I know most of you in the adoption community have read the following article in one place or another this past week:
BIG BABY GIRL SALE – ONLY $17,000! – Jim Dossett
The Chinese have given us many things; gunpowder, spaghetti, woks,
Jackie Chan. Oh yes, they’ve also been delighted to give us their
discarded children. Actually, they’re delighted to sell us their
kids. And government officials have laid down new ground rules for
foreigners who want to adopt children from China’s overflowing
Prospective adoptive parents must not be obese; no more than 50
years old; must not take antidepressants; must not have severe
facial deformities. So the bottom line is, if you take up two seats
on a plane, are a member of AARP, take Prozac, or resemble the
Elephant Man – No Chinese kids for you!
Mind you, these edicts are issued by a culture where parents
traditionally leave female babies at orphanages or by the roadside
because they wanted a son, or because the government allows them
only one child. Ninety-five percent of the children available for
adoption are girls. I’m amazed that one of the world’s oldest
civilizations, dating back to more than six millennnia, still
doesn’t realize that women are the best of us all.
I doubt whether many Campbell Countians would be eligible to adopt a
Chinese baby – not because we’re fat, old, or grotesquely deformed –
but because it costs more to buy a child in China than many of us
make in a year.
According to Chinese baby brokers, the estimated total cost of a no-
frills adoption, not including travel, is about $12,000. The
estimated total cost plus travel for two is $17,120.00 – such a deal.
“End of Year Sale! Get your certified, pre-owned girl child for the
amazing price of $17,120! She’s a beauty despite a few minor
scratches and dents, but comes with a manufacturer’s warranty – no
surprises under the hood or the diaper!”
Once the bucks are shelled out for the kiddie commodity, who knows
where the money ends up. Maybe some of the cash trickles into the
new charity created by the China Center for Adoption Affairs. This
burgeoning group of capitalists is hopeful the charity will improve
conditions in orphanages and “keep infants and young children alive
and well enough to be adopted.” It makes you wonder about the fate
of toddlers who are not well.
Despite the high costs and stringent rules issued by the baby
dealers, childless couples from the U.S. and around the world still
flock to China in hopes of bringing baby home. God bless you decent
souls. Stick religiously to your pretrip diets of carrot sticks and
cottage cheese and look forward to the fat and happy times you’ll
have raising your baby girl!
When Paula Zahn did her crappy show, I didn’t send an email although it was sickening to hear such crap spewed forth. This time I did send one and I, like others, got a response back but I think those of us this late in the week got a different canned response than the rest of you:
I am sure you have received numerous emails regarding Mr. Dossett’s article about adopting children from China. We, like thousands of other parents, have the joy and pleasure of being parents to a daughter from the Chongqing province in China who was adopted one year ago yesterday. We put no specifications ( i.e. specifically requesting a daughter) in our petition to adopt, simply requesting to be parents of a child. We were referred the most beautiful little girl who has a personality that is a perfect match with our family. Had there been any issues with our child, we would have gladly have approached and treated them appropriately, just as we would a biological child. Our daughter was 11 months old at referral and we have friends who have adopted special needs and non-special needs of all ages up to age 12.
Adoption, or to “buy a child” as Mr. Dossett refers to it, is quite expensive, domestic or international. If he would have researched more thoroughly, he would have found that the majority of the monies paid are here within the United States to our government and adoption agencies. Only about $4, 500.00 is paid in country and includes the orphanage donation, medical exam, visa and passport. To adopt a child is an emotionally taxing decision and is not one to be entered lightly, which we did not. After rallying friends for letters of recommendation, two sets of fingerprints, background checks, home study and mountains of documents to be authenticated, we were approved to be parents. Adoptive parents are scrutinized from income and tax information to our homes and the type of environment our children will be raised in. We are far from wealthy, in terms of money, but we work hard to make sure we have created the best possible environment for our daughter to learn and grow in.
Our daughter spent the first 13 months of her life in an orphanage that is sponsored by an American foundation. This foundation raises money for orphanages throughout China to help maintain an environment in which the children can learn and thrive while there. There are special programs created for infants to allow caregivers to hold and nurture children, something that is critical in the early months of their lives. There are classes set up for school aged children. Orphanages are being renovated and built. As sad as it is, for many of these children, it is the closest to a family they will ever have. I invite you to read about their programs on their website http://www.halfthesky.org.
The restrictions China has placed on who is eligible to adopt is their right and you should note other countries have similar restrictions. Where are your articles on those countries? How about Russian children who are abandoned and who are turned out as prostitutes at the age of 14 or so if they aren’t adopted? Guatemalan children who are placed for adoption and the corruption that goes along with those adoptions. Dear sirs, no adoption program is flawless, including ones in the United States. While we will never know the circumstances surrounding our daughter being abandoned, we are only thankful she is part of our family. We choose not to romanticize something we simply do not know but not one time will you ever hear us, or other adoptive parents, criticize her birth parents for their decision.
It is appalling to read such a bigoted article and that editors would allow such dribble to be printed, regardless of any sarcastic undertone or tongue in cheek intended. In the perfect world I should not have to explain my family dynamic to anyone but, since I do, articles such as this one have made a mockery of family dynamics world wide (as Chinese children are adopted by other countries and not just the U.S.) and will be the reason we are put in the position of answering asinine questions that are raised by readers whose only information is what they read in such articles.
I respect your freedom of speech but I must say it is disappointing to know a “journalist” wrote an article with such a bigoted and racist view.
I also invite you to look at the attached photos of our daughter. The daughter you say is “a beauty despite a few minor scratches and dents, but comes with a manufacturer’s warranty – no surprises under the hood or the diaper!” There are a lot of surprises that come along with a child, adopted or not, but for you to refer to our children using verbiage that one would find printed in used car ads is pathetic.
What’s next? Bashing our military and the tour my husband served in Iraq? Or have I missed it already? I can certainly dispel many of your myths and untruths regarding that and will be glad to direct you to others who are more passionate about it than I should you need further clarification.
And the response I got:
Susan,Thank you for sharing your photos and this information.
Please allow me to share with you the apology that ran in the next issue following the publication of Jim Dossett’s opinion piece.
An apology from
Publisher Linn Hudson
Printed in the Feb. 22, 2007 issue
In the past week, the LaFollette Press has received numerous emails regarding Jim Dossett’s opinion piece that appeared last week on the editorial page of our newspaper. I have offered my personal apology to those who have contacted us, and I now extend that apology to our full readership. I have spoken with Jim and he also apologizes.
Jim’s comments were aimed at the Chinese government and its policies for adoptions. He did not intend to disparage adoptive children and their adoptive parents.
We have learned through this experience we must look at opinion pieces through the eyes of those being discussed. In this instance, we could and should have done a better job in that regard.
Jim himself was adopted as a child. Due to this experience, Jim respects and admires those who adopt on a local, national or international level.
The feedback we received is appreciated and will help us deal with sensitive topics in the future.
I have spoken with a local family who adopted a daughter from China. They are allowing us to feature their positive and uplifting story in an upcoming issue.
Either myself or the editor has read each email that we received and we will continue to do so. Please know we take this matter seriously.
And lastly, my reply:
While I appreciate your reply, it boggles me as to why Jim hasn’t written the apology himself? Maybe it’s just the way it’s done where you are but where I come from people own up to mistakes and blunders such as this. Maybe the power of the pen gives one immunity but I certainly know I would hate to be the one who has to eat all his crow and plow through the muck.
The adoption community is one that is tight knit and spans the globe. Maybe you all should be glad more of us don’t live in your town or I’m sure your readership would grossly drop.
I hope you are sincere when you write this matter is being taken very seriously. I don’t live near you, nor do probably ninety-five percent of the people who emailed you, if not more, but it only took one of your readers to show the rest of us the poor taste of a journalist on your staff.