Posted Sep 21, 2009 07:42 pm CDT
There are strict laws in China about how many children married couples can have. Officials have the power to order abortions and sterilizations and, once a baby is born, heavy fines can be levied if a family’s quota of one to two children is exceeded.
However, government officials don’t have the power to take away a baby—even though they nonetheless do. That’s because corrupt officials can make $3,000 per baby by selling the child for adoption by a foreign family, reports the Los Angeles Times in a magazine-length article. The fee is about six times the annual income in rural China.
Families in the nonmetropolitan areas from which children are often taken may not know officials have no legal right to take babies, the newspaper recounts. Although Chinese law requires advertising to try to find the parents of “abandoned” babies, such advertising may take place far from where the family lives.
“It is international adoption that is creating the suction that causes family planning to take the kids to make money,” says Brian Stuy, an adoptive dad in Salt Lake City who does research on the origins of Chinese adoptees. “If there was no international adoption and the state had to raise the kids until they turned 18, you could be sure family planning wouldn’t confiscate them.”
Although girls are sometimes abandoned by Chinese parents so that they can try for a boy, Stuy says he doubts abandonment claims concerning older babies. “If you don’t want a girl, you give her up as soon as she’s born,” he states.