizations that are unique to all others, and on this one must stand alone.

Read more...