One child policy leads to courageous difficult choices

posted in: Opinion | 0

I was adopted when I was 13 months old from a small orphanage in QingYuan, China. My parents traveled to China for seven days with two other families who also adopted young girls. Over the years, we have kept in touch with these families and try to visit them as much as possible. The girls I was adopted with are kind of like my sisters. But since I was so young when I was adopted, I do not remember too much of China.

My adopted parents have welcomed me with open arms and never once made me feel out of place. I never really felt too different because my parents were also Asian. but since I am darker than them people would sometimes question if we were related.

From a young age my parents tried to talk to me about the details of my adoption but I was just a happy kid who did not care. However, my parents always made sure that I knew I was loved. For three years before my sister was born, I was the center of my parents’ and grandparents’ lives.

I never felt that being adopted was a bad thing. Once my friend told me that they were sorry that they did not know I was adopted. And my only response was, “Why are you sorry?”

My adopted parents tried to keep things positive when it came to my birth parents and it was not until the age of six that I asked my mom, “Why didn’t my birth parents want me?” to which she would respond that “They wanted me to have a good life, an education, and to not live in fear.”

China’s population has gone over one billion but their resources are very limited; so when I was adopted 19 years ago, China’s government had instituted the strict and highly criticized one child policy. China’s culture was one where the male child takes care of the aging parents because of the lack of a pension or retirement system. Consequently, if you were to have and keep only one child, it was better to keep a healthy male.

However, because there were laws against abandonment, bringing babies to police stations and announcing the desire to give up a child up for adoption, couples were left with a choice. Get an abortion or leave the child out in a public place in hopes that it would be found.

I believe that my birth mom made a very courageous choice to give me up for adoption. She wanted me to live. She could have had an abortion, but she wanted something better for me. My birthmom knew that her whole family would have suffered if she got caught, so she took that risk to leave me in a public place hoping I would be found and would be taken to an orphanage.  

When my parents came to get me in China they visited the exact marketplace that I was found before I was brought to the orphanage. The orphanage director told my parents that a birthmother left a note attached to one of the babies in our adoption group, but she declined to say which one of us the note belonged to. The director wanted us to come back in the future, hopefully together, to get the note.


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