' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Corruption in Foreign Adoptions: China, Again

Friday, July 29, 2011

Corruption in Foreign Adoptions: China, Again

Once again, corruption in baby snatching in China is in the news: Chinese police rescued 81 children from a major child trafficking ring operating throughout eastern China. The rescued children, mostly girls, were from ten days to four months old. Another raid earlier this month resulted in eight children being rescued. Unless the children were
abused, the 359 suspects arrested in the raids may not be subject to criminal penalties, according to Liu Ancheng, an official with the Ministry of Public Security. 

“The cost of the crime of buying children is not great,” Ancheng, deputy director of the ministry’s criminal investigation bureau, told the Communist's Party leading newspaper. He also blamed “the dreadful practice of buying and selling children in this country [China]” on the traditional idea of the need for male offspring, especially in rural areas. 

We know what that has meant: abandon or sell or steal girls for the market of people who can pay for them in places like America. While we do not question that many girls were abandoned and ended up on orphanages and later adopted by people who could afford them, the increase of infertility among educated, middle class couples in their thirties and forties who did not produce their own offspring led to such a huge demand for adoptable babies that corruption was soon to follow. And it did. We have written numerous times about this at First Mother Forum.
Yours for X dollars

Finally acknowledging the child trafficking that grew out of badly managed adoption programs, China, Ethiopia, Russia, Cambodia, Guatemala, and Nepal curtailed them over past several years. That, plus a declining American economy, and perhaps the belated realization that foreign children do not grow on trees, has resulted in a 52 percent reduction in the number of children adopted from abroad, from 22,991 in 2004 to 11,058 in 2010 according to the US State Department. The number of adoptions news from China dropped 57 percent from a high of 7,903 in 2005 to 3,401 in 2010. The gender imbalance in adoptions has changed even more dramatically, dropping from 95 percent female in 2005 to 75 percent in 2010.

Currently the wait for a healthy infant--mostly female--in China is five years, unless you are willing to take an older child with disabilities.  One agency,  All God’s Children International (AGCI) claims to have access to more than 2,000 special needs children. AGCI says the majority of these children are boys with correctable conditions such as cleft lips and palates, birth marks, heart conditions, and club feet, some of whom have already had these conditions corrected. The restrictions on who is allowed to adopt have been eased for these adoptions.

While this may seem to be a positive trend, it raises troubling questions. Is the willingness of westerners to take these children putting additional pressure on their families to give them up? Wouldn’t money spent adopting these children be better spent helping their families care for them? And lastly, and most importantly, should agencies encourage any foreign adoptions when there are thousands of American children needing families who are readily available through state child welfare programs and agencies such as Adopt USKids

We know the answer to that one: the vast majority of people looking to adopt are more interested in an infant or very young child, one they assume will have fewer problems adjusting to their middle class way of life, will grow up to be more like them, will do well on their ACT's and get into a good college, will not have memories of their natural parents and brothers and sisters, and are, you know, just so damn cute! We sense this attitude in the numerous books written by adoptive parents, we read it in their blogs, we hear it on the street. We read it in the magazines--one celebrity after another doing good in the world by doing their part to redistribute the children born to poor mothers in poor countries of the world. 

We can't resist noting that if certain politicians have their way and reduce health care for poor families, some may have to give up their children in order to obtain medical treatment for them. Perhaps international adoption agencies could arrange for these children to go to affluent Chinese families. They are already buying kidnapped boys in order to have a male heir, and authorities have had little to no success in returning the children to their parents.
For more see: “81 Children Rescued in Raids on Trafficking Ring, Chinese Officials say," New York Times, 7/27/11)

Demand for babies leads to adoption abuses

 PS: SEE UPDATE ON AUSTRALIA APOLOGY: Mothers of stolen babies demand more than an apology


  1. Nobody doubts that such trafficking exists. In this particular instance, reports lead me to think that the babies could have been intended for customers in China because there's a huge black market for children in-country. Girls are often sought as slaves or child brides. One of the reports mentions this connection, which may be worth considering. One of the awful ironies, though, is that the rescued children have ended up in orphanages because their parents can't be found.

    Trafficking is proving very hard to root out in China where traditional values dictate that families function best being constituted in certain ways. The One Child Policy has only increased that pressure. Punishment for trafficking can also be hit and miss and often depends on what signal the government wants to send, and in what context.

    From AP

    Liu Ancheng, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security Criminal Investigation Bureau, was quoted in the People's Daily report as saying that if the buyers have not abused the children, they cannot be held criminally responsible.

    Liu said the "dreadful practice of buying and selling children" is a result of ignorance of the law in rural areas as well as traditional Chinese social norms that call for people "to have both sons and daughters" and children who will look after a parent in old age.

    China's traditional preference for male heirs means some families sell their female babies in order to try for a boy, since the country's one-child policy limits most urban couples to one child and rural families to two.


    Hope this is useful information.

  2. These litlle babies are more than likely going to be bought by Americans for the right price of course. The economy is affecting the baby buying business too. Can't Americans that want to adopt get a Chinese loan to adopt a Chinese baby. American economy was thriving and Americans were busy adopting a few short years ago.
    People should be appalled at baby trafficking and using young girls for profit. I saw this news on limited tv I have
    Where is humanity in this??

  3. Hey Lorraine - my post is regarding comments for your July 24th & 27th threads - so if you want to move this - okay by me! I had an emergency appendix surgery last Tuesday night - so I'm kind of behind! Healing great - thanks in advance!! (0:

    Robin said
    Of course, my fmother was fed the line that I would be taunted for being a bastard and wouldn't have any friends.

    Ah, yes - that word "bastard" was thrown out at me too at St. Anne's; here's one of my scenarios going on in my head before I went to sign the adoption papers - I'd just take here to another part of the US & say my "husband" died in Viet Nam (daughter born in 1969)! But like Janet - I can never except fully WHY I did what I did!!

    Robin said:
    Yes, I did have material advantages (for a time) but I don't see any advantage to losing my entire family on both sides, being raised in a family that I didn't fit into, having the wrong surname and growing up in the wrong city.

    BUT - we were told you/everyone is born a "blank slates" - you would remember nothing, would not remember us!!

    Von said...
    For the most part I'd guess from what I'm told and my own reunion, that what satisfies adoptees is a mother who is honest, truthful, has good intentions and has dealt with the past as best she can.

    Yes - I've been very honest & truthful - with good intentions with my own daughter, but...

    Janet - Good Luck in your reunion - and YES, as Lorraine said - keep us updated - I'll live thru you!! LOL! I'm still waiting for my own 42 year old to come around!

  4. Yo Lee: Can't "move anything around" but if you want to repost this at the blog where the thread is, I will repost it there. Sounds like a good idea...

  5. Speaking of foreign adoptions, check this out:




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