Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Lost Daughters of China--a book response

"The Lost Daughters of China: Abandoned Girls, Their Journey to America, and the Search for a Missing Past" is written by Karin Evans, a mom who adopted her daughter from China.  She wrote and researched it in the hopes of giving her daughter some of the answers to the questions she expects her to eventually have (I believe the daughter is only about 3 years old when the book was published).   China and the picture of China adoption has changed quite a bit since the book was published in 2000.  For instance her comments on special needs adoption and the availability of boys has no reflection in the reality of today.  However, I still believe this book is worth reading in addition to other more recent books like China Ghosts.

For one thing, history does impact the present and understanding the past, even immediate past, can help frame understanding of the present.  I do believe this book relatively accurately reflects the state of China's orphans and adoption practices as it pertains to the late 1990's to mid-2000's.  Knowing this information will aid me in helping my child form answers to her own questions.

Another thing, possibly only personal to me, is that I read this book 5 years ago and just reread it.  I have been feeling a bit defensive when reading first mother's blogs and adult adoptee blogs and hearing their anger that pre-adoptive parents think only about the child they will be adopting and not about how it came into existence.  I hear their concern and feel a little defensive for myself.  I think about the parents of my eventual child a lot.  I pray not only for the birth of the child and her safety, but the sorrow of the family, the social injustices that benefit me, and for families to stay together.  However, reading this book again, I realized reading this book in 2005 was what turned my eventual child's first parents, especially the birth mother, into real people to me.  If I had not read this book in 2005, I would not have had my heart softened towards first parents and the people of China in general.  

So do I recommend this book?  Yes.  Just don't let your heart be broken for all the little girls in orphanages she talks about.  I don't personally believe the situation has changed as drastically in the last 5 years in all areas of China as we are told, but whatever the reality behind the closed doors of China's orphanages, I do not believe China will ever go back to adopting out Internationally 7000 precious little NSN baby girls a year again.  However, if it makes you want to look into SN adoption of boys or girls from China, I say go for it.

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