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A risky approach to explaining adoption to a Chinese child
on September 8, 2003
I am not Chinese but I felt, throughout reading this book, that the author may be treading on thin ice with some of her descriptions of China ("...houses and apartments are small and usually don't have hot running water. In the countryside, people often have no indoor plumbing at all...") and her in-depth explanation of the Chinese government's rule that only one child is allowed per couple, preferably a son. The author spends a great deal of time explaining to the young adoptee why it is a costly catastrophe for a Chinese couple to have a girl when they really wanted a son. . . and so "your birthparents couldn't find a way to keep a daughter in their family and still have a son to take care of them later in life..." I cannot imagine that a girl child (no matter what age) reading these pages will feel good about her adoption, or, indeed, feel good about being a girl even though, toward the end of the book, the caring adoptive parents arrived. There is also too much explaining of other reasons why the baby girl was given up, such as medical problems, unmarried birthmother...all this added to the reality that girls are not wanted. "They then carried you to a public place, like a park, or a busy street corner, or a police station- a place where they knew you would be found..." Frankly, I cannot imagine reading this book to an adoptee. These truths will be bitter enough when the adoptee is an adult and learns about Chinese history and culture, but are too brutal to be told at an early age. Just love the child, please, and reserve the unhappy details for much later. An enchanting book like that written by Rose Lewis, I love you like Crazy Cakes is all that is needed to soothe the little girl's soul and let her understand that she came from China.
Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald, author of ADOPTION: An Open, Semi-Open or Closed Practice?