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Customer Review

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courageous book, March 15, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage Care in China (Hardcover)
Kay Johnson has written that rare book-a detailed look at and analysis of Chinese governmental policy that tells you what actually happens as a result of that policy. This book is important, not only to adoptive families, but also to those who study China and try to understand the real life implications for policies that affect the world's most populous country.
For adoptive families, Kay Johnson has provided an invaluable insight into the circumstances that led to children being available for foreign families. Stripped of the emotional overlay that accompanies so many books about adoption, Kay Johnson fearlessly examines her own preconceptions to get closer to the truth by talking to birth parents, spending time with orphanage officials and pouring over statistics. Kay Johnson shows us what happened, what changed and what could change in the future.
While I personally hope that there will be an international adoption program in place for many years, I am also respectful of Kay Johnson's belief that children are best off being adopted in their birth countries. The children in China's orphanages have been helped enormously by both the international adoption program and by better domestic adoption policies. Kay Johnson, almost alone of the authors and journalists who write about Chinese adoption, recognizes the contributions of the adoptive families to the orphanages as well as recognizing other contributions that have dramatically improved the care of children whose welfare is overseen by the orphanages.
This book offers a unique insight both for those who erroneously leap on the orphanages as a token of the depravity of the Chinese and for those whose choice to adopt in China has given them a life-altering link to a country halfway around the globe.
Every adoptive parent should take the opportunity this book provides to understand more fully the lives of their children before those children belonged to an adoptive family. A lot of this book is surprising and unsettling, but a thorough reading will help adoptive parents make sense of the miracle that ocurred when they traveled to China for a first look at a small person they would love for the rest of their lives.
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