The number of adoptions that happen is China is not known there are no formal records. However this is a multi-million dollar industry both locally in China and internationally. Human trafficking has been linked to both the domestic and international adoption scenes due to some legal loopholes.
Domestic: Online Adoption Platforms
The founder of a Chinese online adoption platform website had to defend his credibility after news reports (Chinese) quoted an investigative piece done by the Beijing News, alleged that he had profited from the site. The founder and administrator of the site, citing his screen name Lichou denied the claims via a report by China Daily. The adoption platforms are said to be a haven for traffickers and doctors looking to make a quick buck by selling fake birth certificates.
In China, there are currently two ways to adopt through a welfare or civil adoption. The going rate for a child is between RMB 30,000 to RMB 50,000 even going as high as RMB 100,000 if the parties agree on the price. This is usually not a guarantee as some times the birth parents choose not to give up the baby. Most of users of online platforms prefer using choosing civil adoption known as ‘take way’ over the use of an orphanage.
The online adoption agency platforms are a gray area when it comes to the Adoption Laws in China, for this area is not covered. As per Lichou’s own admission, the site’s main concerns are human traffickers who place ads ‘selling’ babies. Legally, Lichou takes down the ads that ‘sell’ children then reporting them to the police therefore he is not committing any legal offence. Lichou’s site is just one among many that have this same problem.
International (US): Living With Dead Hearts
For foreigners who wish to adopt must be a citizen from one of the only 17 countries that have established inter-country adoption with China. These countries are U.S.A., Canada, U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Here is a guide to the adoption process for foreigners.
The issue of transparency in the US when dealing with the heritage of Chinese adopted children is highlighted in a story that was featured in The Atlantic, by Charlie Custer. Custer’s documentary Living with Dead Hearts looks at the international adoption of Chinese children to unsuspecting adopters in the US and the struggles experience by Chinese parents who have had their children kidnapped.
The adoption gray area (legally) is in the definition of human trafficking in the US. When a child who is kidnapped then sold to adoption orphanages afterwards adopted by international parents and the paperwork seems legal and fine therefore the adoption approved, this does not constitute to human trafficking.
Tips on How To Keep Your Child Safe
1. Teach your children to run away from danger, never towards it. Danger is anyone or anything that invades their personal space. Teach them to yell loudly. Their safety is more important than being polite. Teach your children that if they are ever followed in a car to turn around and run in the other direction to you or a trusted adult.
2. Talk openly to your children about safety and encourage them to tell you or a trusted adult if anyone or anything makes them feel frightened, confused, or uncomfortable. Discuss security issues with your children so that they will understand the need for precautions. Advise your older children about steps they can take to help safeguard themselves. Know your children’s friends and their families. Pay attention to your children and listen to them. If you don’t, there’s always someone else who will.
3. Practice what you teach by creating "what if" scenarios with your children to make sure they understand the safety message and can use it in a real situation.
4. Have a list of family members who could be contacted in case of an emergency. Designate a family member or close associate who would be able to fill the role of advisor in case of an emergency.
5. Know your employees and coworkers. Do background screening and reference checks on everyone who works at your home, particularly those individuals who care for your children. Their knowledge of your family is extensive so make sure that you have an equivalent understanding of who they are.
6. Consider varying your daily routines and habits. Do not take the same routes or go at the same time on your regular errands. If you take your children to school, change that route as well.
7. Take steps to secure personal information about yourself. Consider getting a post office box and registering everything you can there including your vehicles and drivers’ licenses. Have personal bills sent to your place of work or the post office box. Be discreet about your possessions and family’s personal habits and information.
8. Remember that you are your best resource for better safeguarding your family. Do not become complacent about personal security issues.
More tips can be found in myparentstime.com
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia commons