Project Proposal: Adoption in China

I chose to do my fieldwork project on adoption in China because I think it represents an interesting perspective on U.S.-China relations.  I find it very interesting that recently American’s have adopted more Chinese children than any other nationality.  In May of 2007, the Chinese government implemented stricter requirements to adopt in China.  The government announced that these new requirements were implemented to reduce the high number of applicants.   I am curious to the reaction of American parents hoping to adopt in China.  proposalAlthough these new requirements are not relatively extreme given the high-standard nature of adoption, I wonder if it has unforeseen effects on potential parents.  I also wonder what the perspective of Chinese people is concerning foreign adoption.  Foreigners come into the country to adopt children and take them back home to raised in a country very different from that of their birth.  I hope to hat opinions do Chinese people have concerning the new lives bestowed on the children.

I am planning on visiting adoption agencies and orphanages in Beijing.  As of right now, I know of one orphanage called Half the Sky that I would like to do research at.  It is an international organization that helps parents adopt in Beijing.  There are branches in China, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Canada.  I will contact the branch in Beijing through email and ask if I could interview anyone in charge.  I would be very interested in talking to orphanage directors and adoption agents.  I feel that they can provide the most insight to my questions.

Before arriving in China, I will prepare by interviewing my cousin.  He has adopted two children from China within the past three years; his experience adopting in China is relevant to my research because it was recent.  I am trying to limit the adoptions I research to after May 2007 when the new regulations were set.  My cousin’s testimony will provide the American side of my research.  Hopefully, it will answer the questions I have concerning how Americans perceive the recent trend to adopt from China.  I have a questionnaire I will email to him to fill out to his convenience.  I hope to find more Americans to interview either through my cousin or through the adoption agency.  There are several blogs online and Youtube videos of parents documenting their adoption process in great detail.  I plan to peruse those sites for more information.  I predict that Americans view adopting from China as a reaction to the world’s increased focus on China.  I argue that the attention China receives in the news causes American parents seeking to adopt to focus on China’s social issues concerning children.

I am very curious to see the opinions of the Chinese general public.  It must be no secret that each year a large amount of Americans are adopting children and taking them out of China.  The Chinese general public I am interested to see their views specifically on how they think the child will grow and develop in an environment very different from that of their birth.  Their opinions represent the bystanders who are either affected or unaffected by the influx of interest in China.  Their opinion will reflect the overall feelings toward adoption by foreigners.  I will specifically ask about Americans adopting since that is the basis for my research.  I predict their views concerning Americans adopting will not vary from other foreign nationalities.  Based on my general understanding of Chinese culture and perceptions of foreigners, I predict they will not demonstrate negative feelings toward the high number of foreign adoptions.  In my survey to the public, I listed on question about the One Child Policy.  One of the lasting effects was the abandonment of children.  Parents who could not afford to have more than one child would give their children to orphanages in hopes for a better life for them.  I wonder if the general public has considered a correlation between the One Child Policy and the high number of foreign adoptions.  Personally, I believe there is a correlation because of the increased number of orphans that spiked the interest of foreigners.

The Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs is located in Dong Cheng District of Beijing.  I plan to make myself an appointment with them and interview one of the officials.  I sent them an email and I am anticipating a response from them saying if I could somehow participate in their organization this summer.  If I am granted an interview or any sort of involvement, my questions for them will mainly focus on their interaction with American adoptive parents.  I wonder what they attribute the high number of American applicants to.  The worst part of the large number of orphans is the black market that was created.  When the large supply of orphans does not meet the demand of parents, a black market is formed selling children to ‘parents’ with the highest bid.  I wonder if the CCAA takes any action against them or is affected by this black market’s business.  The trafficking of children is more a legal and human rights issue, however I wonder if it affects the CCAA in any way.