China invites children adopted to US to return to their roots

The Chinese government has sponsored 90 Chinese children and their adopted American families to visit their native country with "Heritage Tours."

August 23, 2011 / pri.org

Nearly 30 years after China began to allow international adoption of Chinese babies, the People's Republic began welcoming those children back through a program called "Heritage Tours."

Recently 90 adopted Chinese children and their American families applied to participate in a Heritage Tour. Danielle Caccamise, 17, from Colorado, was one of the first Chinese babies to be adopted internationally. She and her family had the privilege of going on a Heritage Tour.

"The tour itself was really amazing because we got to go to so many places and see around where me and my sister were adopted," Caccamise said.

Since 1999, an estimated 80,000 Chinese children have been adopted internationally. The Chinese international adoption program began as a means of controlling the exponential growth of the Chinese population. After the Chinese government instituted the one child policy in 1979, many babies (especially baby girls) were sent to orphanages. 

The tours mark a change of heart by the government, contends Patti Waldmeir, Shanghai correspondent for the Financial Times and mother of two adopted Chinese daughters. Despite the current political climate, the trips have little to do with U.S.-China relations or China's standing in the world. Rather, the government seems to want to welcome these children home.

"It really has to do with Chinese pride and feeling, frankly, humiliated that they had to export 80,000, maybe 100,000, children all over the world," Waldmeir said. "And also a general sense, on some part, to make it up to these kids--to show them that their homeland really didn't just throw them away."

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Pride?

Funny, the word I would choose to describe such a cultural trip is "shame"

As an adoptee, I would feel profound shame going on a Heritage Tour, knowing damn well the mother-land government is profiting not once from an ICA plan, but twice. 

So the question needs to be asked:  How many adopters are prepared to educate their adopted daughters about the facts that go with China, their one-child policy, orphanages, and how the adoption industry has found a way to perpetuate a cultural practice that should not be?

If you ask me, such a program should sicken adopters as much as it should sicken adoptees (the government's unwanted) sold from China.

Heritage Tour$

"So the question needs to be asked: How many adopters are prepared to educate their adopted daughters about the facts that go with China, their one-child policy, orphanages, and how the adoption industry has found a way to perpetuate a cultural practice that should not be?"

The answer is- NONE to very few. Heritage Tours also go to Guatemala, they visit orphanages as well, not the ones that the adoptees were at, as the majority were at for ICA purposes only orphanages. The tours consist of primarily a "tourist" version of x-country.

This whole heritage tour is just another way to make money off the adoptee, being used again. As most of the adoptees are not adults that are returning to see their home country, I wonder how many are fueled by the AP to show the adoptee how better off they are now in America.

There are some APs who have videotaped these "visiting home country" and put them on You Tube.

Celebrating culture and history

In the article, Another country, not my own, author (and adoptee) Mei-Ling Hopgood quotes:

“So often families are more comfortable talking about culture because culture is something that we can celebrate, and food, music, and other fun things can be associated with culture,”

I don't know how many have taken the time to read the history of child placement, but I gotta say, as one who is very interested in the many ways women (and their children) have been used, abused, and exploited by man, church, and government, I really can't see much reason to celebrate the culture of adoption as it has always existed.  Furthermore, AP's must not forget, it's not FUN to be adopted, and none of the required steps to become an adoptee are FUN, either. 

There is no fun easy way to make peace with the complex dichotomy that comes with being the adoptee sent from another country.  Heritage Tours simply read like the Disney spin on fairy-tale myth making the adoption industry loves to propagate.  Quite frankly, if the history/culture tour were done correctly, few would be feeling very happy or proud at the end of the day... but what fee-paying AP wants to see just how depressing ICA really is for the children who get taken, then sent away?

Bottom line for AP's considering such tours:  show a little cultural sensitivity, and boycott such money-making events... given the real facts behind an adoption story,  there is little reason to celebrate.

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