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BBC Report: Chinese Babies Stolen; "Sold"

By Shannon LC Cate |

baby1The BBC is reporting that dozens of Chinese babies have been forcefully taken from their parents by the government and sent into the international adoption system.  The report–which I couldn’t find any trace of elsewhere–suggests that families breaking the family planning policy and unable or unwilling to pay the fine for doing so have had their children removed instead.

The babies are said by the report to have been “sold” to foreign adoptive parents. But there is a fine line, in the China system between “buying” and “adopting.”  It is true that the adoption fees parents pay are between $3,000 and $5,000.  But the money is  supposed to go back to the orphanage to pay staff and maintain its programs and buildings.

In recent years, some doubt has been cast on how the money is really spent.  A small ring of black marketeers was uncovered in which money from international adoption was being spent personally by orphanage directors and in some cases being paid to baby “finders” with some question as to whether the babies they found had been legitimately abandoned or in some cases, abducted.

Given the closed nature of the Chinese government, it is hard to really get to the bottom of these kinds of accusations.  But there is certainly a financial incentive to orphanages and their administrators to place babies in foreign adoptions, the fees for which are much higher than those paid by Chinese adoptive parents.  In this report, the BBC claims the penalty fine for having more children than allowed by China’s family planning policy (sometimes one child, sometimes one daughter and one more child, depending on the region) is approximately as high as the foreign adoption fee.  That fine is out of reach for most families in China–certainly for those in the rural area where this particular report claims babies are being taken.

I hope this report is wrong.  And I hope China’s attempts to eradicate actual baby brokering are meeting with great success.  But as an adoptive parent, I also know just how fine the line can be between parental consent to adoption (which technically, isn’t even allowed in China) and coercion of same.  I will be watching this story for any further unfolding of evidence.


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About Shannon LC Cate


Shannon LC Cate

Shannon LC Cate is a lesbian housewife and write-from-home mother of two young daughters. She lives in Chicago.

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6 thoughts on “BBC Report: Chinese Babies Stolen; "Sold"

  1. Ali says:

    The stolen children are never put into the international adoption system. That is very tightly run by the central government. They want to avoid scandal at all costs. There is no shortage of children abandoned in China unfortunately. Over 1 million live in government orphanges today. These poor, stolen children are sold to childless couples in China too poor to pay adoption fees to adopt legally. The International Adoption community has been fighting to have the domestic fees lowered for years in China to promote more domestic adoptions there. This worked in Korea and domestic adoptions have increased dramatically. There has never been a case of a child adopted from China discovered to be kidnapped. The “baby finders” that bring children to the orphanges do so because the directors are paid to house ore children. The babies come from midwives who buy them from families who cant keep them but often times they are coerced or convinced by large sums of money. However, the children are given over to the baby finders willingly. But money is exchanged and that is illegal in China.

  2. Lula says:

    I hear what you’re saying, Ali. But whenever impoverished people are being offered large sums of money in exchange for their children, I don’t believe we can say the children are being “given over to the baby-finders willingly”. Not in China, not in Guatemala, not anywhere.

  3. kaylah says:

    the baby is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute

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  5. United Adoptees International says:

    Its a fact, that Chinese children are been stolen for intercountry adoption. Many (local field) researchers and adoption watchers reported this since intercountry adoption exist from the ’90.

    The idea that this never happens is incorrect. From Europe, Australia, the US and Canada adoptive parents and others report about stolen children for international adoption.

    The problem is, that the governments do not want to reveal the issues due to economic interests. Former director Ina Hut from the biggest adoption agency resigned because of the non-cooperative attititude of the Dutch Government to investigate the continues allegations from a lot adoptees and own conclusions from this director.

    Since the UAI requested more information from Sweden and the Netherlands about this issue, ministries and agencies from both countries seem to be on holiday…

    United Adoptees International

  6. Cate says:

    My heart breaks for those from whom these beautiful babies have been stolen. Now what doesn’t add up is that, if there are millions of babies not being adopted within China due to whatever reason, then why the need to “steal” babies to be “sold” internationally. Every child should have the best of what life can offer but not to the expense of being taken away from their biological parents! That’s violation of human rights, but then again it’s China.

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