“Going home Barbie”

Should 'Going Home Barbie' go to more homes?
By Maria DiDanieli

     If a little girl is on your shopping list this holiday season,
rest assured the popular Barbie line of dolls will be foremost in your
mind. (And if not in yours, it certainly will be on hers) Although the
basic Barbie, now with a smaller chest and finally wearing knickers, is
always a good choice, there are many permutations of Barbie from which
to choose. International Barbies, princess Barbies, single Barbies
enjoying lives of frolic and more sedate, domesticated versions that
represent the young beauty's wishes to settle down.

But there is one Barbie that cannot be found in any store or through
any website. She is officially called 'Going Home Barbie' but her
nick-name is 'White Swan Barbie' after the one location in the world,
The White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China, where she can be obtained.
But, ask not 'where can she be found?' Rather, ask 'what do I have to
do to get her?' The answer to this is quite specific. To become the
proud owner of a 'Going Home Barbie', you must: a) adopt a child from
China, and b) stay at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou while awaiting
clearance for an exit visa, for your baby, from the U.S. government.
There is no other way to come into possession of the 'Going Home
Barbie'. No amount of money will get you one. Even if you are an avid
collector of the ever growing, plastic bombshell species, this
particular version will remain beyond your reach. Furthermore, even if
you adopted a child from China and would like one as a souvenir of this
important event in your life, Mattel simply will not send one your way.

read the rest of the article here

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

14 thoughts

  1. I am sorry I don’t have time today to completely read the article, but I must say this. There is a price for this ridiculous doll, I know…I sold mine IMMEDIATELY after returning and put the money into a CD for my daughter–yes, it was a good sum of money that was paid–unbelievable if you ask me.
    I loathe Barbie and what she represents, but I loathe more the people who will beg, borrow, plead, etc to get this stupid doll–the same that equate their daughters as dolls imo.
    I asked (begged) to stay somewhere else due to the baby buying atmosphere that surrounds the hotel along with the commercialism that Mattel has projected onto the idea of adopting girls from China, but our agency would not allow it.
    We adopted our daughter, who has limb difference, almost three years ago and I am still angered at and embarrassed for and of our fellow ap’s for the atmosphere created around the adoption experience and the treatment/attitude they (of course not all) projected at families such as ours–adopting sn. The sadness for me was that it was not only the other ap’s that showed discrimination, but also the entire islands make-up=clothes for babies only (my daughter was only 2 and wore a size 18 months and a size 5 shoe–too big for the baby set), expectations that our daughter was returning to get a sister when she was the one who was just adopted–a child over one, who knew! The prejudice from the ap’s, our guides, and the consulate in relation to our adoptions over the babies that were adopted and in large groups.
    Yes, I see myself going off topic, but isn’t it all related? If you don’t fit the image, if you don’t fit the commercial opportunity than too bad for you–sorry no socks for your two year old. Mattel is only a part of a larger problem, obviously if there were not parents who found value in this embarrassing object, they would not be giving it away (not to mention the playroom)in so creating customers for a lifetime who prize/put on display their “priviledge” and they don’t even know it.

  2. The article does not mention that Mattel has donated a “playroom” space in the White Swan with most of their toys inside, not just Barbies. There is plenty of Sesame Street. I’m not sure where the person above shopped but I bought clothes for our daughter in ALL sizes, up to size 14, as did most of the other parents in our group.

  3. I am referring to the WS in particular for clothes, but also the surrounding shops–we went to SEVERAL and there were NO shoes in her size, NO socks in her size–only baby and adult, and only silks dresses/outfits available in her size. I know the island has changed since we have been there–the market has changed, there are a lot of sn adoptions now that there is a wait. There was plenty of shopping off the island, you cannot blame the shop owners as they are catering to their clients.
    As far as the playroom, there was a consensus among all of the parents we encountered–the toys were broken, dirty, and missing parts. I have also heard they have corrected that problem as well–too many complaints.
    The problem is the attitude that the island can be likened to the only part of China that is civilized. For us, and others with our family dynamic at the time, it was the worst part of the trip and it related to the treatment and attitudes are children received. I hope our timeframe was an anomaly, but I know it was not–there are other parents who had the same experience both before and after us. Sad.
    Back to the issue of Barbie…it is not the first and/or last debate relating to her and the image she sends; however, I find this particular Barbie the most offensive due to its celebration of transracial adoption, equating adoption to something that can be summed up with a toy and the poorest representation of Chinese ethnicity. Children are not a commodity. IMO the toy represents them as such. I don’t expect anyone/everyone to agree me, I just wish people would look at the reasoning behind the doll in the first place and the message it sends.

  4. Our social worker used to work with an agency that worked with China. She went to China with a group of APs and made it quite clear what she thought of Barbie and her “accessory” to the parents in her group. Needless to say I LOVE my social worker.

  5. I have the Barbie..it is upstairs in storage… who knows what we will do with it. I will say that I don’t see a huge issue with the doll itself…it looks like us. My daughter has dolls of every color and she loves them.
    As to the Embassy…it is actually not on the island anymore…I think moved in 2005 (before we got there) so I don’t know when this article was written. As to the sizes we have dresses and shoes up to size 12 and had no problem finding anything. The shop owners and the hotel staff were wonderful…
    I think there are a lot of serious issues to discuss about transracial adoption~ race~ etc… I just don’t think this is one of them… If you have the Barbie..do like some have, sell it or give it away if you don’t want it. I know Love Without Boundaries would love auction it off to pay for some cleft surgeries.
    Oh…I miss China so much : )

  6. I actually thought the doll was made up for the purpose of satire, it’s THAT appalling to me that anyone would actually want a doll like that. I was honestly surprised when I found these things for sale on Ebay for $200! Barbie is bad enough, but this bizarro anorexic skanky underage mom/”ethnic” baby as accessory combo is just beyond the pale. Even the way the doll is holding her baby speaks volumes. Yuck.

  7. I’ve heard that this doll is also available in a couple of “adoption hotels” in South America / Central America. I don’t know whether that is true.
    I have kept ours but never let my daughter see it. It is a disgusting item. Nothing like a bright blue miniskirt and sky-high heels for picking up your little fashion accessory.

  8. Just noticed they seem to have changed the clothing. Mine is wearing a bright blue suit and blue heels.

  9. I’m saving the Barbie we were given when we adopted our daughter because I think someday it might be a great protest art piece if she’s so inclined. I can imagine it would be perfect for an installation or performance art.

  10. There are actually “editions” to going home barbie. Barbie’s outfit changes when they make the newest edition. We recieved one but I never liked it. We adopted again and didn’t stay at the WS. We ended up giving our Barbie to friends who were adopting but the dad had just lost his job. They did get a lot of money for it and I’ve never thought twice about what I did with it.

  11. We have one…I don’t love the Barbie…like another commenter said, we were adopting an older SN child, so it was a bit weird.Didn’t know it was valuable…perhaps I’ll sell ours on e-bay!

  12. Wendy, I can absolutely relate to your experiences! Our first adoption was of a 3 year old SN BOY– and our experience in GZ was much like yours, with the herds of NSN adoptive parents with their shell-shocked infants looking at us sideways and shaking their heads. And we could find precious little in terms of clothing for him, either, a situation that was slightly changed in 2007 when we adopted his sister (also a SN toddler). It was an embarrassing, uncomfortable and sobering reminder of the “marketing” aspect of our adoptions.
    I still have that going home barbie; I’ve thought several times about selling or donating it, but ultimately decided that wasn’t my choice to make.

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