Another Chinese Birthfamily Searching for their Daughter

Someone sent me this Reddit link, where there is a Chinese cab driver apparently giving away cab rides for free to people who will post a picture and story on the internet for him.

I am unclear how the birthfather came about getting the 2007 picture, but it kind of appears that the orphanage gave it to him but wouldn’t give him the birthfamily’s contact information. The story is that the girl was given up for adoption in 1995 soon after she was born – but considering there wasn’t a mechanism for doing that in 1995, my guess is we should read it that she was abandoned. Unless it was a private adoption, where he handed her to the Chinese couple who “adopted” her by claiming her as theirs, and then when he found out they died, he went searching to see what happened to her. Either way, he’s apparently looking for her now.

He knows she was adopted in China, that the original a-family died, and then she was adopted to the US. He has what appears to be a picture of her with her American family, taken in 2007. Once again, there is a picture of a child posted on the internet when the child has not given consent. I’m assuming at this point that the orphanage gave him the photo, I can’t imagine how else he would have it.

It’s enough to make me want to stop sending pictures to my girls’ orphanages. I’m thinking I’ll send a letter every year, make it clear that if a family contacts them claiming they are the birthfamily then we want the SWI to get the family’s information and give it to us, so we can contact them on our own terms. But I don’t think I will send anymore pictures. Which is a shame, but if the orphanages are going to give the pictures to a birthfamily who would then post the pictures to try to find them…

Glittergirl would be mortified. It would be a terrible first impressions kind of thing, she would have anger towards her birthfamily before she met them. They would have two strikes against them – the didn’t keep her, and they put her picture on the internet and embarrassed her. Not a good start.

I’ve said before that we need some sort of public clearinghouse, and I’ve been thinking about the best way to do it. Something that could easily be found within China, so if an a-family posted their child’s finding information in Chinese, and a couple in China searched for that information, it would come up on a search. Also, the site itself should be easily found in China, so that a couple in China could find it and then post whatever information they had. If we do it right then when someone from China posts something, we’ll have enough people watching it that their info will be likely to reach someone in the community who know the a-family.

For instance, I would recognize finding location and clothes warn, but no one else would. But there are others in the local community who would recognize the year and SWI and probably send me an email saying “Hey, there is a birthfamily looking for a child who ended up in GG’s SWI, and the age is about right – you should go take a look”.

I just haven’t found the right software to pull it off. If all else fails I could do it with forum software, but I’d really rather find something that lists a sentence or two of detail in a list, and then you open it up to read more details. That way people can look down a list without having to open every discussion. Something that would ask questions – date abandoned, city, province, clothes they were wearing, age at abandonment. The list could be easily sorted by those things, and they would show up in almost spreadsheet form. If you found a match you’d click the listing for more details, and for contact info.

I will need a native Chinese speaker to help me write the Chinese side. I’m thinking all instructions will be in both Chinese and English – a line in the center with Chinese on one side and English on the other, both saying the same thing.

Back to the original point, there is a picture and an email address for the birth-father at the link I pointed to, so if anyone does know this girl then they should contact the family to let the parents know. I wish the father had just said, “She was adopted in this year and was this old when adopted, and was in such and such orphanage”. I think she could have been found with just that information, instead of posting a picture of her with what appears to be her American family on the internet.


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35 Responses to “Another Chinese Birthfamily Searching for their Daughter”

  1. heiwa Says:

    I was not aware until last week when we finally got a referral that there are yahoo groups based on SWI. The group for our SWI seems fairly active and it seems like it would be a good resource for this if there was a way to handle the language issue.

  2. ldw4mlo Says:

    I would love for there to be a place where, folks looking for a child could post, and those wanting to find birthparents could post and search.

    My daughter hasn’t asked yet specifically, but if she wants to find her birthparents and they want to be found. I would love for that to happen.

  3. waitingfor julia Says:

    Pardon me for pointing this out, but by posting the link, aren’t you doing exactly what you said people shouldn’t do? That is posting the pic without the girls consent? Because by posting the link, you are essentially posting the picture again and “revictimizing” the girl.

  4. catherinethegreat Says:

    I don’t see any picture on the link….so hopefully it isn’t doing this. I think the yahoo groups for the SWI are a really good place to start to share information. Hopefully someone has alerted this person to the yahoo group….

  5. DivaMama Says:

    I would be a little more than a little leary of these Chinese birth parents that are just now searching and what their motives might be. My child’s birth parents had 3 years to come back and claim her. She has now been adopted and that right to come back has now been lost. I wish it were legal in China to relinquish a child so that we could have had her birth parent’s names at least so IF my daughter decides to search (we feel very strongly that this is HER decision to make and not ours or her birth parents) she would have a place to start. or, maybe a clearing house at least where those birth parents who want to be found could put their info so if a child decides to search they can.

  6. wrigsassy Says:

    Just curious but doesn’t that girl look older than 6 or 7? Maybe I missed something but if she was born in 2005, she would only be 6 or 7…

  7. waitingfor julia Says:

    Catherine, when you hit the link on this page, you then hit the next link at the top of the page it takes you to. I think there is also another link for supp info.

  8. DivaMama Says:

    “waitingfor julia Says:
    July 16th, 2011 at 10:39 am
    Pardon me for pointing this out, but by posting the link, aren’t you doing exactly what you said people shouldn’t do? That is posting the pic without the girls consent? Because by posting the link, you are essentially posting the picture again and “revictimizing” the girl.”

    good point

  9. RumorQueen Says:

    If I posted a lengthy post about it, saying “there is a post out there” and not pointing to it, people would be upset. Yes, pointing more people to the post puts more eyeballs on it. No one complained when I pointed to the news stories a few months ago, even though my pointing to the news story put more eyeballs on it. I learned long ago I can’t please everyone.

    As for the age thing – it says she was born in 1995, so in 2007 she’d have been around 12 years old, and she’d currently be around 16 years old.

    I don’t believe the SWI groups are letting birthparents onto them, but if someone sent an email to the owner email address surely the owner would post it to the group. I don’t know if those groups show up on an in-China search, though.

  10. momto4hopefully Says:

    I would never assume the birth father had bad intentions. I have recently asked someone visiting my daughters province to try to find her “finder” to see if they may know her family. I would not do anything at this point becasue I do agree that the child should lead the quest, however, I need to give her birthparents the benefit of the doubt. Until I learn otherwise i would never assume ill intent by her family. If I had to give a child up for adoption, I would want to at least know she /he was doing well and to share with the family that if and when they wanted contact, they had my info and knew I was also open to contact.

  11. chickensoupforchina Says:

    RQ said,

    “If I posted a lengthy post about it, saying “there is a post out there” and not pointing to it, people would be upset. Yes, pointing more people to the post puts more eyeballs on it. No one complained when I pointed to the news stories a few months ago, even though my pointing to the news story put more eyeballs on it. I learned long ago I can’t please everyone.”

    You’re right, you can’t please everyone. However, I think Waiting For Julia shed some important light on a very sensitive subject. Like yours, my daughter would also be furious if her picture were out there in such a context without her consent. While it’s important to discuss these matters as they come up as a community moving forward, we can also learn how to do it in a more sensitive way.

    I didn’t think of it that way until Julia pointed it out. I appreciate her doing so, because I honestly don’t see any reason to post those links if we respect the privacy of the child. Yes, they will be out there regardless but we can choose as individuals not to participate.

    I absolutely respect that this is your blog. You’re entitled to post however you deem appropriate. I hope you know how much I appreciate all you have done for our community.

  12. memories Says:

    Jane Liedtke, fomerly of Our Chinese Daughters Foundation (OCDF), developed a new organization this past year by the name of A Bright Moon. A Bright Moon has just begun to host a website allowing birthparents and/or adoptive families to seek one another. Sounds similar to what you mention. Just thought you may be interested in checking it out. It is in the beginning stages but a start.

  13. RumorQueen Says:

    This is likely to keep coming up, so we do need to decide what to do about it as a community. Do we want to not mention it, try to keep it in the dark by not talking about it, to try to keep the family from seeing it? Or would we prefer to talk about it, giving the family a chance of seeing that there is a picture of their child out there.

    In our case, I don’t want a birthfamily to post it, but if they do then I certainly hope that I find out about it. To me, having it out there and not knowing about it would be worse than having it out there and knowing about it.

    And if we are going to have conversations about it, to try to decide how we feel about it while it is affecting others and not us, so that if it ever does affect us we’ll be better prepared to deal with it, then would it really do any good for me to tell everyone I saw it but not share the place I saw it?

    To me, the best case would be for it to not have been posted. Is it possible that if we talk about it, that word may eventually get back to the SWI’s that we don’t want pictures shared with birth families? Could word get to the CCAA about it, and maybe they will send word to the SWI’s that they shouldn’t share photos with the birth family?

    Right now, I still feel like we are at the point with this that we still need to be talking about it when these things pop up. Three years from now we may be seeing four or five of these a month, and when that happens I don’t think pointing to every one will benefit anyone. But now? Now I think that we as a community are still figuring it out.

  14. RumorQueen Says:

    momto4hopefully – I’m not ready to assume bad intentions with this birthfather, either. He’s not claiming she was stolen or kidnapped or anything – he’s saying he either abandoned her or possible did a private adoption, knew she was adopted by a Chinese family but then found out she wasn’t with them anymore and is now trying to check on her.

    I think he could go about it better, sure… but I’m not ready to assign nefarious reasons for his search with the little bit of information we have.

  15. chickensoupforchina Says:

    I think we absolutely need to talk about it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to mention that it has happened again, but I don’t feel that it’s necessary to point out the specifics of a particular family and child. It sounds as if they’ve had terrible losses, in addition to the loss of a birth family.

    I loved how you went on to say in your blog how your daughter would feel, and how this makes you feel as a mother. I agree that it does make you think twice about sending those pictures. We do it quite often.

    I also love the idea of a kind of a safe clearinghouse. I’m with you that it’s complicated how that would work.

    I really appreciate you being so open as to how to figure this out in the best interest of the community. We all have so much to learn. It’s a complicated puzzle, and supporting one another is a key piece.

  16. RumorQueen Says:

    memories – she’s charging $100 for a listing – I was planning to put up a free service. I’m already paying a luxury car payment per month for the server fees for this sight (the ads pay for the server fees), I don’t figure the new site would pull that many resources, and if it does then I’ll put adds on it to pay for what it uses as well.

  17. ladeeesquire Says:

    I have no doubt that this is going to become more and more common. China is opening up, the net is accessible to more and more chinese families, and the threat of legal action against birthparents probably isn’t all that great.

    I guess I just never thought about the swi giving a birthparent a picture that was sent by the IA family. I’ve never sent a picture but I’ll admit to being hesitant to do so now.

    This girl’s story is a bit unusual with the initial domestic placement, etc. She’d probably be pretty easy to identify without a picture. I feel really uncomfortable that her pic is on the net. Its relatively current and would seem to be highly recognizable by the american family and the girl herself.

    Lots to think about.

  18. chickensoupforchina Says:

    I’m also thinking of writing a respectful letter to our SWI asking them not to release any of our pictures without our consent. However, how do we word that without being insulting?

  19. 2qts4me Says:

    My husband is in China at the moment, and this will definitely become more and more common. You are right, the threat of legal action against birthparents will not be that great.

    There are already sites creeping up in the domestic adoption registrations. They have added countries like Russia, Kaz, China, Korea etc. Common adoptive countries.

    Infact, my husband is in China, he went with his brother and sister-inlaw and their adopted 18 year old dd. They are now in the province where she was abandoned, and my husband had to leave to go to X’ian. He said that they are doing a heritage tour with the hope of finding her birthparents. This is something she wants to do. It is becoming more common as adoptive children reach 18.

    I think that more birthparents might come forward now that many years have passed and they do not have the fear of legal action. Many birthmothers did not necessarily abandon their daughters, in many situations it was the inlaws who controlled many things. Social values are changing, and old customs do not hold with many modern Chinese couples who are trying to escape the country for the city.

    There is alot ot think about for everyone.

  20. ldw4mlo Says:

    As far as posting the link, if RQ had been the first that would of been would of been wrong, in this case on a public access site.

    It is like closing the barn door after the animals got out…..

    This is going to come up more and more as our kids come of age. And as China changes. And as the birth parents change, because the passage of time changes things………

    I won’t pay for a service I think should be free………..beyond the cost of keep the site running…………. Really folks (children and birth parents) wanting to connect. It shouldn’t cost more than price of providing that space.

    A physical search has costs associated with it and much more time…………. Yeah if I was having a person physically search I would pay more……. But to post information, the fee should be nominal. JMO.

  21. tearoses1 Says:

    folks — .picture didn’t necessarily come from the swi…

    it could very well have come from any of a million places on the internet —

    pictures of families, adopted and otherwise, are plastered all over the place…..

    all one needs to do is download one of them, or do a screen grab of one of them.

    i would be more inclined to “blame” facebook than the swi, no?

  22. RumorQueen Says:

    tearoses – if he knew enough about them to get to their facebook page or blog then he would have a way to contact them and wouldn’t have to offer free cab rides in exchange for people posting it onto the internet.

    If he doesn’t know their name, only knows that they are from the US, and has a picture of them, then the only way I can think for him to have the picture is through the SWI. I can see someone in the SWI offering a picture for a bribe, considering that he won’t be able to find her that way, that it’s not risking contact if the SWI worker just allows the man to take a snapshot of the picture with his cellphone.

    I’m also kind of hoping that the CCAA gets a clue at some point and sends a memo out to all of the SWI’s explaining why this is a bad idea.

    If there is some scenario I’m not thinking of that would allow for the man to know the family’s facebook or blog page and not know who the family is, or have a way to contact them, please share it.

  23. catherinethegreat Says:

    Personally, I think it would be a more positive gesture is if the CCWA stepped up to the plate and developed a process by which birth parents could develop a ‘birth/adoptive registry’ file where by birth families could be located if the child when they are 18 went to look at the files. But I am not sure if this would/could happen.

  24. kantmakm Says:

    The photograph was not provided be the SWI. The guy’s qq account is posted – if you want to know about the picture, why not email him rather than jump to conclusions?

  25. chickensoupforchina Says:

    I don’t think anyone jumped to conclusions, but I think it’s valid for parents to request that a child’s privacy be respected with regard to photos. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it is done respectfully.

  26. kantmakm Says:

    chickensoupforchina – if only the SWIs were a lot LESS private and provided APs with all of the information they have available. Now that I could get behind.

  27. Elise Says:

    Regarding Jane Liedtke’s Bright Moon service, she charges Western parents for posting but no fee on the China side.

  28. britsmum Says:

    My daughter is from the same orphanage that the girl in question is from. IMO, it would be very easy to find her since there are a very small number of international adoptions taking place from there. My daughter was one of the first and I’d venture to say there have been less than 100 since 1995. It is quite possible that another organization of volunteers helped this father. THere are volunteers that are in this orphanage daily.

  29. SinglemomChina Says:

    Ideally adoption agencies could be the clearing house but ask the Koreans how well that has worked with their adoption agency, Holt.
    It hasn’t worked at all.. it has been completely mismanaged with much of it lost or held hostage. ANd don’t tell me you trust the CCAA to do this. No way. They don’t keep records the way we do here in the US or Canada. Our children would have their histories intact if it wasn’t for the CCAA and it’s lack of oversight.

  30. metam Says:

    Personally, I would be thrilled when I found a picture of my son on the internet somewhere, and I would be very happy if my SWI would give pictures of our son and information about us to the birthfamily. Telling the CCAA to be more secretive about information to either the adoptive parents or the birthparents would mean a lot of suffering for children and birthparents I think.

  31. RumorQueen Says:

    No, I don’t want them to be more secretive, I absolutely want to know if a birthfamily comes looking for my girls. GG would be thrilled to be able to meet her birthparents – but only if it is handled correctly.

    I do not want my children’s picture broadcast on the internet where their friends might see it, making it a public matter instead of the private one it should be. We had the situation a few months ago where the picture ended up being splashed across the news media (though that picture didn’t come from an SWI), and now we’ve got this case where this man is apparently trying to get it posted as far and wide as he can.

    Both of my children’s SWI’s now have a letter requesting that we be notified, and that we be given contact information, if anyone ever comes forward claiming to be the birthfamily.

    There is a difference in being open and in giving away a picture that can then be posted in inappropriate ways.


    How would a volunteer organization have a picture of the girl with her new family? I can see them having pictures from before she was adopted, but not a picture taken after she was adopted.

  32. kittymama Says:

    Putting myself in his shoes…he is anxious to find his daughter…he has a photo….what would any of us do? I don’t blame him for posting on the internet and can’t say I wouldn’t do the same.

    I understand some people’s concerns about privacy but really, what privacy do any of us have anymore? And frankly I am much more bothered by the bloggers who publish every detail of their child’s life along with tons of personal info. Nobody up in arms about them. All he published was a photo and asked to be contacted – can be done privately.

    I think we lose some of our privacy when we become adoptive families. We are conspicuous and our child’s personal info has been shared with many gov’t and non-profit agencies. Just a fact of the situation.

    I protect my dd’s story as much as possible but the fact is, she has other parents in China and if they choose to publish a photo to find her, that is their right too. And in their situation, I might do the same.

    I posted a photo of my dd’s foster mother on a private yahoo group in order to find her. It worked within 24 hrs. It was not a public site, but somebody could have lifted that photo and put it anywhere else online. I know that the foster mom would have thought it well worth the price to be in touch with us.

    Think about it from the father’s side for a minute (or more)..wouldn’t any of us have done the same thing if we were trying to find a lost child?

  33. RumorQueen Says:

    I think posting the circumstances he knows on boards having something to do with Chinese adoption would be a much better way to go about finding her. Not only to protect his child’s privacy, but because that method has a much better chance of actually finding her.

    And yes, I realize I lost certain facets of my own privacy by adopting, but I do try to protect my childrens’ privacy. They didn’t choose to be adopted, and they shouldn’t have to deal with their friends seeing a picture of them possibly posted in a news story.

    Parents are supposed to act in the best interests of their child – birth parents and adoptive parents alike. I believe there are other ways to go about finding each other that do not involve posting a picture in as many places on the internet as he can manage. Especially in this case, where the known facts around this girl’s two adoptions are so unique.

  34. Annika D Says:

    We have a beautiful baby girl from China. She today 2,5 years old and we couldn’t be happier. I must admit that I think about her birth mother more than I expected before us adopting her.
    At Copenhagen airport in June a stumbled over an unbelievingly interesting book called “Message From an Unknown Chineese Mother” by Xinran. Basically the book is about how and why women in China are forced to abondon and sometime kill thier baby girls. Xinran explains quite explicity some of these womens stories and the anguish and suffering they live the rest of thier lives wondering what ever happend to their baby girl. Xinran is not agains international adoption per say. She is howerver critical to the way chineese policy and culture forces people to make choices that go against everything we know in are hearts are right.
    It was one of the most hearbreaking books I have ever read but I do believe one of the most important. I do recommend parents to adoptive chineese children read this book.

  35. kittymama Says:


    I will have to disagree with you on this one. Perhaps you know more about the story than I do, but do you know for sure that he knows about adoption forums here? If I were to do a similar search in China, I don’t know if I would know where to start or what websites to find. It would be very hard to navigate.

    I go back to my original thought on this which is to empathize with a parent desperate to find his child and what I would do in his shoes…and I think I would cover every base and get the photo out wherever I could.

    I think a lot of assumptions are being made…perhaps the girl in question would be excited to find her birth father and if this is how it happens, great. The younger generation is much more accustomed to personal stuff being online now. And if the adoptive parent(s) are like me, they would be happy to find him too.

    Again, I go back to my point that adoptive families (many on this site) are posting personal info & photos about their kids ALL the time. If I were looking at the adoptive community from the outside I would venture to say that nobody would object to a photo being posted. Seriously, take a look at some blogs…so much info put out there for all to see. I don’t condone it and my own blog was subscription-only but I think we need to be realistic about how many folks have already published so much online that it becomes the norm to do so….and that someone might easily get the impression it’s just fine to post a photo.