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Barbie, as advertised in Adoptionland


Not too long ago I discovered a sales-pitch found only in Adoptionland, and I openly admit, I find this pitch incredibly offensive, for reasons I will gladly explain later, if asked.  For now, I wish to re-showcase the marketing tool used by a hotel in China and the toy company, Mattel.  There is an exclusive give-away given only to adopters who choose to adopt from and stay in China.  What's the "free" give-away?  A white Barbie Doll, named, Going Home Barbie.  As photos indicate, she can be found in her custom-made display box holding her obvious transracial (adopted) child.  This gift is for new adopters and their little adopted girls, lucky enough to stay at the White Swan Hotel, in Guangzhou... a region known to have babies sold through orphanages for foreign adoption.

Some orphanages in central China's Hunan Province had been selling babies to make money for many years, a Hunan based newspaper reported today. Police in Qidong County have caught more than 20 people this week, including the heads of some of the orphanages

The newspaper said a trader caught on Sunday told police orphanages bought babies from baby traders for about 800 yuan (US$98.89) to 1,200 yuan and resold them to other orphanages or families at a much higher price.

A social welfare institution in Hunan's provincial capital, Changsha, bought five babies for 60,000 yuan from an orphanage in Hengyang County on November 19, a man on the orphanage staff said. The two organizations have traded babies very frequently, the newspaper said.

It said the orphanage in Hengyang had sold babies to Changsha, Binzhou, Zhuzhou or Guangzhou for several years.

Because the national civil administration allocates funds to each orphanage based on how many babies it has, some orphanages bought babies to enlarge their numbers. After they got the public funds, they then sold the babies to earn more profits.

[From: Hunan orphanages sells babies, says report, 2005 ] 

According to one AP blog, Guangzhou is known to adopters for another reason....

“Going Home Barbie” is a gift to adoptive families who stay at the White Swan Hotel. Apparently, during the duration of your stay, Barbie will magically appear on your pillow. The doll has been issued on a donation basis from Mattel since 2001.

In addition to giving the Barbies, Mattel also sponsors this amazing playroom:

All of the products inside are Mattel.

Quite a few years ago, almost all of the 6,000 adoptive families stayed at the White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island because the U.S. consulate was located on the island. (U.S. citizens must exit through the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou while most other countries exit through Beijing.)

These days, the consulate is no longer on the island and there is an abundance of nice hotels for a much cheaper price. The White Swan Hotel ranges from $100 to $160 per night depending on the type of room requested.

The only reason to stay at the White Swan is to receive a “Going Home Barbie” aka “White Swan Barbie”.

Enter the tension.

1. The product is only available to adoptive families who stay at the White Swan Hotel.

2. Going Home Barbie is simply not for sale.

This lack of availability has made some adoptive families unhappy enough to create a petition pleading with Mattel to sell the Barbies.

Mattel hasn’t budged.

[From:  Introducing "Going Home Barbie", November, 2009 ]

Allow me to re-present the visual, like the disturbing repetitive brain-burp it has become in my mind. 

Ah... behold young teen-adult-turned 50 (this year) Going Home Barbie.  Note the adorable infant-sized orphan, held with love and forever bond.  While the not-to-be-separated duo cannot be bought at stores, they can be found on ebay... fetching  APs $200-$300 dollars (some even claim the proceeds will help the previous owners with a new transracial/transcultural adoption plan, in spite of over-the-top expensive adoption costs!)


Well, according to one of my fine beloved invaluable resources, I found more information about Barbie and the international adopter's interests, complete with a complaint about this passionate/excited interest made by a transracial adoptee.  It seems Barbie has gone ethnically and aesthetically culturally correct, with all the proper accessories, and educational accouterments a good Amother/daughter Go-Barbie Team could possibly want.  AND as good Chinese luck would have it, one does not have to purchase an exclusive Barbie Dolls of the World, like this China doll, to get these fine authentic made-for-girls-only Barbie clothing for the made in-China export newly gifted acquisition.  There is a free give-away, brought to the public by a popular blogging AP (she also happens to be seeking votes for a top 25 blogging contest...)

I surely can't resist when I find something China-themed for any of our dolls.  When I found this set of clothing and book of Barbie in China at  Tuesday Morning, I bought three extras.  If your kids are into Barbie, you can enter to win one!

[From:  Giveaway! Barbie in China Clothes & Book, June, 2011 ]

(Made-in-China Barbified orphan girl, all dolled-up)

Let's pretend no-longer-wanted adoptees are not traded into new Ahomes via adoption blogs, that way we won't have to see this online AP give-away as an ironic twist that's just too sick, even for me. 

Instead, let's play a good game with PAL (Positive Adoption Language) HAL (Honest Adoption Language) and all that is PC in Adoptionland's wide world-web of adoption marketing.  Let's see and envision how we can sell more orphan-related material to Adoptionland's favorite consumer, the desperate to please AP who shops on the Internet.

First, let's imagine 50 year old Barbie had a heart attack after she got the news that she has to give up the keys to her dream shop in Shanghai, because although China has a growing population of well-heeled women in it's fast growing economy, Mattel may have overestimated its cachet in China — and assumed Chinese women would embrace childish brands the way many women in Japan do with Hello Kitty.  

<sounding incorrect buzzing noise>

Not so much.  Therefore, it looks like Barbie's over-sized collection/over-stocked inventory in China must go... or at the very least, the quantity of unused products needs to be downsized.  All the extra unwanted over-produced immature girl-stuff must go, and hopefully it will go to buyers who actually like Barbie and all her cheaply-made high-end looking ensembles and accessories.  Otherwise into the trash or incinerator Barbie and clutter-making-stuff must go.

Selling culturally correct clothes and books to the curious adoptee is a marketing ploy that blows my mind, for reasons I can't even begin to list and count.... but I gotta admit, it's a really bloody brilliant idea!  It's especially smart for pro-adopters to buy into this ploy because the vast majority of American AP's will want to buy "authentic" items that represent their adopted child's original culture, but they will want to do this without the annoying PSA that just might/could promote the idea of family preservation and the need to keep children out of orphanages and with local families

So I have been thinking of my own sales-pitch and doll idea, since it looks like the ol Barbie Biz is gonna tank soon, anyway....

I was thinking Barbie's biggest sales-threat, Bratz dolls, should go more "Orphan" and feature a collection called The Wanna-Bes.  This collection of "I want to be adopted" orphan dolls can feature all the characteristics that really sell a foreign adoption plan.

For instance....Ethiopian Elsie can have dusty ragged clothing and a packet filled with falsified documents; Institutional Igoryok can come with empty vodka bottles and a safety helmet for all his head-banging antics that go with his unmentioned FAS.  Fostered/adopted Female (pronounced Fe-MAL) from Florida can come with 24 prescription bottles (for her emotional problems due to multiple moves) and old used garbage bags (she uses them as suitcases, each time she has to move from foster home to foster home).  Ursala from the Ukraine can come with her own camcorder, the perfect father's day gift for her new (sexually exploitive pedophile) Adad and twins Hennrick & Kiskeya from Haiti can come with their own rods and bibles for future home-school lessons and discipline. 

With choices and selection options like this, who WOULDN'T want to buy at least one or two cultural icons to mess around with on a long boring summer day?

by Kerry on Tuesday, 14 June 2011