Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage Care in China

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Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage Care in China [Hardcover]

Kay Ann Johnson , Amy Klatzkin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Proceeds from Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son support medical care for AIDS orphans in China.

From the Inside Flap

"In this highly illuminating and deeply moving book, Kay Johnson provides an intimate portrait of the complex processes by which, over the past decade, thousands of little Chinese girls have made their way from orphanages in China into adoptive homes overseas. It is a story that plays out on many levels and challenges long-held stereotypes about China. While Johnson documents dramatic improvements in the conditions of Chinese orphanages during the 1990s, she also illuminates the persistent challenges facing families caught between the Chinese state’s policy of one or two children for all and rural Chinese society’s insistent need for sons. Written by the leading scholarly authority on the abandonment and adoption of Chinese children, this groundbreaking study opens up a world of Chinese politics--the politics of children--whose inner dynamics will fascinate, disturb, and ultimately give hope to adoptive parents and scholars alike." --Susan Greenhalgh, Professor of Anthropology, University of California at Irvine, co-author of Population and Power in Post-Deng China (Stanford Univ. Press, 2004), and author of the forthcoming book Science, Modernity, and the Making of China’s One-Child Policy.

"The universal and most pressing questions for transracial and transnational adoptees are ‘Why didn’t my first parents keep me?’ and ‘Why couldn’t I grow up in the land of my birth?’ Kay Johnson’s remarkable book documents the reasons why so many children were available for international placement, and it also illuminates the long-hidden story of adoptive parents in China, who take in far more foundlings than are adopted overseas. This is an essential book for parents, professionals, and others interested in international adoption. But above all it is a gift to the children themselves when they are older, for it will help them understand the competing pressures on birth and adoptive parents at a time of tremendous social change in China." --Jane Brown, MSW, creator of Adoption Playshops for Children

"I am exceedingly grateful for this volume because--as Amy Klatzkin puts it in her Introduction--it provides not only an historical record for future adult adoptees, but also a history of the present for ‘everyone touched by adoption from China.’ In Kay Johnson’s hands, that would mean just about all of us. Johnson displaces the polarity of prepackaged answers and hopeless confusion surrounding the abandonment and adoption of Chinese children with careful, humane, and nuanced scholarship. Her research connects the everyday work of caring for children to larger political and social processes, and individual kinship decisions to the broader complex of human relations. This book warrants a wide readership, from people who know a child adopted from China to anyone who wants to better understand families and social welfare in contemporary China." --Sara Dorow, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Alberta, and author of When You Were Born in China.

About the Author

Kay Ann Johnson is Professor of Asian Studies and Politics at Hampshire College. She is the author of Women, the Family, and Peasant Revolution in China (University of Chicago Press, 1985) and a co-author of Chinese Village, Socialist State (Yale University Press, 1993). Her teaching and research interests include Chinese society and politics; women, development, and population policy; and comparative family studies; comparative politics of the Third World; and international relations, including American foreign policy, Chinese foreign policy, and policy-making processes. In 1991, Johnson and her father, the well-known economist D. Gale Johnson, traveled to Wuhan, China, to adopt her daughter, LiLi. Johnson lives with her husband, son, and daughter in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Amy Klatzkin has been editing books in Chinese studies for more than twenty years. A contributing editor to Adoptive Families magazine, editor of the FCC National Newsletter, and editor of A Passage to the Heart: Writings from Families with Children from China, she helped her daughter, Ying Ying Fry, write Kids Like Me in China.

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