Sunday, September 30, 2007

Autumn Moon Festival Celebrated in Upstate NY

Chinese festival reinforces heritage
Roz Zatyko and her husband, Andrew, knew they wanted to adopt even after their first daughter, Katie, was born. They decided to open their home in Pittsford to Julia, who is from Hubei Province in China, four years ago.

"With the population problems that China has and the way that the second child is not valued, especially if it is a girl, we wanted to do something," said Zatyko.

The Zatyko family was on hand Saturday to help Julia continue to learn about her heritage as part of the Autumn Moon Festival. The festival, held at the YMCA Camp Arrowhead in Pittsford, takes place in mid- to late September every year and is similar to America's Thanksgiving Day tradition...

More than 200 people attended the event, sponsored by Families with Children from China, the international, volunteer organization that aids those interested or affected by adoption from China. The group's goal is to celebrate children's Chinese cultural heritage, share information and resources regarding the international adoption process and enhance local Chinese-American relationships.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ladybug Picnic in Congers, NY

Those New Yorkers know how to party:

Picnic to be held in Congers for adoptive families of Chinese children
Families who have adopted children from China will gather at Congers Memorial Park tomorrow for the 11th annual Ladybug Picnic.

Sponsored by the Homeland Children's Foundation and Homeland Adoption Services of Nyack, the event is being held around the time of a Chinese festival in which people honor friends and family, said Homeland Board of Directors president Pamela Thomas.

"It's an opportunity for all the families to celebrate together every year," said Thomas, who adopted her daughter from China 12 years ago. "Many of our children came from the same orphanages. Some of them may have shared cribs when they were babies. It's a nice chance for them to get to reconnect once a year."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Colorado Store Sells Dolls With Adoption Message

I'm not sure how this doll "explains" adoption, but, oh well:

MollyCoddle dolls help explain adoption
The owner of a doll store at the Chapel Hills Mall is reaching out to parents and their adopted children, teaching them love is more important than heritage or hair color.

One year ago, Stephanie Younger opened MollyCoddles. "It's a newborn nursery for baby dolls," she said.

Younger has three biological daughters and one adopted son. "We just know how we felt when we brought him home and how excited we were to bring him into our family," she said.

Okinawa Adoption Support Group

Adoptive parents open hearts, homes
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa (September 28, 2007) -- On Sunday afternoon, four families met at Dan and Nicole Kobs' house. For the adults, it was a time for friendly conversation. For the children, it was a time for play and fun. The children headed straight for the cookies sitting on the table while the parents sat down for what the kids called "boring talk."

This might seem typical in most American homes on a Sunday afternoon, but at the Kobs', things are a little unique.

These four families include adopted children from China, Vietnam and Kazakhstan, and the parents are members of the Okinawa Adoption Support Group. This unique situation tends to create unique conversations.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Moon Festival Tradition

We found out last year that moon cakes weren't such a big hit, so this year I decided we were going to try and find some Moon Pies instead. So, after work, I went to the Store That Has Everything to pick some up. Turns out they don't have everything. But they did have Half Moon cookies:

Close enough, I thought. A little whipped cream will turn those into full moons. Turns out Ally was more interested in the icing than the cookie beneath:

Your Cheatin' Agency

For those of you who have stumbled upon this blog hoping to find out more about the agency getting early referrals, I'm afraid I can't help you out. If you do know who it is, feel free to leave a comment or drop an e-mail.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Starbucks in Forbidden City Replaced by McDonald's

Just kidding; it's now a more traditional Chinese tea shop:

Forbidden City Starbucks replaced
A traditional Chinese cafe has opened up in Beijing's Forbidden City, replacing a Starbucks coffee shop that was forced to shut after protests.

The new cafe will serve both coffee and traditional Chinese tea, China's state media said.

Illinois Adoption Story

Families open their hearts and homes to international additions
A tiny baby girl, with coal black hair and dark eyes, was abandoned in the night in Youxi City, China, at the gate of the city's welfare institute, where she would surely be found - as she was - early the next morning by an institute worker.

The infant was taken to the police station, but later returned to the welfare institute. She was placed with a foster mother with whom she stayed for 8½ months, until she was adopted by Jeff and Amy Maninfior of Mattoon.

Today, a month and a half later, Lily Maninfior is happily learning about her new home with her parents and doting big brothers, Blake, 19, and Nick, 16.

Friday, September 21, 2007

BBC: Who Can Have More Than One Child?

Part three from the BBC series explains who can have more than one child, and under what circumstances:

Grey areas in China's one-child policy
"There are different guidelines and different government policies," he added.

Mr Wang explained that only 35.9% of the population is limited to having just one child. These people live mainly in urban areas.

Many rural couples, accounting for 52.9% of the population, are able to have two children if the first one is a girl, he said.

In other provinces, parents can have two children regardless of the sex of the first child, and in a few areas the rules are even more relaxed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BBC: The "Perfect" Children

Here's part 2 of the BBC series on China's one-child policy:

China's 'perfect child' generation

Anthropologist Susan Greenhalgh, a leading expert on China's family planning policy, says parents' rising expectations are not solely to blame for increased pressure on children - government policy also plays a part.

The family planning policy was never just about reducing the number of Chinese people, it was also about increasing the quality of those remaining, she says.

"What the government tried to do is ensure that this next generation of children is superior in education and health care," says Ms Greenhalgh, of the University of California, Irvine.

China's family planning policy, launched in 1979, was supposed to create a generation of fewer children with better prospects than the last.

"This was the generation that was supposed to be the perfect children," writes anthropologist Vanessa Fong, of Harvard Graduate School of Education.

BBC: Has China's One-Child Policy Worked?

I guess, if you consider forced abortions, kidnapping of girls and a disproportionate number of boys in the population "working".

Has China's one-child policy worked?
In the first of a series of pieces on China's one-child policy, the BBC's Michael Bristow looks at whether the country's controversial regulations are working.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pennsylvania Adoption Story

South Hills rabbi couple adopts baby from China
A South Hills husband-wife team of rabbis has adopted a baby girl from the Guangdong province in southern China. Ellie Lian Greenbaum, daughter of Rabbis Alex and Amy Greenbaum, will come home to Mt. Lebanon, accompanied by her new mother, during the week of Sukkot.

"When you get to China, you get your child as soon as possible. Then you stay there for two weeks," said Alex, spiritual leader of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills. "That gives you time to bond with your child."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Death by Internet

Chinese man dies from 3-day gaming binge
BEIJING - A man in southern China appears to have died of exhaustion after a three-day Internet gaming binge, state media said Monday.

The 30-year-old man fainted at a cybercafe in the city of Guangzhou on Saturday afternoon after he ha been playing games online for three days, the Beijing News reported.

Paramedics tried to revive him but failed and he was declared dead at the cafe, it said. The paper said that he may have died from exhaustion brought on by too many hours on the Internet...

The report said that about 100 other Web surfers "left the cafe in fear after witnessing the man's death."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ohio Families Organize Benefit to Support Adoption

Kent event to aid Chinese children For Love of Lily sets benefit show
In the past 12 years, more foreign orphans have entered the United States from China than from any other country around the globe.

The process for adopting orphaned Chinese children has become expensive, so two Portage County families are organizing a benefit show at The Kent Stage to support adopting U.S. families and help fund a school about 30 miles south of the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Gregg Driggs and Dr. Mike Kline established the For the Love of Lily foundation earlier this year. Both families have adopted children from China. Each has an adopted daughter, Lily and Lilly.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

If You Though the One-child Policy Was Going Away Anytime Soon...

Friday, September 14, 2007

WSJ: The Expat Life

Expat Parents in China KeepAdopted Babies Close to Home
The Lattas were matched with Tian Hui, a smiley six-month-old girl who had had surgery on a cleft lip and needed a few months of recuperation before she could have a second operation, to repair a cleft palate. After about three months, they returned her to Ping An and picked up a different baby. When he had health problems necessitating hospitalization, Ms. Woo asked the Lattas if they could take Tian Hui again. She had been unable to have her second surgery due to health complications, leaving her classified as special needs and therefore eligible for fostering.

None of the Lattas had realized quite how attached they had grown to the little girl until she returned to spend Christmas with them. When family friends said they wanted to adopt Tian Hui, Cheryl felt alarmed rather than excited and realized that she wanted to adopt the baby herself. After everyone concurred in a family meeting, they began the adoption process.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mississippi Boy Visits China

SALTILLO - Daniel Clark has lived the life of an American youth since coming here 13 years ago as an adopted toddler from China.

Daniel has been an honor roll student involved in school activities. He's participated in 4-H and park-and-rec soccer, plus he's active in church. And in his recreation time at home, he enjoys playing video games against his two younger siblings.

At the same time, Daniel remains close to his Chinese heritage. This summer, his native country beckoned Daniel and others like him to visit their homeland and learn about its culture, history and art.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Repost: Remembering Jeff Mladenik

[A reposting from one year ago today.]

The Fort Worth Star Telegram has a tribute to the 11 crew and 76 passengers that were aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center five years ago today. Among the stories was this one:
Jeffrey P. Mladenik, 43, Hinsdale, Ill. He was an interim CEO for eLogic, traveling on business. An associate pastor, he often read the Bible aboard the airplane and was in the process of adopting a second daughter from China.
The Mladeniks have a web page here. Jeff's widow, Sue, went through with adopting a second (and a third) daughter from China.

You can also read Jeffrey's New York Times tribute page here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Grandparents Try to Kill Girl Because She's Not a Boy

Doctors to Remove Needles From Woman
BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese surgeons will try to remove 23 needles from a woman that doctors believe may have been imbedded under her skin by grandparents trying to kill her so that a baby boy might take her place.

The needles - about an inch in length - were discovered by X-ray after Luo Cuifen, 29, went to doctors complaining of blood in her urine.

Many of the needles have worked their way into Luo's vital organs including her lungs, liver, bladder and kidneys, making their removal difficult, said Qu Rui, a spokesman for the Richland International Hospital in Yunnan province's capital, Kunming...

Qu said doctors believe the woman's grandparents may have inserted the needles long ago, hoping she would die and her parents might have a boy in her place. China limits most families to just one child, although rural Chinese may be allowed to have a second if their first is a girl, subject to the payment of fines.

It wasn't clear whether further investigations into the case were planned, with media reports saying Luo's grandparents had already died.

In many parts of China, baby boys are still heavily favored over girls because they are bound by tradition to support their parents in their old age, and because they carry on the family name.

Infanticide and abortions of female fetuses have created a skewed ratio between the genders, with 119 boys reported born for every 100 girls, according to official figures. By comparison, the ratio in industrialized countries between 104 and 107 boys for every 100 girls.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

North Carolina Family Revisits China

Daughter journeys to land of her birth
Sydney Carpenter kneels on her living room floor, flipping through a photo album.

"Those children are all wearing the same outfits because they're going to school," she says, pointing. "And over here was when we went to the fish market."...

Eric Carpenter, Sydney's dad, grew up in Gastonia. He worked for a textile company that sent him to live in China for two years. There he learned of the plight of abandoned infant girls through friends who adopted one.He returned to the United States and met his future wife, Marilyn, in 1995.

"When we started to get serious about our relationship, Eric brought up the idea of adopting from China, and I was impressed by the passion he expressed," she says.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Wisconsin Adoption Story

Couples realize their dreams through adoption
Kim and Scott Scheer of Appleton built their family through international adoption. Their daughters, Stephanie, 6, and Katie, 4, came from China.

"We tried locally for the first year, and we got nowhere," Kim said of their decision to adopt internationally. "After talking with friends, we decided it was hard, but it was best to go international. It's more expensive but definitely worth it."

Friday, September 07, 2007

First Day of Preschool

Today was Ally's first full day of preschool. She goes three days a week in the mornings. On Wednesday, we got to meet her teachers, who seemed nice enough. Here she is ready to head out the door:

The teachers put her to work right away:

Another hard day at the office:

That's a spider on her head, the fruit of her creative efforts for the day.

Baby Trafficking in China

This appears to be a case of babies abducted with the intent of being sent to other families in China.

China Cracks Suspected Baby Trafficking Gang
Chinese police have detained 47 people accused of trafficking babies, rescuing dozens of infants from a trade driven by rural families' desire for children, state media reported on Friday.

The arrests resulted from a months-long inquiry after police grew suspicious of four women carrying babies on a train from the poor southwest province Yunnan to richer east China in May, Xinhua news agency reported.

The women confessed the babies had been bought in Yunnan's capital Kunming and were headed for sale in Shandong, a rural province in the east. A police probe revealed the network that had traded dozens of new-born babies.

"Forty out of more than 60 babies who were trafficked by the gang have been rescued by police so far, while police were trying to find the others," Xinhua said.

There was no suggestion that any of the babies were meant for foreign adoption.

The report did not say whether the natural parents had sold the children or were victims of abductions. Child-trafficking cases in the past have involved both payment and abduction.

China's problem with child-trafficking reflects poverty, regional economic imbalances and population control policies that restrict family size -- often to two children in the countryside.

The restrictions have bolstered a traditional bias for male offspring, seen as the mainstay for elderly parents, and have resulted in abortions, killings or abandonment of girls.

China has about 119 boys born for every 100 girls, an imbalance that has grown since it introduced the policies aiming for one-child per family more than 25 years ago.

The imbalance has created criminal demand for abducted or bought baby boys, but also for baby girls destined to be future brides attracting rich dowries.

Foreign Adoptions Down in Canada

Obligatory Madonna and Angelina reference at no extra charge:

Sharp drop in international adoptions by Canadians last year
While Madonna and Angelina Jolie have grabbed headlines by adopting young children from overseas, fewer Canadians adopted internationally last year.

There were 1,535 children adopted from abroad in 2006, 18 per cent less than the year before and 30 per cent less than in 2003, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures.

The sharp decline is attributed to adoptions from China falling nearly 37.5 per cent to 608 last year from 973 in 2005.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Urban Chinese Professionals Embrace Christianity

China's Urban Christians an Unknown Quantity For Beijing
HONG KONG—Christianity is gaining new converts in Chinese cities and towns, especially among the newly emerging and assertive professional class, and the trend is causing the ruling Communist Party some concern, experts say.

A prominent example of this phenomenon is rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been detained, kept under surveillance and sentenced to a jail term after he represented the underdogs in sensitive political cases. Gao is also a committed Christian, whose Beijing-based church has been raided by police on more than one occasion.

Gao’s commitment to using the nascent Chinese legal system to fight unpopular civil rights cases—such as representing villagers who wish to indict local officials for graft, or representing members of the banned Falun Gong movement—are underpinned by his strong emphasis on morality and compassion, and bound up with the lawyer’s Christian identity.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Crooked Chinese Official Steals Apology From Another Crooked Chinese Official


Corrupt Chinese official plagiarizes trial apology
BEIJING (Reuters) - Music, books and Hollywood films... China can now add testimonies of regret by corrupt officials to its exhaustive list of copyright violations.

Zhang Shaocang, former Communist Party chief of state-owned power company Anhui Province Energy Group Co Ltd, wept as he read a four-page "letter of apology" during his corruption trial at a court in Fuyang, Anhui, according to a Procuratorial Daily report reproduced in Wednesday's Beijing News.

But Zhang's sentiments were later found to be strikingly similar to those of Zhu Fuzhong, a disgraced former party chief of Tongan village in southwestern Sichuan province, whose apology letter was printed in the Procuratorial Daily less than two weeks before.

"Before working, I never gave much thought to money and regarded achievement as the starting point and end result of my work," the paper quoted both of the letters as saying.

"I gradually lost my bearings and the scope of my position," Zhang said at his trial, an exact copy of Zhu's own wording.

Apart from using whole sentences word for word, Zhang also -- more craftily -- made "slight changes" in other areas.

The Procuratorial Daily, the official paper of China's top prosecutions office, is distributed as reading material at many "supervision venues," the paper said, referring to the often secret locations where Communist Party officials are held for questioning.

It was possible that Zhang, while being investigated for charges of bribe-taking, had drawn inspiration from Zhu's apology in the hope of gaining leniency from the court, the paper said.

"Because of this, Zhang's apology was dismissed as 'show-boating,"' the paper said.
Sorry means never having to say you're sorry.

China Says We're the Ones With a Problem

Hyping safety problem is a sickness, China says
BEIJING (Reuters) - Hyping China's food and product safety problem is a sickness in itself, the country's new health minister said on Wednesday, a day after Mattel announced a third global recall of Chinese-made toys...

"I must remind some friends that we are certainly extremely sensitive towards this problem, but over-sensitivity caused by only seeing part of the picture, in medical terms, is called an allergy," Health Minister Chen Zhu said.

Good thing most of us are allergic to BS.

Fertility Rates

From Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia:
Did you know…
China’s one child policy has slowed down world population growth more than World Wars I and II, the global influenza epidemic of 1918, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic put together. The one child policy adopted in the late 1970’s halved China’s fertility rate from about 3.3 children per couple to about 1.7 children per couple.
Did you know that other nations have attained a similar, or lower, fertility rate without having to resort to a draconian one child policy or forced abortions? Apparently, the most important indicator of a declining fertility rate is economic development.

Monday, September 03, 2007

U.S. Navy Supports Adoption

Navy touting merits of military-family adoptions
Jo-Ann Reale is within days of having a new son.

She’s not pregnant. She and her husband, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Reale, are adopting a son, Josiah, 3, from China.

It took a little digging for the Reales to find an adoption agency willing to work with a military family living overseas, said the soon-to-be-mother-of-five, who lives in Gaeta, Italy. “We kept hitting a brick wall. Finally, like, the sixth agency on our list was able to help.”

Sunday, September 02, 2007

OT: Man Hangs Self at "Burning Man"; Nobody Cares

The revelers at the annual celebration of postmodern hedonism can't distinguish between art and tragedy:

Suicide suspected in death at Burning Man
A possible suicide was reported at the Burning Man arts festival in the Black Rock Desert on Thursday morning, according to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

A man was found hanged in a two-story tent and was there for two hours before anyone found him, according to information attributed to the Bureau of Land Management.

"His friends thought he was doing an art piece," BLM special agent Mark Pirtle told the Chronicle. The apparent suicide would be the festival's first in its 21 year history, Pirtle said.

The Pershing County Sheriff's Office had no information.
[My emphases.]

Chinese Toddler in the Middle of Ugly Tug-of-War

I'm posting the whole article from the Salt Lake Tribune. I really feel sorry for the poor girl in the middle of all this.

Two couples fight for right to claim child as their own
LOGAN - In Utah, hopeful adoptive parents call the toddler from China Amanda. In Kansas, another pair of longing parents know her as Amelya.

As she approaches her third birthday, both couples are battling to make the girl their own.

On one side are Scott and Karen Banks, Wellsville residents who are accused in an unrelated federal indictment of tricking parents in Samoa into placing their children for adoption through their agency.

On the other side are Mary Frances and Curry Kirkpatrick, of Overland Park, Kan., who claim they were pressured by the Bankses into placing their adopted daughter outside their home in what they believed would be a temporary arrangement.

"They have our baby," Mary Frances Kirkpatrick said. "They want her for themselves."

The Bankses and their attorney, Ann Wassermann, have declined to comment.

Mary Frances Kirkpatrick now flies to Utah each week to see the girl for about four hours. Her husband sometimes remains behind to take care of their four children in Kansas. Other times, they arrange for around-the-clock care of the kids, youngsters who are ages 6 and 4 and twins almost 2 years old.

The newest member of the family, named after Mary Frances' mother, came into their lives in 2005. The Kirkpatricks had their two older children when they began the adoption arrangements through Focus on Children, an agency operated by the Bankses.

Before the process was completed, Mary Frances became pregnant with the twins. Curry flew to China in December 2005 to pick up their new daughter while his wife remained at their suburban Kansas City home nursing the newborns.

Curry Kirkpatrick describes the 10 days he spent in China with the girl, then 14 months old, as "a magical time." The adoption was finalized before they flew back home, he says.

At first, life in Overland Park was going well, but then the toddler began exhibiting "destructive behavior" toward the twins, according to the Kirkpatricks. After six months of dealing with the situation, they decided - allegedly on the recommendation of the Bankses - that a temporary separation would be best.

The Wellsville couple came and took the girl to Utah in June 2006, the Kirkpatricks say, and refused to give her back at their request a few weeks later.

Instead, the Bankses filed two petitions in 1st District Court: one to adopt the girl they named Amanda and another alleging the Kirkpatricks should not get her back because they abandoned her.

The couple denies the allegation. Their Salt Lake City attorney, Steven Kuhnhausen, says the voluntary guardianship agreement expired as soon as the Kirkpatricks said they wanted the toddler back.

In addition, the Bankses, whose Focus on Children agency has ceased operations in Utah, lacked a child placement license permitting them to take the girl out of Kansas, Kuhnhausen said.

At a hearing last week, 1st District Judge Gordon Low, who was assigned the adoption case, expressed hope that the matter can be settled quickly. A home study is under way.

The adoption petition is on hold until the abandonment claim, which is before 1st District Juvenile Court Judge Jeffrey Burbank, is settled. In the meantime, Low - who retired from the bench Friday and will pass along the adoption matter to another jurist - laid down the law to the litigants.

For now, the girl will remain with the Bankses and the Kirkpatricks will continue to have once-a-week visitation. The parties are prohibited from talking about each other to the child "except in glowing terms."

Low also ordered everyone to call the girl Amanda to keep her from getting confused. The judge stressed that the arrangements are meant to minimize any trauma for her.

"My focus is on the welfare of the child," Low said. "This child's in a difficult situation."