White Swan Hotel
Not sure if this was posted but I just received a Email about the White Swan Hotel. Sorry there was no link for it so I had to cut and past here. if this was already repeated sorry.



Tighter adoption rules: Bad news for Americans, but a sign of progress for the communist state
By Lionel Beehner
GUANGZHOU, China The White Swan is empty. The five-star hotel here that historically has housed American couples looking to adopt Chinese babies now only sees a slow trickle of would-be foster parents after the Chinese adopted a raft of stricter rules a few years back.
(New parents: American women stroll through a park with their newly adopted Chinese babies in Guangzhou./ 2003 Reuters photo)
The cribs and baby strollers the hotel lends out sit idle. The tables in its 1980s-era lounge overlooking the Pearl River are gloomily vacant.
None of this bodes well for American couples looking to adopt here, but it highlights the progress China has made as social mores here shift for the better.
Since 1989, China has sent more orphans ח over 70,000 to the United States than any other country. American couples flock here because its system is far smoother and more transparent than most. And China's one-child policy has resulted in millions of baby girls left abandoned, not to mention millions more aborted. The likelihood that your adopted girl is an actual orphan and does not suffer from, say, prenatal alcohol syndrome, is greater in China than most places. And let's face it, Chinese babies are cute ח something the authorities here play up. (Why else would they pick a cute girl to lip-sync the Chinese national anthem at the Olympics?) But adoptions are down dramatically, as a result of the restrictions imposed in 2007: just fewer than 4,000 Chinese babies were adopted by American couples last year, about half the total in 2005.
Much is fair game to disqualify prospective parents: Age (nobody under 30), marital history and sexual orientation all matter now. Even issues of health being overweight or taking antidepressants ח can nix a couple's application.
That has Americans frustrated. Outside the White Swan (nicknamed the "White Stork") next to a doll and dress shop, I met a middle-aged man from Pennsylvania who complained that his wife would not have made the new weight guidelines.
An evolution
But China's new adoption rules, while onerous, simply reflect its evolution into a more modern society. After all, Beijing is well within its right to decide its own rules and weed out unhealthy parents. Why shouldn't it try to prevent its orphans from inhaling secondhand smoke? China also appears to be relaxing its laws on the number of children Chinese families can have. Sure, it's partly a PR gambit. Ahead of last year's Olympics, the government did not want be perceived abroad as deadbeat caretakers. But it's also a concerted effort to reverse its gender imbalance. "China's feeling the stress of having lost so many girls," says Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
As income levels in China rise, more couples are just breaking the one-child policy and paying the fine (about $5,000). Adoptions by Chinese couples are up. And social attitudes are evolving, too, resulting in fewer parents discarding their daughters. Half the Sky Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit, reports that fewer healthy babies are entering its orphanages in China.
Hopes dashed for some
Of course, data are difficult to verify, but these anecdotal trends are positive. What's more, the notion of American foster parents rescuing abandoned orphans from Dickensian state-run institutions, while romantic, may be somewhat overblown. "Unfortunately, this story is largely fiction," E.J. Graff of Brandeis University wrote recently in Foreign Policy.
Most orphans are older than 5, sick or disfigured not the kind most Westerners want. Think of the baby in the newspaper staring up at readers with a cleft lip.
Even so, it seems unfair: At a time when a California woman makes headlines for giving birth to octuplets, there are thousands of infertile American couples for whom foreign adoption remains their best ח and least costly option for parenthood. Their prospects are only exacerbated by China's tougher regulations.
But it signals good news for Chinese society, which is becoming more welcoming toward its newborn daughters and domestic adoption. Were the White Swan to close, nobody in China would probably mind.
Lionel Beehner is a writer based in New York City.
Well, I'm not a fan of this article for lots of reasons. For me, two statements jump out.

First:

"After all, Beijing is well within its right to decide its own rules and weed out unhealthy parents. Why shouldn't it try to prevent its orphans from inhaling secondhand smoke?"

Maybe I'm taking this statement too literally...but I've never heard of smoking or second hand smoke being an issue in adoption. Or, am I supposed to think of this as a metaphor to other health issues like being overweight (which I am).


Second (and way more offensive)
"Most orphans are older than 5, sick or disfigured not the kind most Westerners want. Think of the baby in the newspaper staring up at readers with a cleft lip."

Seems to me if this reporter did his research, he'd realize how many more SN adoptions are happening each year.
MissyAmomChina said...
Well, I'm not a fan of this article for lots of reasons. For me, two statements jump out.

First:

"After all, Beijing is well within its right to decide its own rules and weed out unhealthy parents. Why shouldn't it try to prevent its orphans from inhaling secondhand smoke?"

Maybe I'm taking this statement too literally...but I've never heard of smoking or second hand smoke being an issue in adoption. Or, am I supposed to think of this as a metaphor to other health issues like being overweight (which I am).


Second (and way more offensive)
"Most orphans are older than 5, sick or disfigured not the kind most Westerners want. Think of the baby in the newspaper staring up at readers with a cleft lip."

Seems to me if this reporter did his research, he'd realize how many more SN adoptions are happening each year.


Melissa, the same parts jumped out at me too. I did not like the word use of disfigured at all.
Actually, I find the second hand smoke remark kind of humorous. When we were in China, we saw a lot more smokers than we do in our hometown. A LOT. Children were riding on the back ends of motorcycles with no helmets on their heads, and cars spewed out pollutants like it was nobody's business. I seriously doubt they're worried about the effects of second hand smoke on children.
It's kind of strange to see this article as it appears to be a westerners perception on an eastern civilization.
On the other hand, it would sure be nice to be able to be at the WS next time without the crowds. Happy But I hope the WS doesn't go belly up. It was a comfortable stay, and I would love to get a red couch picture for our second daughter as we did with our first daughter.
What about the part where he says adoptions are down due to the May 2007 rules?
We haven't even gotten close to those affected by the May 2007 rules. We're still back in the April 2006 line.


grrrr. I hate misinformation disguised as journalism.

Violet
I meant March 2006!
There were quite a few folks there when we processed through last spring but that was also one of the last batches for about 9 months because of the Olympics and Para-Olympics. Now I understand that everthing is on hold because of the swine flu scare.

Seems like the writer didn't do much research and already had in mind what was to written whether the evidence supported it or not.

My 2 cents.

Travelinjack
Shanghai
travelinjack3 said...
There were quite a few folks there when we processed through last spring but that was also one of the last batches for about 9 months because of the Olympics and Para-Olympics. Now I understand that everthing is on hold because of the swine flu scare.



They never stopped referrals or travel during the Olympics or Para-Olympics. Some agencies didn't travel during the Olympics because of the cost, but there were families there adopting during that time. We received our travel approval during the Olympics and were actually in Beijing on opening day of the Para-Olympics. We adopted our daughter 2 days later.

People are still traveling right now. I'm following several blogs of families that just adopted their children earlier today. Nothing has officially been said about referrals or travel approvals being delayed. The only official announcement from CCAA is that they are recommending agencies to counsel their families on postponing travel. TA's are extended for another 2 months if the families decide not to travel right now. If the family does travel, there are some guidelines they must follow while in China. Some agencies are allowing their families to travel, some aren't.
We are on schedule to travel this Thursday (Beijing then Guangzhou). There is another family in my group also on the same flight to Beijing. Tickets were already purchased and plans made when the CCAA put out their advisory. Our agency advised us of the risks and had us sign an agreement that we would follow whatever the Chinese government told us to do including quarantine. It looks like you get scanned before you depart from the plane for any fever.

I am concerned though. Not so much us but others on the plane who ignore any potential signs. I guess something to put in her book to add to the rest of the hurdles we have had to go through to get her.
My apologies, I got my info second hand from what I thought to be a very trusted source.

Please disregard my previous post.
All times are GMT. The time now is 1:23 pm.
TOP