Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lost or Stolen, would you want to know? & what would you do?

A week or 2 ago, while cruising through blogs I came across a link that I saved to my favorites to go back and spend some time on when I did have the time.
I spent some time scrolling through the faces of lost or stolen children of China.
With the click of each page, I prayed my child's face would not show up. I stopped after page 50 and will return when time allows. With each click I asked myself, what would I do if I saw her face? What would happen then? What would we do with that information?
It's a scary thought to process, it would be information that I am not sure I'd be able to process fully and then what the hell do I do with it? There were 2 kids that I actually pulled there referral photo up and compared. Is that wrong? and it was in that moment, that I closed the computer and walked away. Because really...what would I do with that information?
So I'm going to put the question out there for everyone reading this who has adopted or is an adoptee, what would you do with the information if you thought your child had been lost or stolen? Would you want to know and then the big question...what then?
I hope we can have an open discussion about this because it's a real problem in the world and I am still processing my own thoughts and would like different points of view on it.
& it was this website that got me thinking of all these questions.


Sandra said...

I have thought about this. Especially when we found out about child trafficking in Hunan, which is where Jazzie is from. Would I want to know if my child was stolen? On the one had I would say no, because if she was then I would HAVE to tell her and I would be so afraid of what that might possibly mean. There would be so many complications. On the other hand I would say yes because I think I owe it to my girls to dig into their pasts as deeply as I possibly can. But what is worse? Being abandoned by your birth parents or being stolen? The easy thing for me would be to not think about it and to not try to find out. But I also know it would not be the best thing for my girls for me not to try and find the truth. Or would it?

This is a complicated issue. Once again, you have made me think.

A Beautiful Mess said...


I am not sure how honest I would be by saying that I would want to know...I guess the biggest change would be for us as a family to get to know her birth family if we could find them.

I don't think there is one clear cut right or wrong answer.

Ignorance is bliss...

Tawni said...

Even though my girl is not from China, I've had the same thoughts about Av. I'm pretty sure her bf does not know about her. We have a first name, no last name, and a city he *might* be in. Long story short...I've wondered what the right thing is for Av. I've decided to let her take the lead when she's old enough. If it is important to her to know we'll support her, if not...

Is this comment even relateable to your post? Does it bother the heck out of you I compare our two experiences?? Your posts just make me think outside the box alot...


Tawni said...

One more comment...I know...SO ANNOYING...

Just thought you'd like this:

Pug Mama said...

I don't know.
I'm actually afraid to follow the link.
I can't even process the thought right now.......

Donna said...

I'm sure I'd want to know. I looked at the first 10 pages of photos and noticed that some looked to be at least dozens of years old. It would be helpful if the photos could be sorted according to the birthdate of the child. Some of the photos were of old women and most of the photos were kids over age 5 or so. Very few babies.

If my daughter was stolen, I'd want to know so I could let her family know she's okay. How could I not do that for a family would must be out of their mind with worry and grief? But would I send her back to them? No, I wouldn't. And I'm just being honest so I hope nobody beats me up for saying this. I'd find an anonymous way to stay in touch with them, send photos, etc. And I would do everything possible to help prosecute the people responsible for her abduction.

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Diana said...

My first thought was "mine are from Korea, so this does not pertain to me"...then I realized that mine could be just as lost or stolen as the next..would I want to know..HONESTLY..No! It would be so easy to say yes but then what do you do..if you contacted the family and say "they are safe and happy" would they want them back??? Could they take them back??

a Tonggu Momma said...

I don't know if many of us can say what we would actually do in that situation, but only what we hope we might do. No matter what, I would not give her back. As harsh as that sounds, she knows me as her momma and has been a cherished member of our family and an American for nearly five years now. I would hope, however, that I was strong enough to establish some form of an open adoption with her first family. And I would definitely strive to help prosecute anyone knowingly involved.

JoAnn in NJ said...

I'm not looking and I have to say if you found out and contacted someone that you thought your daughter might have been stolen, you might NOT have the choice and could be forced to send her to China.

Is that worth it? Not to me and right now not to her. Abandonment, culture shock and disruption at 4.5 is a whole lot different when you have an intact family and don't live in an orphanage.

If SHE chooses to look when she's 18 and can decide for herself...then we can look together.

And if someone came looking for her and tried to take her...we'd disappear into the night (the 3 of us)

Each to her/his own opinion counts and this one is mine.

I am sensitive to the concept of stolen babies and families suffering, and I am prepared to deal with the fallout later on. Even if we never know for sure, we'll have to deal with the possibility that it happened.

Meg said...

I don't know. I'm not sure I'm strong enough to do the right thing. I hope I could, but would contacting her birth family be the right thing for EK now? but how could I not let her birth family know she is okay......ugh- this is hard.......I don't know.

Laurie said...

Wow...I think I'd want to know, but like you said, then what? Your child is a part of you and American culture now, but in the future what could it mean to her to be able to connect with her birth family?

I only looked at the first page of your link, but it seemed to be photos of missing people from all walks of life. How many of those individuals could've possibly ended up in in the international adoption system run by the Chinese government??

My 2 cents

Wanda said...

Oh my. I don't think I would want to know. Because if I did - then I would be haunted to do something about it. And I just couldn't. I could never give her back. Yes, it would be so wrong if she had to be returned but that's not really my reason. I COULD NOT give her back. I've had many discussions with my husband about this because our first daughter is from Hunan. And we got home shortly before the scandal broke. He has always maintained we would have to give her back (because he is very morale and legalistic but I think he'd have difficulty going through with it - he would just want to do the right thing).

But I know I couldn't. Well...I could if I had to but then I would die. I'm not kidding. I'd rather cut off my arm. Sorry, I'm being so dramatic but the thought just throws me.

I'm such a chicken - I can't even think about this anymore.

Marie said...

This is surely one of the most difficult questions in the world for an adoptive parent to answer. I am fairly sure it does not apply to my three daughters - two were special needs, and one was adopted in '96, long before the more recent wave of corruption and kidnappings. My NSN daughter was adopted from a city which boasts the first AIDS clinic in China, and a fair incidence of prostitution. I think that if I learned she was kidnapped from a traditional family, it would be easier to share that information with her than to tell her that her birth mother was a prostitute. While the connection to our children's birth families would be overwhelmingly difficult for us, and perhaps for our children as well, in the end our children would learn that they were not truly abandoned. Surely that would be easier for them to come to terms with than actual abandonment. I don't know. It's a complicated issue.

Debbie said...

Truly, I don't know I would do .. I just can't even imagine the pain of it all -- the pain for her birth family right now at this moment as I am loving this little girl with all my heart & pain for us as we would have to figure out what to do .. and the immense pain for my sweet girl to one day know that she had been stolen & that is what got her to us. It is just too much for my heart to even imagine that scenario for Lily. Not trying to bury my head in the sand but I just don't know!

I do know if I saw her pic on that website I would experience full cardiac arrest -- not even kidding. Don't think I could ever stop crying if I saw her face there ... I'd be crying for her, for us & for her birth family!

Joanne said...

I think I would want to know...but not sure when I would share it with her. I felt my heart skip a beat as I looked at the website you linked...wondering what I would do if her picture showed up! Just an awful position to be put in...for everyone!

Debbie said...

I would have to say "NO". Only because the pain involved with processing the information that would come with the answer. If Darci wants to search for that info when she is older and can process that information then we will do what we can to help her. She is mine in China's eyes and in the US's eyes, could not ever give her back. If I knew then I would feel quilty and so it's eaiser to not know. My opinion, my decision for me and only me, everyone must do what works for them. Thanks for the question!!!

Melinda said...

I think I would want to know but I am not sure what I would do with the information. It is such a mix of emotions. I would want her birth family to know that she is healthy and loved but I could never imagine having to give her back. My heart just can't go there. I looked at the website earlier but couldn't get past the first page because of the fear of "what if" I saw her face. I cannot imagine being in this unthinkable situation.

elisa said...

Ok first of all, funny to see Tawni's post above- Hey Tawni! Small world.

I would probably spend hours on the website, and really regret it if I found her picture.

I don't know. Adoption has corruption, we know that. And I have read enough anti-adoption blogs to last me a lifetime.

But the truth is, most of us enter into this gig with the idea of giving a child a chance to have the most normal loving home that they can have- because for whatever reason their first parents could not offer it.

Sometimes we have to just trust that we are doing/did the right thing (even if we know that out of so many kids in need, a few will have gotten to that point unethically).

Trudy said...

We're just starting the adoption process and I'd have to agree with JoAnn and several others. Your job is to provide security, love and stableness. You went through the long legal process already and fulfilled your commitment {going through legal channels} to your daughter in that regard. It would not be good for her now and she is the one you have to think about. Would birth parents be relieved to hear she is alive and well if in fact she was stolen - yes, but it is not on you. When she gets older she can fulfill any desire she has for that information.

{any responsibility in that situation, in my opinion, would be on her birth family and native country} You are entitled to be at peace.

InMySeoul said...

*putting on my wet-suit and prepareing to "dive in"*

This scenario obviously probably the worst nightmare of any AP. I think there are two different scenarios: one where the AP knows with relative certainty if their child was abducted, and a second where it is unknown. For this comment I am only referring to the first scenario.

If the AP's are fairly certain that their child was abducted; then don't they have an ethical and moral responsibility to try to return the child with the birth parents? If the AP's become aware that this has happened (and do nothing) then what differentiates them from the people who intentionally paid someone to steal another person's baby? Sure the intentions were pure at the beginning, but at this point they have ruined that purity and are no different than the abductors themselves.

I know its a hard subject but as parents yourselves, I am dumbfounded at the disregard for the birth parents. It's not like they "abandoned" their child. In this scenario, we know for a fact the child was abducted...and the consolation for the Mommy and Daddy (Im pretty sure by the rules set prior that we can use this term of endearment for the birth parents since they never gave up legal right to the child)is we'll send them some pictures but remain annonymous so they can't do anything. How horrible would that be as a parent to get quarterly updates on the child you gave birth to, loved, had kidnapped, sold off; and then to get quarterly updates with photos of them smiling and hugging strangers who replaced them. That would be pure torture, and I don't even have to be a parent to understand how cruel that would be.


I know some rationale was given as to the best interest of the child, least disruptive, normal, loving home, or letting them know when they are older and "can handle it better".

At what age in your life, do you think you could have "handled" being told that you were stolen and that your AP's knew about it for several years? Finding that out would crush me at any age, and I suspect most people (if they were honest) would agree. Even though my AP's have been great to me growing up, if they did this to me I could honestly say I would have felt betrayed by them for the first time in my life. Even though my parents and I don't always see "eye to eye", I always knew (sometimes after the fact) that they were on my "team" and supported me with everything they had. Something like this would crush that foundation of trust that they had worked so hard to build.

I would really hope that AP's (who knew their child was abducted) could love their child enough to be able to actively seek and return the child to their birth parents in this scenario. This isn't a question of which parents are better or who can give a better lifestyle and most importantly it's not about what is comfortable for the AP's. This is taking the moral/ethical/humane action, and returning an abducted child to their parents.

Campbell said...

Yeah there's so much about this that's wrong. As a mom I can't imagine giving my son to someone else for any reason. But, also as a mom, I can't imagine losing my son and not having people give him back even though they knew I was looking. There are risks to becoming an adoptive parent. Until this post I'd never thought of this scenario and my heart breaks for all involved.

As an adoptee, I can tell you with certainty that if you knew that your child was (or even could be) being looked for and did nothing, your child is going to be seriously pissed at you when they find out. Not all adopted persons have a sense of compassion and concern for one or both of their birth parents but I always have and had I been presented with this nightmare I'm not sure I could have forgiven my adoptive parents whom I love very much and think of as my parents.

It's funny, although it's not the same thing, it reminds of something. Growing up I knew of a relative who'd given a child up for adoption, coincidentally around the time of my birth. Over the years, before knowing anything about my biological people, I warned my parents more than once that they'd better not be hiding any secrets surrounding my birth and adoption because if they were and I found out I'd be furious.

I'm sorry but I think it's almost a guarantee :(

3 Peanuts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

These responses are just shredding. How privileged we are to take such a stand. If our children were abducted from us we would plead, pray and scream at the world that our children be returned to us. And- we would be heard. Our voices would be shrill through the horror of kidnapping and we would demand justice. Our justice- the right to have our children returned to their lawful family. We hold so much power and we can’t allow for the parents of kidnapped children to interfere?

It has been awhile since I blogged about this exact scenario and website. I know that in my children’s province trafficking has occurred. So, I watch the updates and scan the faces. Truly, it is the absolute very least that I can do.

There are adoptive parents before us who have paved the way. Julia Rollings comes to mind- She did not ‘give up’ her Indian children who were trafficked but has fought hard to integrate their families.

Please take the time to translate the website sited. Use google translate. If you read these pleas after pleas your heart might find itself in a different place- this baby mourned for was abducted after Thanksgiving last year-

“My elder sister's tears cried to do, that night which snatched, my brother-in-law and the elder sister rode the motorcycle to look entire one evening, wanted to listen to the child to cry in where, could send discovers, but did not have child's clue. Has gone to south today one, kneels asks them in there, but they pay no attention to us, then we have gone to the Foshan Television station, my elder sister kneels before the broadcasting station gate kowtows while weeps bitterly, hoped that they could give us many somewhat to find child's hope. The elder sister is treating shouting which the mirror headache sound weeps bitterly: The sail sail, you come back quickly, mother thinks you! My heart twists the pain. . . . . Since elder sister these days have not eaten food.”

Honestly, there is not a single moral bone in my body that can turn from this. Yes, it is complicated. Yes, it is painful. But, it is our obligation as parents to face the facts and play the hand we have been dealt. We are not ‘saving’ anyone by pretending that our children are ‘ours’ no matter what. Would you be satisfied by that if your child was stolen from you?

Praying that you say- No way and that you would fight forever for them. Just as these families, with very little resources, are fighting hard for their children and the peace of heart to at least know where in the world they are.

Truly Blessed said...

As much as it would kill me, I would definitely contact the people who were seeking the information. How could I not? I love my daughters with every fiber of my being, but if they were truly stolen/abducted and the parents are desperately seeking them (or information about them) I would definitely want them to be part of my daughters' lives. Of course I would pray fervently that this isn't the case, but I'd have to see it through to the conclusion.

What a tough question.

Stacy said...

Wow. I am going to go look at the site. I believe that my job as a mother is to find out as much as I can about my daughter's past. Even though I feel the right thing to do would be to reunite her with her parents, I know I couldn't relinquish her. I know it's selfish, but I simply couldn't give her up. On the other hand, if someone stole my child, I would go to the ends of the earth to find them. I suppose that makes me a hypocrite.

Marie said...

I've given this a lot of thought since my original post. As I mentioned previously, I'm pretty sure that none of my kids were stolen. Two were waiting children with special needs, adopted at older ages (ten and four, respectively). One was adopted as a healthy infant in 1996, long before the current wave of abductions.

But having given this much thought, I am feeling that if things were different, and I learned that one of my daughters had been abducted, I would NOT relinquish her to her birth family under such circumstances. While I would feel tremendous sadness and empathy for her birth parents, the paramount concern here should be whatever is in the best interest of the child.

I would surely want the birth parents in our lives. Would remain in contact, would arrange to visit, would provide updates and pictures on a regular basis - like an open adoption. But I would NOT send any of my kids back to China to live with a family they didn't even know, for the second time in their lives.

Anonymous said...

hey, longtime reader with a random question- did you take your bob revolution to disney? I feel like you did and pondering it but worried about theft, any advice? Sorry to post on this entry

t~ said...

Hi Anon! I did take my Bob with me to Disney. I was also worried that someone would walk off with my Bob & leave me with their cheapo Graco, so I brought a bike lock to use when one of us wasn't with it. It just made me feel better. Bob & I are kinda attached....=0) If I didn't have anything to lock it to, then I locked the wheels together. I also used a bike lock to lock the cooler to the stroller, cause that's just how I roll...;0)

Donna said...

Wow! This has really turned into an interesting discussion!

Over the years, I've read a few stories about babies who were switched at birth and raised by the "wrong" parents. The courts allowed very liberal visitation to the birth families but none of the "wrong" families were forced to return their child. They appreciated that the disruption to the child outweighed the rights of the birth family to have the wrong righted. And it was easier because the other family also had a child they loved dearly and didn't want to have to return. Yes, even birth families can be selfish!

It's easy to sit at your computer keyboard and insist that giving the child back is the only morally correct choice but it's another thing to take the child who knows no life other than the one she has with you and stick her on a plane and force her to go "home" and live with a totally different family.

Part of being a responsible parent means doing what is in the best interest of your child even though she'll grow up and blog about how pissed off she is at you. I'm willing to accept this risk.

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

La-La-Liene said...

Oh Gawd. This question caught me completely off guard. Given that my daughter was a SN adoption from China, I am hoping not. I've read several articles that have said that many SN children are abandoned not because they're not wanted, but because the parents can't afford the medical care or because they have family that frown upon the "defect".

I'm also a parent of two different types of adoptions: one that's an open domestic adoption (I'm even friends with our son's birth mom on FB) and one that's an international adoption where I have no information about my daughter except the orphanage she spent the first 16 months of her life in. In both situations it is going to be extremely hard to explain to my children why they are with us. My son is 1 of 4 boys his birth mother had and the only one placed for adoption. I have strong feeling he will struggle with that when he's old enough to really understand. As for our daughter it will be equally hard trying to explain to her why she was abandoned (because we really don't know) and why we don't know anything other than what the orphanage told us.

It's really hard not to be curious but a big part of me does not want to know.

osolomama said...

The Rollings are an instructive example because they showed how "returning children" really becomes the blending of two families. That is what it is at its core. It isn't "sticking" a child on a plane; it's us going over there with an open heart and admitting that we've been caught up in some awful business. So far, at least, that is how it has played out. I don't think original parents are going to deny your parenthood or deny your relationship but they certainly deserve to be back in their children's lives if their children were not freely relinquished. Isn't that what you would want for yourself? If we shy away even from the possibility of investigating corruption when corruption may be an issue, or if we insist only on the most anxiety-making scenarios like packing our kids' bags and driving them to the airport, then we're just shutting down. We're not giving any thought to how the future might be played out with support, visitation, plans for living abroad, two sets of parents, two families. . .the possibilities are endless if people can deal openly and respectfully with each other.

Here's a Rollings link. She has a book out too.

osolomama said...

Sorry, one more note. Didn't mean to imply that someone who relinquished and didn't have his or her child seized was not deserving. Poor choice of words. Also, "free" is a very iffy word when talking about India and China. "Conscious" is a better word; not free.