Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Finding Birthparents

On Monday, The LA Times ran an article called “Adoptive families' quests to trace Chinese roots often meet dead ends

This article featured one family who went to China and within minutes of putting up a poster at their daughter’s finding site found her birthparents. At the same time there are success stories, there are also stories of failures. Another family featured in the article has traveled to China 13 times and has yet to locate their daughters’ birthparents.

Changfu Chang, associate professor at Millersville University in Millersville, Pa has created a number of
documentaries about adoption in China. In the LA Times article, “Chang says he knows of perhaps 20 adoptive families who have located birth relatives of their children, a minuscule number considering the more than 60,000 Chinese babies adopted by Americans since the early 1990s.”

Have your children asked you to find their birthparents? Have you travelled to China to look for your child’s birthparents or are you planning to? If you have gone, what did you do to find them? If you are thinking of going, what are planning to do to find them?

Karen Maunu LWB

Monday, December 21, 2009

International Adoption 13-Year Low

Last Friday, a new article on international adoptions by Americans came out “Foreign adoptions by Americans hit 13-year low” by David Crary. In 2009, foreign adoptions dropped to 12,753, 27% lower than 2008 and nearly 45% lower than the all-time peak in 2004.

This article sited many reasons most of them pertained to adoption reform. In this article, Chuck Johnson, chief operating officer for the National Council for Adoption was quoted:

"This drop is not a result of fewer orphans or less interest from American families in adopting children from other countries," he said. "All of us are very discouraged because we see the suffering taking place. We don't know how to fix it without the U.S. government coming alongside."

Thomas DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services believes that in 2010, adoption numbers could fall even further. He would like to see more help from the State Department saying, "One of their primary functions is to help potential adoptive parents, when their focus should be on children in need of adoptive families."

We would love your thoughts on what this might mean for your family. Were you thinking of adding to your family through international adoption? Does this article make you rethink these plans? Are you planning to contact any of your congressional representatives?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo of the Week - Cozy Andrew

What an absolutely adorable face! This is Andrew from our Kaifeng foster care program. He will be snuggly warm this winter in his new coat, courtesy of our Coats for Kids program.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Shall I Leave My Children?

The open sky, the brown earth, the leafy tree,

The golden sand, the blue water, the stars in courses
and the awareness of this.

Birdsong, butterflies, clouds and rainbows,
Sunlight, moonlight, firelight.

A hand reaching down for a small hand,
Impromptu praise, an unexpected kiss, a straight answer.

The glow of enthusiasm, and a sense of wonder,
Long days to be merry in and nights without fear.

The memory of a good home.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Chance Encounters - What Are Yours?

I found this wonderful new blog, One World: Chinese Adoptee Links Blog, a compilation of Chinese adoptees blogs through one of my favorite blogs, Adoption Talk. This new blog is being written by Chinese adoptees around the world. This is their welcome at the top of the blog:

Welcome to ONE WORLD: Chinese Adoptee Links (CAL) Blog! Founded by a
group of seven, Erin, Jazz, Jeannette, Jennifer Bao Yu Jue-Steuck, Julia, Mei-Mei, and Sabrina span 3 continents and represent 5 generations of Chinese adoptees. This is a compilation of stories and articles from around the world, reflecting the diverse experiences of those adopted from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Macau, Malaysia and from around the globe. If you'd like to contribute, please email the webmaster at Visit CAL online at:

Thank you!

As I read through the blogs, I couldn’t help but think of my girls at these older ages, participating in a blog like this. What would their words say?

One of the blogs really made an impact on me – “Chance Encounters (Part Deux)” . In this blog posting by Jennifer Bao Yu Jue-Steuck, she writes about “8 Chance Encounters That Have Changed My Life”. I couldn’t help but see these events through the eyes of my daughters. Her #4, meeting another adoptee in class while she is in college, or #5 sitting next to a mom and her Chinese adopted daughter in a subway, and then #7 meeting “fellow peer-aged ADULT Chinese adoptees”.

I love how she ended this blog post – What chance encounters have changed your life? What a wonderful blog and definitely one that I will be introducing my girls to.

When you read this, what thoughts come to your mind as you envision your children as adults?

Karen Maunu

Friday, December 11, 2009

Photo of the Week - Surgery for Iris

Little Iris in the US having surgery on the large hemangioma on her neck. Yesterday, she had the first of two surgeries she will have while she is here. Thanks to Dr. Hochman and his team, her first surgery was a success! She did so well yesterday and loved being the center of attention. The only thing that made her upset was that they removed her pretty bracelet after she was put under anethesia. Our hope is that as soon as she goes back to China, her paperwork will be submitted so she will be able to have a forever family!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Status of Adoptions from China - BOYS

The National Council for Adoption recently released a report on the status of adoptions from China to the US. You can read the entire document here.

I had never seen the total number of adoptions broken down by gender before, and was surprised to still see such a disparity between the number of girls being adopted versus boys, especially since many of our programs in China run pretty much 50/50 on the boys and girls we help. In 2008, 3030 girls were adopted to the United States while only 822 boys found homes. I actually found myself thinking that I probably knew at least half of those boys who had found a family!

A little bit later on in the article, they mention a study on boys from China published in April of this year. In this study, 61 families were asked questions regarding their adoption of a son, and it was wonderful to read that the vast majority say their sons are doing well. The main concerns raised were the lack of resources for boys from China, since the majority of adoptions are of little girls, and also a need for more help in framing their son's stories, as most people believe only little girls are available for adoption.

If you have adopted a son from China, what explanation do you give when asked how you were able to adopt a boy? Did you specifically request a boy from China or were you open to either gender? Why do you think the majority of waiting children files returned "unchosen" to China are of boys?

Amy (proud mama to one of the cutest little boys from China ever, and yes, completely biased!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

What are You?

Saturday night, I watched the movie “Grand Torino” with my husband. I loved how in this movie, the character Clint Eastwood plays starts out very racist regarding his Hmong neighbors but in the end, gives his life for them. He asks them to go back to where they are from and doesn’t believe that they are American. As a veteran in the Korean War, he viewed all Asians as bad, especially his neighbors. I loved how at the end of the movie, he pins the silver star he earned during the war onto the neighbor boy Tao, really symbolizing how they are connected and that he saw him as American too.

In addition, a friend was telling me recently that in the year 2050 the Caucasians/Non-Hispanic whites in the US will become a minority. I found this article "Caucasian Race in the United States to be the Minority in 2050" that Reuters is predicting that by that time, this population will account for 47 percent of the population.

NPRs Melisa Goh recently did a story called “What Are You? The Answer’s Not Black or White” about being raised multiracial and how being mixed, with a white mother and an Asian father, that people didn’t know where she fit. She also talked about conversations can easily slip from race to nationality.

She went onto talk about a bumper sticker on her cousin’s car that read, “Somewhere in Kenya, a village is missing its idiot”. She responded this way:

But this jab struck a tender spot. He sees the sticker as a purely political matter. I see it as unquestionably racial. I drew blood when I pointed this out, and our conversation took that ugly turn.

But for me, those who question President Obama's citizenship are sending me a personal message: If your father came from somewhere else and isn't white, then you may not be American enough. To them, I'll always be an outsider.

Thing is, my cousin's husband isn't one of those people. Far from it. He and my cousin have adopted three Chinese orphans. He'll never, ever tell them they're not as American as their blond, blue-eyed brother — and I wouldn't dare anyone to try.

He has heard people say his children should go back to where they came from, and he has always put a stop to it. So I don't understand what's so funny about that bumper sticker.

She goes onto say:

Turns out, "What are you?" isn't a question for just funny-looking people like me. It's a question each one of us has to answer. And that answer, for all of us, isn't black or white.

What makes an American? Do you look at the color of someone skin and wonder where they are from? Have you ever made false assumptions regarding someone’s race and their nationality?

Karen Maunu

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Photo of the Week - Healed Heart for Austin

Austin is a little boy from our school in Jinjiang who had a really serious heart defect. His smile is so infectious! He had surgery last week and was just discharged. When his Ayi told him he would be having surgery and he smiled. Our hospital monitor told us that Austin was nervous but very brave ‘and didn’t cry’. We are so happy this beautiful child is now healed!