' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Question from Reader regarding Chinese Adoptions

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Question from Reader regarding Chinese Adoptions

A reader left a question and a comment last night on the post, Babies Confiscated in China and Sold as Orphans to the Western Market. She had "inherited" a Chinese adoptee when she married her husband, who had been the younger spouse in an earlier marriage. She wanted to know what anyone knew about Chinese adoptions in 1993.

While we will have a new and different blog up later today, I decided to post the question to our readers this morning. Here is Stephanie's comment/question:
 I have "inherited" an adopted child from China. She was originally adopted by an older woman and a younger man (now my husband). I often wonder how good the background check was on the birth [note: she originally typed in "adoptive" mother here, but I assume it was a Freudian slip] mother. I hear it is better today, but back in 1993 it was not so good.

I would never want to be without my Step Daughter, but I don't know what kind of good system that really checks backgrounds of people could have allowed that woman to adopt.

Does anyone know what the rules were in 1993 regarding china adoptions?
 Please leave your comment here. 


  1. No, I do not think that was a Freudian slip; from the oontext it seems she was asking about a background check on the adoptive mother, her husband's ex-wife. I guess she thinks the woman was not a fit mother and should not have been allowed to adopt. I do not think she meant the birthmother.

  2. How interesting! I confronted the social worker who insisted that I was never a fit parent with what her "help" had done. The lack of background information on the a-mother that allowed an woman who murdered her only son in-utero! because she caught her son's father in bed with another woman! I asked her how she could have thought I was so unfit when I never raised a hand to my child and she knew that it was a safe loving environment that would have been the most appropriate.

    The answer was simple "Not me" "those decisions were made in Phoenix" implying that she was absolved of the crime she committed.

    One day "Not Me" is going to strangle those kind of people one day. Just like it choked to death those criminals in the Neuremberg Trials.


    Just my opinion.

  3. Background check would refer to the adoptive mother. I agree with Maryanne--she thinks the former mother (the previous wife of her husband) was a bad mother. There would be no record of the original mother. It's illegal to abandon a child in China, so the original parents would be under the radar.

    1993 would be the first year of the adoption program. This is even before the founding of the CCAA. Orphanage fees hadn't been regulated at that point; perhaps it is the case that the homestudy process was not very rigorous? I don't honestly know except that some people who present themselves as OK people turn around and prove to be incapable, insensitive a-parents.

  4. I agree, she is referring to the adoptive mother and her being fit to parent. Depending on the social worker and the state would determine how rigorous the background check was. The same thing as what goes on today. If the social worker has an agenda--oftentimes working for the agency, there is not much of a background check beyond obvious crimes; if they are more diligent and look into the family dynamic that yes, it is more detailed.

    There are many very fit ap's and there are some not so much, just as in the general population--AP's are no better or worse than Bio parents. In her situation at this point there seems not much she can do in regards to the A-mom, the only thing I can see is to see if that social worker is still approving people and see if there is a way she can make sure she screens more carefully in the future.

  5. I wonder if there are any statistics that would give us an idea of how many home studies are conducted, how many pass, and how many fail.

    Could those of you who have been through a home study give us any insight into the process?

  6. My homestudy for China was rigorous (in my opinion). It was intrusive and thorough, combing through many aspects of my life. There were 4 visits in all, each consisting of interviews lasting a few hours, and one was done in my home which was also inspected. My youth, my family, the kind of parents I had, my contact with children, the history of my romantic relationships, my professional life, how I felt about adoption and race, what my parenting style would be in a variety of situations were all addressed in addition to why I wanted to adopt. Other screening was demanded by CCAA (finances, health). I was fingerprinted and the prints were sent to a national database. I needed three letters of reference from people who also had to answer similar probing questions about me, the kind of person I was, etc. I still have the letters and each was about 750 words long. I also elected to participate in a 6-month post-placement home study. Not everybody did it but my social worker said China would like such a thing.

    I liked my social worker but she was tough. We didn't see eye to eye on everything but I think she approved of me. At any rate, I got through. I do remember her talking openly of people who didn't.

  7. You guys are probably right, she was referring to the wicked earlier amom.

  8. Since this adoption happened in 1993, it may have fallen under the "Implementation Measures on the Adoption of Children by Foriegners in the PRC" as well as under the "Adoption Law of the PRC, 1992" - The former sets forth these requirements for foreign adoptive parents:

    "Article 4 When a foreigner adopts a child in China, he should request his government or the adoption agency entrusted by his country government to convey an adoption application and submit the family situation report and certificates to the adoption agency entrusted by the Chinese Government.
    The adopter's application, family situation report and certificates prescribed in the preceding paragraph mean the following documents notarized by the notary office or a notary of his country of constant residence and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the agency authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of his constant residence, and by the Embassy or Consulate of China in the country concerned:
    (1)adoption application;
    (2)birth certificate;
    (3)marital status certificate;
    (4)certificates of profession, income and property;
    (5)health examination certificate;
    (6)certificate of criminal record;
    (7)certificate of child adoption approval by the competent department of the adopter's country of constant residence;
    (8)family situation report, including the status of the adoption applicant,the qualification and appropriateness of the adoption, family background, health history, adoption motive and features suitable for the care of the child.
    Foreigners who have continuously lived in China for work or study for over one year should submit the marital status certificate, certificates of profession, income and property and certificate of criminal record provided by his work unit in China, and health certificate issued by a medical unit above the county level in China, in addition to the submission of the letter of application, family situation report and certificates prescribed in the preceding paragraph (except for item (5) )."

    However, that order did not go into effect until November 3, 1993, so if the adoption happened before then, it would have only been subject to the latter, which only says this:

    "Article 20 A foreigner may, in accordance with this Law, adopt a child (male or female) in the People's Republic of China.
    With respect to the adoption by a foreigner in the People's Republic of China, papers certifying such particulars of the adopter as age, marital status, profession, property, health and whether subjected once to criminal punishment shall be provided. Such certifying papers shall be notarized by a notarial agency or notary of the country to which the adopter belongs, and the notarization shall be authenticated by the Embassy or a consulate of the People's Republic of China stationed in that country. The adopter shall conclude a written agreement with the person placing out the child for adoption, register in person the adoption with a Chinese civil affairs department and complete the procedure for notarizing the adoption at a designated notarial agency. The adoptive relationship shall be established as of the date of the notarization."

    The adoptive parents would also have to have met the requirements of their home state, which vary, but usually do include homestudies, background checks, etc.

    The laws referenced can be found here: http://www.fwcc.org/China_adoption_law_98.htm

  9. Late to the party, but I agree - the reference was to the a-mother. If she'd been talking about the first mother, she would have asked about the health of the mother, not a background check.

    Because my kids are Korean, I can't speak to the China adoption process specifically. Our homestudy included several interviews individually and as a couple to answer questions about our desire to parent, attitudes toward adoption, attitudes toward race, plans for childcare, and the like. We also wrote biographies and had some discussion about those as well. We were fingerprinted and had a police background check, provided financial data, were required to purchase a life insurance policy, and more, I'm sure. There was a home visit before placement and two more before finalization.

    Even though the homestudy probably looks fairly similar state by state, I think much of its effectiveness depends on the social worker conducting it and the PAPs' attitudes. Therefore, if a person is just plain mean, but has no criminal background, that could be easily hidden by someone on their best behavior.

    Apart from the data collected and the background check, at the end of the day it's an interview.

  10. Thank you all for checking in and commenting. But because Stephanie who posed the question has not checked back in, we'll not know if she found the answer. The blogaphere is a strange place.



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