View Full Version : National Geo special "China's Lost Girls"

Kimberly H
06-18-2004, 08:19 PM
Sunday at 8pm ET National Geographic's Ultimate Explorer show is "Lost Girls of China" From what I can tell from the promos, it looks like they spend at least some time in Hefei (where we met our Mia) and they might have even done some filming at the hotel where we stayed.

I've read some warnings on message boards that it's not going to be a warm and fuzzy show and Mia will not be watching it, at least not until I see it first and can screen it.

Here's the link to the site: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ultimateexplorer/weekly/lostgirls.html

06-18-2004, 08:35 PM
We don't have t.v. (kind of temporarily) but we definately won't have it in time for this. I'm very curious, mostly because some group was going to be filming at the Consulate the day after our adoption ceremony (I'm very curious to see if the consulate changed how they did things at all for the show - for instance, after making people waiting for months and months, herding them into a small room, and then taking five seconds for the ceremony - o.k. I exaggerate and I suppose if it was a long deal, I wouldn't have been happy either - but it was somewhat anti-climatic). Anway, I'm rambling - I would like a review after you see it. If you could pay particular attention to when it was filmed, I would appreciate it. Thanks,

Kimberly H
06-18-2004, 11:05 PM
Holly, someone on APC posted it's a GWCA group that National Geo followed and I'll definitely post a review as well as any info about the filming that I have. They might have some dates on the site or on APC if the people who participated belong.

06-21-2004, 01:58 PM
We watched this last night and thought it was very interesting. They basically followed a travel group on their trip and mixed in interviews with Chinese people about the one-child policy, etc. It was a little weird for me having just gotten our referral for a boy since the show was really just about the girls.

06-21-2004, 04:13 PM
You'll fnd that about a lot of things. For instance, we got the book, "When I was Born in China" prior to getting Jamie. Well, it basically (nicely) says babies are given up because they are girls - I don't think that explanation will fly for our boys! I think the population of boys is going up, so maybe some of this will start to change.

06-21-2004, 06:21 PM
I missed it!

Anyway, can we talk about the one-child policy and girls? A college professor told me once that he felt (or read or whatever) that the reason for the large population of girls in the orphanages was because, traditionally, in China the eldest male took care of the parents in their old age - there is no equivalent to our social security. So, therefore, the families wanted boys. To those of you with indepth personal knowledge, would you say this was, in part, true? I hope this does not come across as insensitive, I do not mean it to be. I realize it also may be a sweeping generalization, but I have been curious if his hypothesis had any merit to it.


06-21-2004, 06:58 PM
Thia is more or less true. Traditionally, girls go to live with their in-laws. You are considered to be "raising another families' child." (this is from my step-MIL, 1st generation - not her opinion, just her experience from China). In fact, she told us that there used to be a lot of intra-country adoption in China but people would only adopt boys and they would more or less be treated as slaves.

Anyway, it varies from area to area. More rural areas are allowed two children (if they have a girl first to try for a boy). The orphanage that Jamie was from was in a major city surrounded by rural areas (the last city before the Himalyans and for hundreds of miles around, the only city). Anyway, this orphanage has, for China, a high percentage of boys (30% overall, 50% toddlers/babies and the girls abandoned are mostly toddlers. The opinion there as to the reason for this is as follows: people who are allowed two children want a boy and a girl. If they have a girl, and then another girl, they may keep the two girls until they have a boy. If they have two boys, they will abandon the baby boy in order to try for a girl. It sounds very cold I'm sure but girls have become prized now in China because so few people can afford to have one (in terms of retirement).

Keep in mind that although this is a "Communist" country - everything costs money. In fact, our Jamie was most likely abandoned because he was born premature and his parents could not afford medical care (he was left outside a hospital). Even to go to the park costs money.

There is a book called "Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son" that goes into a lot of this.


Kimberly H
06-21-2004, 10:28 PM
Melanie, it's coming on again on Saturday at 8pm on MSNBC. I think it's a great watch if you're at all interested in adoption or China.

ETA: The room they showed at The White Swan Hotel looked *exactly* like ours, down the the style of crib. It was so eerie.

06-22-2004, 02:17 AM
THanks Kimberly...I'll set my TiVo

06-22-2004, 10:02 AM
Thanks for the great response on this issue. It's interesting that your son was premature--ours was too. I've been thinking about the possibility that his mother wasn't married or that he was an unintended second or third child and his family couldn't afford the fines and/or run the risks of losing their home, jobs and so on.

06-22-2004, 04:16 PM
DH & I caught this the other night. We found it very interesting - and sad at the same time. What really surprised me however was DH's comments at the end of the show. He said we should consider adopting one of them. I was kind of suprised because prior to all those years trying to conceive C he was adamant against adopting internationally but would consider domestically. Now that I'm pregnant with twins, I'm even more suprised. I asked him if he was serious and he said yes. He would like to adopt within a few years - enough time for us to get us adjusted to life with 3 children under 2. After 3, there's really not that much difference - more the merrier. I realized then and there what a big family man I have!

So looks like we'll join you all in about 2 years on this journey!

06-22-2004, 05:47 PM
Deidra, how wonderful! My Dh has been rather ambivalent about adoption, but he's also need seen/watched/read all that I have. Maybe next time I catch something (like this) I'll see if he wants to watch it with me.

06-27-2004, 12:41 AM
I'm just now seeing this. Do you know if it's going to air again?

Lane 4/03

06-27-2004, 09:08 PM
I just got to watch it. Talk about an emotional show. I wonder what will happen to China in 10 or 20 years?

I gave a speech in college on overpopulation and briefly touched upon government-control. So of course the prof. had to comment about babies in China. If I hadn't wanted my A, I would have told him how different *I* think it would be in the US, but that is another story. It almost seems like girls are preferred here, but I suppose that may be regional.

Do foreigners ever adopt older children in China? I noticed some of the children at the orphanages weren't babies...

06-28-2004, 12:27 AM
I hope no one minds me answering again - this happens to be one of my favorite topics.

People do adopt older children - here's the "hitch" so to speak. The kids, after a certain age (maybe 8, I'm not sure) have to ask to be put up for adoption - and then of course, there's not a huge rush for older children, unfortunately.

What China is beginning to find is that as the first group of children in orphanages from the one child policy become adults, they never leave the orphanage. Even if offered jobs elsewhere, they have no experience outside the orphanage and are too frightened to try life outside (obviously, this is a gross generalization and will not apply to EVERY child). Some are even offered jobs outside the orphanage and turn them down. And the older children are, of course, very close to their friends at the orphanage (probably more so than their nannies as, generally speaking, there nannies change as they age and their friends don't) so it takes a special kid to want to leave. Frequently, their schools are even self-contained within the orphanage so they really don't get out, so to speak. China is just beginning to get "into" foster care (if you think about it, they're actually a perfect country for it - if you're only allowed one child, and want another baby, why not foster?).

I found the older kids the saddest at Jamie's orphanage (that is sad for me, they didn't outwardly appear sad). Well, that and one two year albino boy who clung to my legs when I left and who I would have taken home in a second if allowed. To end on an up note, my facilitator was leaving us at the end of the week to meet a family adopting a 10 year old boy with albinism. So it does happen.

Sorry to go on,

06-28-2004, 12:53 AM
Thanks Holly. Can you imagine the pressure? I mean, I'm all for one- or two-child families, but the pressure to have the "perfect" child because you only get one chance?

It was nice to see the one family, in the special, who did pay the fines and keep their baby. I had "heard" that it went beyond fines, though, that they were then unsupported by the gov't as far as schooling, etc. I wonder if that is true?

06-28-2004, 04:36 PM
I'm not sure how much of this still is true - my info here is a little outdated - however, it used to be that if you didn't get a permit to have a child, you couldn't get citizenship papers (they were technically citizens; it would be like being unable to get a social security card - you're a citizen, but how to prove it?), which would definately limit options. I'm sure with enough "guanzi," roughly connections, this could be taken care of. And the fines are very high - equivalent to a year's salary for most.

Sort of an odd, sad story. My SIL's mother is Chinese (as in lives in China, not Chinese-American). She taught math there, now retired. One of her students had a child with Down's syndrome and abandoned it. The government found them, made them pay fines, and take the child back. My feeling was (and I don't know the family involved) that that policy (returning abandoned children) could lead to infancide. It really bothered me.

06-28-2004, 04:49 PM
That *is* a terribly sad story. Quite different from here where we are begging mothers to abandon their babies at certain locations instead of leaving them to die or kiling them.