Wall Street Journal “All in the Family”

I'm sitting in a coffee shop right now with my friend Sarah, and we are reading this new article in the Wall Street Journal about adoption in China. Sarah remarks that it's interesting that there is a one-child policy for biological children but no limits on the number of kids you can adopt.

All in the Family: Adoption Comes Home to China

Every evening after that, Ms. Koh visited the orphanage after work
to care for the baby. She called her Portia, after the heroine in
Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice." In Chinese, she was Bao-sha — bao for treasure and sha for the first character in Shakespeare's Chinese name.

[China Adoption photo]

Samantha Sin for The Wall Street Journal

Mui Koh and her adopted daughter Portia at home in Guangdong province

months went by and Ms. Koh's love for the baby grew. Then the orphanage
warned her that unless she adopted Portia — now perfectly healthy —
the baby would be adopted by someone else.

Ms. Koh was stumped: "I didn't even know the concept of adoption at the time," she says.

No wonder. While China is known overseas as a place many go to adopt
babies, until recently adoption was uncommon among Chinese families
themselves. That's partly because of limited financial resources, and
partly because the country's Confucian culture emphasizes family and
filial piety.

Read the whole article here

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

9 thoughts

  1. I find it completely logical that there is a biological but not adoptive limit to children. The Chinese government has gotten a bad rap for the way in which it handled things but the One-Child policy was not instituted just for the sheer fun of it. China was facing a horrific possibility of mass starvation because of overpopulation. It needed to do something in order to control growth to a level that was feasibly sustainable.

  2. I used the term “sheer fun of it” as a figure of speech to mean the idea that some people have that it was simple an example of “The Big Bad Communist Government” wanting a means to control peoples lives.
    It would make sense that multiple children through adoption would not be a problem. A biological child would increase the population but an adoptive child would simply find a home for a child that already exists and is currently a ward of the government and its resources.

  3. P.S. I don’t mean to imply that you think anything like this but I have gotten that impression from other people.

  4. “Most” abandoned children in China have health issues? I don’t think this writer did the correct research, unless having female genitalia is now considered a “health issue”.

  5. China was facing a horrific possibility of mass starvation because of overpopulation.
    There was significantly more to the picture than overpopulation, including some fairly catastrophic mismanagement of resources. But the point stands– there was a rationale behind the policy.
    Liz, my understanding (and it may be wrong) is that fewer children overall are being abandoned now.

  6. Persia,
    I am sure that we will never really know the numbers, but if you talk to any person that has recently traveled to China for adoption, the sad fact is that the orphanages are still very full. Just because they are referring fewer babies does not mean that there are fewer babies. Although, last year they lifted the ban on abortion, so it may be true. I’m thrilled that adoption in China is happening, I just hope that it will slowly be more accepted by society. As it stands now, even according to the article, it is a secret, and the U.S. has many people who understand the implications of that! I understand the reasoning behind the one child policy. Too many Americans see the world through their eyes, and will never (luckily)have an understanding of starvation, and so are quick to judge.

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