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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kay Johnson Interview at O Solo Mama

While the husband and I waited to travel to China to adopt our little Tongginator, we devoured several books that many within the China-adoption community label "must-reads." The first was the heart-tugging travelogue memoir The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans and the second was the then-newly published and highly informative Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son by Kay Johnson.

Back then, I read Johnson's book cover-to-cover in one sitting. And I've since re-read it twice.

While the book came out in 2004, the bulk of statistics and information contained within Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son dated from the nineties. I felt curious then - and even more curious now - about Johnson's current views regarding China's socio-political-economic climate in terms of child relinquishment, abandonment and trafficking, as well as its current practices surrounding both formal and informal adoptions.

Well, I got my wish, y'all. O Solo Mama interviewed Kay Johnson after a recent Families with Children from China (FCC) chapter's viewing of the documentary China's Stolen Children, produced by the same team that created the oft-described sensationalistic documentary The Dying Rooms. An excerpt from the interview...
The majority of domestic adoptions I’ve learned about were foundlings who were taken into homes. That spontaneous adoption was mostly illegal because the adopters were usually too young or were not childless. What the government tried to do was create channels to get the abandoned children into the government’s hands. In order for orphanages to get abandoned babies, they have to take them out of the hands of Chinese adopters or pick them up before adopters do. The orphanage incentive programs might have begun that way when abandonment started to decline, but it’s important to remember that the government is also trying to crack down on illegal behavior and get people to stop picking up these children and taking them in without government approval.
Usually I wait until Sunday to link to thought-provoking posts, but this one is quite definitely a must-read. Head over to O Solo Mama to hear Kay Johnson's thoughts about the documentary China's Stolen Children and so much more.


autumnesf said...

It really sounds to me like the age requirement drop and probably the Hague changes (must make an effort to adopt out the children in country first) have really helped out with this issue. There are obviously PLENTY of people willing to adopt right there in China...they just need to be allowed to do so. And then, if they would get rid of the one child rule, the problem would really shrink. The only international adoptions they might need then would be the special needs program.

Food for thought, huh?

I read both these books during our wait also. Plus I have Death By Default. Dying Rooms and Death By Default are so obviously cases of taking one incident or orphanage and judging the whole system. The language was so inflammatory that it was hard to take them seriously even though they were pointing out abuses. You can't judge a whole system by one institution. (But at least the government did take a look and crack down on the behaviors.)

Aus said...

Thanks for the link TM - I'll have to give it a read later tonight!

We too have read the books you mentioned - as well as others related to the Korean programs (and volumes on attachment etc!) It really does open eyes - and as parents of these kids that's (IMHO) critical!

hugs - aus and co.

Anonymous said...

I feel like such a veteran when I think back to how few books were available during our first adoption... and yet am glad they were of such high quality. those were my first two reads as well. Thanks for the link. I'm quite curious about this subject in China and other programs.

Patricia/NYC said...

OK...we are on the same wavelength as I was just about to email you & give you the heads-up on this!

You smart, quick cookie, you...I should have known you'd beat me to it! ;)

We did see that documentary...hard to watch, but necessary to watch.

Patty O. said...

Sorry, I know I am not at all well-informed on this topic, so forgive my ignorance. The Chinese government has a 1-child per family law even if the family wants to adopt a child who has already been born? That makes no sense. And are they cracking down on unofficial adoptions to try to reduce trafficking? Obviously, I need to read that interview. Thanks for the info!