I'm curious about what provinces people got their babies/children from! It seems many people get theirs from the southern or near southern provinces like Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, sometimes from Guangxi.
A few too from Hubei, Henan, Shanxi and Hebei.
But so far I don't see any from north of Beijing or in the far west regions. As far as I can tell the western areas seem more like desert or mountanous areas. Haven't heard where any one has gone to Sichuan either.
So where did you get or are getting your baby from? (city and province)
Was it more city or more rural there?
What was the hotel like?
What was the weather like?
Anything else interesting or unique about that province?
I have heard that most babies come from southern China. My husband and I requested a baby from Macao on our adoption petition. We figured it didn't hurt to ask. My husband is Portuguese and Macao was a Portuguese colony for many years.
I'd be curious, also, about the most commonly referred provinces.
SuzanneS--We have a similar timeline!
I'm probably not going to travel until May or around there, but my daughter in waiting for me in Huazhou, Guangdong. According to my agency I'll be staying at the White Swan (or Victory if I prefer) the whole time, with an optional 5 hour trip to the orphanage and overnight stay in Huazhou (I'm definitely going to do that).
Several of the other parents I know who are adopting waiting child have their kids waiting for them in Harbin City, Heilongjiang which is in the northeast I believe.
Our daughter is from Hunan. I can not tell you how many people I have run into that have daughters from Hunan. Many differant cities but that has been the most common one so far. We stayed in the capital Changsha and found it to be quite nice but huge. We took the hour+ drive to the smaller city where her orphange was located. Even that city was quite large. I have heard it put this way. Imagine 4 times the people everywhere you go. That explains China alot. Even the rural parts we drove through had people and were being used for production.
We there in November and it was still very humid and quite warm. I can't imagine the heat and humidity in the summer.
Our daughter is from Hunan. I can not tell you how many people I have run into that have daughters from Hunan. Many differant cities but that has been the most common one so far. We stayed in the capital Changsha and found it to be quite nice but huge. We took the hour+ drive to the smaller city where her orphange was located. Even that city was quite large. I have heard it put this way. Imagine 4 times the people everywhere you go. That explains China alot. Even the rural parts we drove through had people and were being used for production.
We there in November and it was still very humid and quite warm. I can't imagine the heat and humidity in the summer. The hotel we stayed in was very nice and had everything we needed. There was a store a couple blocks away and a Walmart a cab ride away so we never needed anything. Yes I said Walmart, very odd to go to it was just the same and very differant at the same time.
I hope we get to go back to Hunan the secand time around.
Hi! our daughter is from Guizhou. It is a very poor there . We are leaving in three days. you can read about our daughter at [url=""][/url]
Good luck to all!
Colleen from nj
I know of 3 other children waiting for their parents in guizhou too. Two are in guiyang and one is in zunyi. Congrats and good luck on your trip!
OK. Here are my answers.
Just remember that, in the early days of China adoption, it was primarily the more cosmopolitan southern provinces that were willing to participate in international adoption.
However, the number of provinces participating has increased, at least partly because the provinces now recognize that the orphanage donations from parents really help orphanages to provide better facilities and services to orphaned and abandoned children. I know of at least one agency that has sent families off to Inner Mongolia, one of China's northerly autonomous regions (like Tibet).
1. So where did you get or are getting your baby from? (city and province)
Xiamen (pronounced HSIA-Men or SHA-Men), a Special Economic Zone in the south of Fujian province that used to be called Amoy. Unfortunately, it's right across the straits from Taiwan, so if there was ever a war between China and Taiwan, there would probably be a lot of damage to the city.
2. Was it more city or more rural there?
Xiamen is an exceptionally prosperous, cosmopolitan, and beautiful city. It once won an award as the cleanest city in China, and I believe it. I watched women sweeping the streets with leaf brooms and brawny men pulling carts laden with large trash barrels, into which they emptied the garbage. Because Xiamen doesn't have a lot of heavy industry, and because it is on the water, the air is not smoggy, as in many parts of China.
Because it is a Special Economic Zone, Xiamen actively encourages foreign investment, and foreign companies like Dell Computer have set up branches there. It receives lots of business travelers from Taiwan, Japan, the U.S., and European countries, as well as from other parts of China, so the top hotels offer multiple cuisines, good business centers, etc. There are also a lot of new condos and houses available to the foreigners working in Xiamen.
Unfortunately, partly because of the rather free-wheeling capitalist climate, there was a huge corruption scandal in Xiamen a few years ago, in which about 200 government officials were implicated. So Xiamen has gotten a bit of a bad name.
Because Xiamen includes an incredibly beautiful resort island, Gulangyu Island, it is also attractive to tourists from all over China, as well as from other countries. Gulangyu Island, which is reachable by ferry, bans all wheeled vehicles (even bicycles) except for golf carts that carry luggage from the ferries to the guesthouses.
You WALK on Gulangyu Island -- down broad boulevards shaded by palm trees, with blue water (albeit polluted) on one side and gorgeous 19th century European buildings on the other. The buildings were once foreign embassies, but are now used for office space and such.
Gulangyu Island is known as something of an artists' colony. One of its nicknames is Piano Island, because so many of the residents have musical instruments. Another name is Drum Wave Island, because of the sound of the sea.
Xiamen is also the home of one of China's elite universities, Xiamen University. The university receives students from all over China and from around the world. There are also some smaller and less well known colleges and universities. Being a "college town" makes Xiamen somewhat more "hip" than many other Chinese cities.
3. What was the hotel like?
My group stayed at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Harborview when we adopted in 1997. At the time, it was the most luxurious hotel in town. It didn't look particularly elegant -- more like a standard American Holiday Inn -- but the facilities and services were wonderful.
For one thing, the rooms all had two very comfortable Western-style double beds. Back then, at least, most Chinese hotels had rock-hard twin beds. I wound up with such a Chinese-style bed at the China Hotel in Guangzhou, and I must say that I'd have been more comfortable sleeping on my dining room table!
For my daughter, the hotel supplied a brand-new portacrib. The staff placed a clean white sheet in the bottom of it every day. When we got to Guangzhou, my daughter wound up in a rickety wooden mini-crib on wheels. The portacribs at the Holiday Inn were a vast improvement!
The rooms were very clean. I observed chambermaids washing bathroom floors on hands and knees. There was a water boiling device in the room, but I preferred to use bottled water for almost everything, especially since my daughter did not use formula or bottles that would require the addition of hot water.
The dining room was wonderful -- and it even had plenty of high chairs. It had a complete Chinese, Japanese, and Western menu. The breakfast buffet was included in the price, and it was terrific. On some days, there was even an omelet chef right in the dining room, ready to customize an omelet for you, with your choice of veggies, cheeses, meats, etc. You could really "fill up" at the buffet, stash a muffin and banana in your bag for later, and not worry about lunch. And if you wanted something outside of normal mealtimes, you could always get the same foods from room service.
The dining room staff, as well as the hotel front desk staff, spoke decent English. They were very helpful and really tried to fulfill guest requests. I found the business center a bit limited, but my faxes went through just fine. The pool was closed during our stay, and the health club didn't look that good -- although there was a scale, which I used to confirm that my daughter was WAY smaller than her medical report suggested.
One especially nice feature of the hotel was the fact that it was right downtown, near the harbor. As a result, it was possible to walk to both traditional and modern stores, to the ferry, to Pizza Hut and McDonald's, to a bank, etc. It was about a 15 minute drive from the orphanage, as I recall, and fairly close to government offices.
My understanding is that Holiday Inn no longer operates this hotel, and that it is currently run by Intercontinental Hotels. I don't know how the service is today. However, it's probably worth choosing this hotel for its convenience.
Since 1997, several other hotels meeting Western standards have opened in Xiamen. Many adoptive families, I'm told, stay at the Marco Polo. What I've heard is that it's very elegant and pricey, for China, but not very convenient if you want to wander the neighborhood, seeing the sights.
4. What was the weather like?
I traveled in May. Basically, I was reminded of Florida, both because of the weather and because of the palm trees, flowers, and blue water. The weather was hot and humid, though the heat was mitigated by cool breezes coming in from the water. Every day, there was at least one brief, torrential rainshower, after which the sun would shine brightly again.
I would recommend that, if you travel to Xiamen in May, you bring an extra pair of walking shoes. If one pair gets soaked -- the gutters fill up quickly with the intense rainshowers and it's almost unavoidable that you will step in puddles -- it won't dry quickly, so you'll want to have a second pair. Also, bring athlete's foot medicine, since the combination of hot, humid weather and standing around in wet shoes provides a perfect medium for the growth of the athlete's foot fungus.
I would also recommend that you bring clothes made of pure cotton and that you plan to use the hotel laundry service liberally. Cotton "breathes" and keeps you much cooler than synthetics. But clothes do get limp and wrinkled easily, and it's wonderful to have fresh wearables every morning.
5. Anything else interesting or unique about that province?
If you are referred a child from Xiamen, consider yourself very fortunate. The orphanage is said to be a "model" facility. While my group was allowed to see only the reception area, not the children's living quarters, I am told that the facilities are attractive, that there are foreign volunteers augmenting the basic staff, and that the prosperity of the area has translated into very good services for the children.
And the city will win your heart. There's lots to see and do. You can tour beautiful Xiamen University, and it will remind you of college campuses in the U.S. You can visit a 1,000 year old Buddhist temple that is still in very active use and have a beautiful, as well as tasty, vegetarian meal at the restaurant the temple maintains as a source of revenue. You can wander around Gulangyu Island, admiring the views and maybe even finding a concert to attend.
At least when I was there, everyone was very accustomed to seeing Westerners. And most of the younger people seemed to have adopted Western customs with regard to how babies should be dressed. It was HOT, and most of the kids were dressed as they would be in the U.S. -- in playsuits, shorts, etc. Everyone seemed pretty supportive of adoption. Our group got lots of smiles and thumbs-up gestures -- even the family in our group who received the surprise referral of a two year old boy (when they had requested an infant girl!)
Xiamen is NOT the capital of Fujian province. Fuzhou, further north in the province, is. Back when I adopted, groups didn't have to go to Fuzhou to finalize. They could stay in Xiamen. This was great, as Xiamen is said to be a much nicer city, with much more to do.
However, I have heard that some groups adopting from Xiamen more recently have had to stay in Fuzhou. If you do have to stay in Fuzhou, see if your agency can arrange for your group to visit Xiamen and see the orphanage. It's definitely worth the trip.
I am waiting on my son from Henan. Someone said the north does most of the waiting children (special needs) I do not know if that is true or not.
Great Wall has a neat province map... just FYI
Cool! Some interesting replies!
So Changsha, Hunan is still warm in November? Did the hotel have air conditioning? And it had a Wal-mart? That's something to keep track of. I know in some other stories people have mentioned a Walmart where they were at too, but there may not be one in every city. If you know there will be one, you might be able to pack a few less things knowing you will be able to buy it there. Of course your agency might tell you that ahead of time too.
I think this is the first I've heard of people going to Guizhou.
Xiamen does sound like a nice place to go!
I wonder how cold it is in Henan this time of year?
Our daughter is from the Jingxi county (pronouned Jing-she) in the Guangxi province (pronounced Gwong-she). Guangxi province is between Guangdong and Vietnam.
Interesting facts about Jingxi orphanage: It's located 8 miles from the Vietnam boarder and is possibly the smallest orphanage participating in international adoption. They typically care for 8 babies max. Since 1999, 12 babies have been adopted (4 to the US and 8 to the Neatherlands). Families aren't able to travel to Jingxi due to it's remote location and babies are brought to the capital city of Guangxi, Nanning.
Interesting things about Jingxi: Itis a very rural, poor agricultural county. I've only had the opportunity to see pictures of the city--but they look like they could have been taken 100 years ago (even though they were taken in 1999). It is very ethnically diverse and Han Chinese is not the majority. In Jingxi, the ethnic minorities, Zhuang and Miao are the majority and it's one of the few areas that population laws apply to minorities. We have been told by our guides in China and from some Chinese people are daughter is not Han and she is an ethnic minority. I find myself wishing we could confirm that, but obviously we can't.
I'm going to attach some pictures of the rural countryside around Jingxi, the city and pictures of the orphanage.
Here's a website which lists the provinces and the SWI's
Sharon, My friend just came back from Fujian with her 2nd daughter. She said the orphanage was really well run - 1 nanny to 2 or 3 babies. And that the province does a great job promoting domestic adoptions.