If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know my love for China and especially for it's children. Tonight, I was quite shaken. My feelings range from relief that my precious babies are home, yet sick to my stomach to think that there are still millions of babies and children who live the horrors of what some orphanages offer.
A friend sent me the link to a documentary that for years I have been hearing about but had never seen, The Dying Rooms. I must warn you, it is extremely graphic. But, the reality of what life is like for millions of orphans in that land that I love, the motherland of two of my beautiful children, cannot be denied. Brutal neglect was captured by a British investigative team of journalists who set out to find the truth. The evidence could not be ignored. One particular scene made me cringe as they saw a child with layers of clothing wrapped around her, held by cords so tight that it they couldn't be moved. It flooded my mind with memories of the day we received Kai. When we first undressed him, he had a similar rope that was around his hips holding up his diaper. It was so tight that I, too, could not remove it. We ended up cutting it. To this day, my sweet angel bears the scars of that rope as a memory of his past.
I wept through much of the movie as I sat in disbelief that these attrocities could and do occur. Now, more than ever, I am even more grateful (if that is possible) that the Lord has blessed us with two beautiful Chinese children who at this moment lay safely tucked into their beds and are loved unconditionally in our home, having escaped any tragedy such as what this film entailed.
This film was created in 1995 and much has changed in China since that time. But, the fact remains that the one-child policy that was put into effect in 1979 to curb population growth, is still very much alive, especially in rural areas where male offsprings are highly desired to help work the fields, to provide protection in old age and to assure continuity in lineage.
On a more positive note, in April 2000, The New York Times reported that "many 'illegal' children are born in secret, their births never officially registered." And "as more women move around the country to work, it is increasingly hard to monitor pregnancies . Unannnounced spot checks by the State Statistics Bureau have discovered undercounts of up to 40 percent in some villages, Chinese demographers say." (See Elisabeth Rosenthal, "China's Widely Flouted One-Child Policy Undercuts Its Census", The New York Times, April 14, 2000.)
According to a February 2005 report in the Weekend Standard, a Chinese business newspaper, demographers in China found a ratio of 117 boys per 100 girls under the age of 5 in the 2000 census. Thanks to China's one-child policy and a strong cultural preference for male children, this gender gap could result in as many as 60 million "missing" girls from the population by the end of the decade. With less than 5% of Chinese orphanages available for international adoption, those "missing girls" will literally never be accounted for. They are non-existent.
The traditional thinking is best described in the ancient "Book of Songs" (1000-700 B.C.):
In a 2002 survey conducted in a central China village, more than 300 of the 820 women had abortions and more than a third of them admitted they were trying to select their baby's sex. The abortion of female fetuses and infanticide was aided by the spread of cheap and portable ultra-sound scanners in the 1980's. Illegal mobile scanning and backstreet hospitals can provide a sex scan for as little as $50, according to one report.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation stated in 1999 that there are about 7 million abortions in China per year, 70 percent of which are estimated to be of females. SEVEN MILLION! Those numbers are astounding and yet, the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) is making it more and more difficult for orphans to find families outside of China's limited domestic adoptions. I just can't seem to understand it when there are an estimated 13 million children in Chinese orphanages.
It is through media coverage and documentaries such as these that awareness is raised across the world in order to bring changes with lasting efffects to particular issues, and the plight of children being neglected and/or abused should probably rank up there as number one, since they are the most vulnerable and innocent of the human race and of God's creations.
I know that there is not much more I can do except advocate for these children, pray and help wherever I can. I can't emphasize enough to anyone who is considering adoption to please take that leap. It has been, three times over, the best decisions in our lives. The blessings received from these children are endless.
In closing, I'd like to ask you to take 40 minutes out of your day to watch this film, if you haven't already*, and when it's over, ask your heart "is there something I can do to help"?
*Be aware that it contains scenes that you may find upsetting.