Katherine Anne Hughes

Katherine Anne Hughes
An amazing journey to Katherine
About China
About China

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalms 139:13-16


General Information

China, (People's Republic of China), is situated in eastern Asia, bounded by the Pacific in the east. The third largest country in the world, next to Canada and Russia, it has an area of 9.6 million square kilometers, or one-fifteenth of the world's land mass. The border stretches over 22,000 kilometers on land and the coastline extends well over 18,000 kilometers, washed by the waters of the Bohai, the Huanghai, the East China and the South China seas. The Bohai Sea is
the inland sea of China.

The population of China is 1.295 Billion. This accounts for 22% of the world population. For comparison, the U.S. population is approximately 292 Million and has only a slightly larger land Mass than China. Because of this overpopulation, many family planning measures have been imposed to slow the population growth.  

A major effect of these policies is the increasing number of infant abandonment in China. Even though abandoning a baby in China is against the law, it is usually done in secret, and sometimes in an area away from where the birth mother lives.

China is a country whose culture dates back to the earliest records known to man. At first glance, some of China's beliefs may seem quite different than those we hold in the western world. One example of this is the cultural preference for a male child.

There are several reasons why Chinese families might prefer a boy over a girl. In rural provinces, a family's livelihood depends directly on the output of its family members. Because of this, a family with sons would be at a considerable advantage than one with daughters. Historically, it is also the son's honored responsibility to take care of his parents in their old age. A daughter, however, would be expected to care for her husband's parents rather than her own.

In this regard, the Chinese believe that having a son is crucial to their livelihood, as well as a form of social security for the parents when they grow older. Although in recent years, China has done much to change these belief systems, many families, especially in rural areas, still strongly favor the birth of a male child.

This situation is further complicated by China's One- Child Policy, which prohibits families from having more than one child. As a result of this policy, there are thousands of abandoned children throughout China, with the vast majority of them being healthy girls.


Child Abandonment in China

Kay Johnson completed a study now famous in adoption circles. She indicated that The typical profile of an abandoned Chinese child is a healthy newborn girl who has one or more older sisters and no brothers. Although most girl babies are abandoned because their birthparents already have daughters and want a son, girls are not readily abandoned; most parents abandon their female infant only after they have reached or exceeded the limits imposed on them by the birth planning authorities.

No one knows for sure just how many children are abandoned in China, but the estimate is approximately 1.7 million babies are abandoned annually. 95% of these are girls, and many of the boys that make up the remaining 5% are handicapped in some way. Of those 1.7 million annually, approximately 6800 are adopted by Americans, and many more are adopted by people in other countries. The number of children adopted from China increases every year.

The Families with Children From China (FWCC) has an interesting page that documents the number of adoptions since 1985. You can find that page by clicking here. The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) handles all adoptions in China. They match families with children available for adoption and work very hard to find homes for all of the abandoned children. Although, just by looking at the numbers, it is obvious that the majority of abandoned children in China are NOT adopted, and live their lives in an orphanage.

In general, the family planning policy of the People's Republic of China is a "One boy, Two Child" rule....meaning that if a family has a boy first, they are not permitted to have any more children. If, however, the family has a girl first, they are permitted to apply for permission to have a second child in an effort to have a boy. There does appear to be instances, however, where a family can pay a fine if they find themselves pregnant again and will be allowed to continue with the pregnancy.

Reports are, however, that the fee can actually amount to a years salary in China.Although this policy sounds harsh, the truth is much less clear. In China, there is no social security income system, and there is no welfare. The structure of the society, especially in the rural areas, puts a much higher value on the male in the family because the male is the one that generally provides for the family. The girls grow up to be married and move in with the husbands family. The males grow up to marry and support both his parents and his wife. The parents of daughters are often left to fend for themselves.

With this in mind, it is not difficult to see why males are more desired in a rural family. There are, of course, always exceptions. The biggest exception seems to be with families that live in more urban areas. In the urban areas, more females work outside of the home, and the high value put on males in the rural areas is not of the same level.

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