Adoption and China’s One-Child Policy

Two stories appear in the news this morning that are related to one another only in this sense that they are likely to be of interest to pro-life readers.

First, as many of you know, the pro-life movement has become increasingly pro-adoption in recent decades. This is a wonderful development that we can all be thankful for. The New York Times reports, however, that the “color blind” approach to some adoptions is coming under criticism.

“Minority children in foster care are being ill-served by a federal law that plays down race and culture in adoptions, a report released on Monday said.

“The report, based on an examination of the law’s impact over a decade, said that minority children adopted into white households face special challenges and that white parents need preparation and training for what might lie ahead.

“But it found that social workers and state agencies fear litigation and stiff penalties under the law for even discussing race with adopting couples. As a result, families often do not get the counseling they need. It also found that states have ignored an aspect of the law that requires diligent recruitment of black parents.

“The report recommends that the law — the Multiethnic Placement Act, which covers agencies receiving federal dollars and promotes a color-blind approach — be amended to permit agencies to consider race and culture as one of many factors when selecting parents for children from foster care.”

Second, it appears that the Communist government of China is preparing to ease up on its inhumane “one-child” policy in the wake of the deadly earthquake in the Sichuan province. The Associated Press reports:

“Parents whose only child was killed or maimed in China’s earthquake would be allowed to have another, officials who administer the country’s one-child policy in part of the disaster zone said Monday, offering some solace to grieving couples.

“Couples whose only child was killed, severely injured or disabled in the quake can get a certificate allowing them to have another child, said the Chengdu Population and Family Planning Committee, which oversees the policy in the capital of Sichuan province.”

I’m sure the Chinese government regards this move as a humane exception to their otherwise justified policy. Nevertheless, I would argue that if anything the move accentuates just how inhumane and brutal their “one child” rule really is. Maranatha.


  • Bruce Sabin

    “Social workers and state agencies fear litigation and stiff penalties under the law for even discussing race with adopting couples.”

    It seems to me that if the issue is one of preparing couples to handle their newly adopted minority child, the agencies could offer post-placement services without any possible fear of litigation. After all, no one can sue if they were allowed to adopt a non-white baby and then were encouraged to learn about how to help their baby become a part of the family.

    I am a little suspicious that social workers and agencies are just being lazy. I’ve never met a social worker afraid to discuss race; in fact, race is a major part of the NASW code of ethics:

    “Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race….”

    “Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race….”

  • Jen Strange

    Dorothy Bode has a few interesting comments about the Adoption Institute paper at her blog, as she finds herself surprised to agree with much of it:

    “If race is the taboo subject then how can social workers work with families to address racial tensions, identify personal prejudice or even help families to keep communication alive with their adopted children if they are not allowed to talk about it as an issue?”

    I’ll be very interested to hear the NPR story with her interview tomorrow. . . .

  • Beckett Gray

    Social racial awareness is a very progressive issue for our pluralistic society and one that I’m sure we could use alot of work on. Thanks for posting the article.

    My non-profit recently published a new book on Chinese adoptive parenting. We touch on racial identity in several places.

    “The Dragon Sisterhood: A Guide to Chinese Adoptive Parenting” .

    It can be found on our blog:

    I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing that with your readers.

    Thanks!Beckett Gray

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