Chinese Adoptions – Fat People Need not Apply


Xiao Mei was born with heart problems. She is up for adoption at a foster home in Beijing.

I’m sorry but there is no humor in this post- just great sadness.

As the father of an adopted son I find this story to be absolutely disgusting. If an American couple wants to adopt a Chinese child, even a special needed child, they are rejected if deemed to be overweight! Apparently it is better for the special needs child to languish in a cold, impersonal orphanage rather than to be loved and cared for by someone who is deemed to be fat.

This works to the point of my previous post about how being overweight can subject you to certain levels of blatant or latent discrimination.  Unlike the scenario in my previous post this case shows how other innocents can be hurt by such discrimination levied upon those who are not fit.

This is yet another reason why we need to take control of our own destiny and walk down a new path of healthy living.


BEIJING, China (CNN) — At a foster home on the outskirts of Beijing, thirteen special needs children are waiting to be adopted. Our crew walked in as they were waking up from their afternoon nap, with sleepy eyes and little yawns that quickly turned into smiles.

They range in age from one month to five-years-old. There is little Xiao Mei, who was born with heart disease. She has already had one surgery and will need another soon. Others were born with missing limbs, dwarfism, spina bifida, a cleft palette. One infant is blind and deaf.

They seem to have just as much energy as any other child. One boy, a five-year-old with dwarfism, was fascinated with our video camera, and entertained himself by wearing the accompanying headphones. We were in the middle of shooting when another girl ran over and lifted her arms to my waist. She just wanted to be picked up, to be held.

Children’s Hope International, an adoption agency, founded the home in 2004 to help poor families who cannot afford to care for their ill or disabled children. Since 1992, the agency said it has placed more than 3,500 Chinese babies with adoptive families.

The adoption landscape for these children — and many others in China — is changing.

The Chinese government imposed new regulations in 2007 to limit the number of international applications, putting more restrictions on prospective parents from outside China. The rules basically say you need not apply if you are single, overweight, deformed, taking anti-depressants or poor. China has said the rules are in the best interest of the child.

After leading the world in international adoptions, adoptions in China are slowing down- though it is not clear if there is a link to the new rules. According to the U.S. State Department, Americans adopted 7,906 Chinese children in 2005 – a number that dropped to 3,909 children in 2008.

However, Melody Zhang of Children’s Hope International, said it is not that fewer people want to adopt but there are instead simply more Chinese and foreigners who want to adopt and fewer children up for adoption – however, the government does not release data on the numbers of children up for adoption in the country.

“In the past, Chinese people would not consider adopting someone out of the family, but more and more people are educated, and they understand the important part is to raise the child, not necessarily a blood tie,” Zhang said.

The Asian giant’s growing economy has given more people the means to raise a child, so Chinese parents are less likely to give up their children.

It has also become more socially acceptable to have daughters. In the past, Chinese rural families have sometimes been known to put daughters up for adoption so they can try for a son in a country where most people are allowed to only have one child.

Zhang estimates there are 30,000 international applications waiting to be processed in China. These days, the wait can be up to five years.

The process can be faster for parents who want to adopt a special needs child, just like the ones we met at the Children’s Hope International orphanage.

That is what one American couple, Chris and Tammy Watkins decided to do. They have three daughters already but want a fourth. They live in Beijing and have spent a lot of time working in foster homes, especially with special needs children.

They waited almost three years, but a few weeks ago found out they had been matched with a child. A 3-year-old girl is waiting for them in an orphanage in Nantong in southeast China. She had some minor operations when she was born but is now a healthy little girl. They hope to meet her within a month.

“At first it starts out, ‘I could help them.’ And the more time you spend with them is, they are just great kids,” Tammy Watkins said. “They need a family to love them and that’s all they need.”


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