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Fever of adopting Chinese children in United States
2004-02-11 00:00

As statistics indicate there are more than 1.6 million foreign children under 18 years of age adopted by Americans at present. In 2002 alone, more than 21, 000 children were adopted, of which, six thousand are Chinese, ranking first. It is estimated that in Washington D.C, capital of the US, there are more than 1, 000 families that have adopted Chinese children.

Nowadays it's not rare to see in Chinese airports the scenes, groups of foreigners with blonde hair and blue eyes take babies happily with yellow skin and dark hair on their way home. Some hold babies in front of their chests; some push crates holding in which are babies with nipples in mouth sleeping soundly.

People who are eager to become parents have to turn abroad because adopting an American child is extremely complicated in procedure, and it is not easy to find a healthy American baby in a society that is more and more lenient to single parent families. In the past, Americans tended to adopt children from Central and South America, Eastern Europe and Russia, but nowadays more and more people turn to the oriental countries, such as China, Korea and Vietnam for adopting children. Why do they shift to children from oriental countries? Many parents answer the question in one breath, "children from oriental countries are clever and healthy."

In Washington D.C., families adopting Chinese children even founded a society named "Families with Chinese Children in the Capital". According to Mr. Switman, the chairman of the society, an important reason for Chinese craze in America is that the adopting system is very standardized in China. It's perhaps the best of all countries. The Chinese civil administration department cooperates closely with American agencies for the adoption. Given an example in adoption Mr. Switman himself took home a girl of nine-month old from China just two weeks ago.

To adopt a Chinese child, one needs to pay more than 10 thousand U.S. dollars. Family, which has the intention to adopt a child, normally contacts the local agency first. Upon the completion of background investigation of the adopter, i.e. to see if the adopter has crime record or if he has economic ability to raise a child, the agency will contact with Chinese departments to find out for adopter a child. After one year waiting, the agency will provide the adopter with the child's photo. Most children are girls below one year old. Although there is not much alternatives, Americans will not reject the candidate so long as the child does not have obvious health problems. Some parents are so eager to have a child that once the candidate is fixed, they will fly to China to complete the adoption procedure. Even during the SARS outbreak period of last year, the American adoption groups did not stop their visits to China.

Many Americans have a liking in Chinese culture, so they extend their love to Chinese children. Susanny of Virginia said she liked Chinese culture and so she hoped to make her home an international one where oriental and western culture merge. So she adopted a daughter from Yangzhou, China three years ago. Last year she adopted a boy from Kazakhstan. Susanny said, "Other people said the kids are lucky but we are even luckier because the kids are clever and healthy. They've brought us a lot of happiness and pleasure."

Ms. Bridge of Washington adopted a pair of twin girls from Yueyang, China one and a half years ago. In order to take care of the kids, she has to suspend her doctoral courses at university and serves as a "full-time mom" at home. With the coming of the twin daughters, Ms. Bridge feels even more enthusiastic for the Chinese culture. She begins to study the Chinese, and books reading materials in Chinese for children on Internet. When the Spring Festival comes, she puts up Spring Festival couplets at home and prepares "money to hold back the year" for her daughters. When the Lantern Festival is in, her family will boil sweet dumpling and make a pot of green tea just as does in a Chinese family. Sipping her tea, Ms. Bridge adds by saying "I like all kinds of Chinese tea."

She says she will send her daughters to Chinese school when they grow up. And in the future, she will take them back to Yueyang to see their own parents.


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