Let me just preface this post to say even though God brought us to our daughter, I am advocating for the ‘sons’ today.
As we know, there are hundreds of thousands of children growing up in China’s state run welfare institutions without families to take care of them. But what most people don’t know is that there are many more boys waiting in China for their forever family than girls.
Will and I were open to either gender – knowing full and well it was likely we were going to have a boy. We were fully prepared to have another son and, frankly, excited about it. Sure, boys can be rough, messy and smelly at times, but they are also sweet, cute and cuddly.
GeGe (translated is cute boy) is one year old. He is quite the little man. She loves to blow bubbles and play on the floor with toys.
There are many factors that contribute to China’s orphan crisis. The situation is complex and probably bigger than I can begin to comprehend. But here’s what I’ve learned this year.
In the 1970s, China instituted the “One Child Policy,” limiting only one child per couple. When this policy collided with the cultural preference for boys, the result was abandonment of many girls. Although, it may be due to the long time cultural importance of having a son first (as in many countries), sometimes the reason is much more practical. Much of China’s population live in rural areas and rely on males to farm the land. When they marry, boys stay with their parents and care for them in old age. Girls, on the other hand, marry and leave their families and take on the responsibility of helping care for their husband’s parents. In some ways, boys are China’s version of Social Security.
Meet Daniel – Daniel is three years old and has more joy than you can imagine!!
It is a popular belief that girls are ‘unwanted’ in China. To say gender equality roles are not quite as evolved there are they are here in the states is an understatement. As I understand it, the “One Child Policy” is not as strictly enforced anymore and there is definitely a huge population skew left over from the decades prior. Since we, as Americans, have so long believed girls are not as valued in China as boys, for decades we have chosen to adopt girls.
MoXi is a six year old cutie. Surrounded by many girls, this little guy is ALL boy!!
Being orphaned and a boy is one of the most difficult special needs to overcome. I am told, if an adoption agency got a new list with eight babies (4 girls and 4 boys), the girls would be chosen first and the boys would need additional advocating. Thankfully we are seeing that slowly change. How wonderful that more boys are finding families now! But we shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking that the majority of families, even today, are more open to adopting girls.
If a baby (male or female) is sick or has a defect at birth, they may be abandoned. Parents often can’t afford to care for a child. Or if parents think they are only able to have one, they need to make sure it is going to be a “healthy one.” (Now before you judge, this is not much different than what happens here in America when abortion is a valid option because according to the amniocentesis, the baby has a medical deformity/desease). Yes, in general, many Chinese are not very accepting of people with physical disabilities. Often it is perceived that a family is cursed if their child has a visible abnormality. They may not be allowed to attend school and it can be difficult for them to find employment.
Sean is three years old and has Spina Bifida. He is extremely smart and is trying his best to learn to walk.
Even if the child is very loved and wanted, they may be abandoned if they are sick and the family is unable to pay for the child’s medical care. Medical care must be paid for upfront in China, and it is very difficult for many Chinese families to do this. Couples may relinquish their child so he or she can be taken to the orphanage and receive better medical care than the family can provide. How heartbreaking to think that this is the only way a parent may have at saving their child’s life?
We hope that our journey to our child is growing the sense of compassion in our family and in yours. We also hope it will help people to understand that it is when you give that you truly receive.
The children featured in this post are all boys and are part of Journey of a Joyful Life foster home in China, all in need forever families! We also found our beloved daughter on this Asia waiting child advocate blog by our adoption agency.
“All our dreams can come true, if we just have the courage to pursue them”
NOTE: The views and opinions in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views of Journey of a Joyful Life or Gladney’s Asia Waiting Child blog.