Thursday, March 16, 2006

Something to read to help pass the time . . .

I have been reading this excellent book called The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans published in 2000. It is about her adoption of a Chinese baby girl and the plight of Chinese women and their babies. There is tons of information in it. I just finished it, but am rereading it to share with everyone some different facts. There's so much more to this than just babies being abandoned.
- It is predicted that by 2003 there will be 30,000 Chinese children living in this country, most of them girls. (US Immigration)
- Chinese women's reproductive lives are largely controlled by the state. Permission from the government was required in order to have a child; women who became pregnant without consent were often forced to have abortions, even late in their pregnancies. If that baby was a girl, her husband and his family could disown her for giving birth to a child of the wrong gender. She could lose her job and her home.
- For rural women, who constitute 70% of China's populace, life is desperately hard, even in boom times and model villages. The suicide rate among women in the countryside is the highest in the world. China is, in fact, the only nation where the suicide rates for women top those for men. Most victims are young. The means of self-destruction, most often, is a lethal gulp of the poison closest at hand, agricultural pesticide. (NY Times January 24, 1999)
- A Chinese parent who wants to give a child a chance at being adopted must conveniently disappear, and so must the rest of the family, if anybody else is around. It's the Chinese equivalent to what's known in this country as "making an adoption plan." Thus, a birth parent who disappears is often intentionally creating a chance for her child to find a new home.
- Abandoning a child is against the law in China, another reason why parents are usually careful to leave no traces. A specific provision of the 1992 Law on Protection of Women's Rights and Interests forbids "forsaking" baby girls (often, on Chinese adoption papers the child is listed as "found forsaken"), although no one has reported any substantial pattern of prosecution. (Human Rights in China, December 1998)

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