Chinese Adoptee’s Twin Found

Thanks to the K@W.  I do want to point out a few things I’ve been gnawing on after reading this article.  First the whole “preferential adoption” thing strikes me as a little strange.  I remember growing up always feeling as though I had been a plan “B” for my parents since most parents adopt as a last resort after trying various methods to conceive a child biologically.  Labeling those who adopt as “preferential adopters” is kind of strange to me and feels like just another way to angelically crown a halo on the adoptive parents for their choice to adopt in place of having a biological child.  Not that this is a bad thing, and I certainly think that if adoption is to continue there need to be more parents and families willing to do so, I just think that many adoptive families and parents in the media (esp celebrity adoptions) continue to be angelicized for their “philanthropic” acts at “saving” these “lost” babies.  Any other adoptees want to chime in here?

Also I just wanted to note how the mother keeps saying that she feels her child’s twin “should be hers.”  To me it exemplifies how this idea of ownership can sometimes be conflated with adoptive parenting.  It’s like a family who keeps adopting to try to bring all the children in one family together (which isn’t necessarily bad), but it feels very much like collecting.

Well enough of the editorial here, it just struck me a little raw and I wanted to air a few of my concerns and thoughts.  Please feel free to chime in.  G.S.

Our lone twin from China

By Jane Ashley and Emily Buchanan
BBC Radio 4’s China Girl

Soon after bringing this little girl home from a Chinese orphanage, her
British parents proudly posted photos of her online – only for it to
reveal that she has an identical twin sister, also adopted abroad.
Adoption from China is a gruelling process, which takes many years. And
Wiltshire couple Jo and Charlie have found it can bring dramatic
surprises.

The one-child policy in parts of China means abandoned children
“People think you are just going out, there are some nice smiley
children in a row, we’ll have that one, we’re just picking a fruit off a
tree,” says Charlie.

It couldn’t be more different. First there is a home study by British
social services. Once approved, there are mounds of paperwork to amass,
which the UK government processes and forwards to the authorities in
China. Finally the long wait – currently several years – to be matched
with a child.

Jo works for an animal conservation charity and Charlie in the airline
industry. They are what’s known as “preferential adopters” – couples
who, although able to have biological children, chose to adopt. “We just
felt there are enough kids on the planet that aren’t being loved,” says
Charlie.

Just over three years after they began their adoption journey, last
November Jo and Charlie went to China to collect the baby they had been
matched with. They called her Evie, keeping her Chinese name as a second
option.

Evie, now almost two
Adoptive couples don’t get any information on the birth parents as
abandonment is illegal in China, but Jo and Charlie often think about
who they might be. “I’m endlessly curious,” says Jo. “I look at her face
and think ‘Are those eyes her mother’s?'”

And then, two months after coming home, the couple made a chance
discovery that their daughter had an identical twin who had been adopted
by a family who live far from the UK. Both families belong to an e-mail
group for the orphanage.

“I had put some photos of Evie up there and they saw her,” Jo says. “We
were shocked. Having believed Evie would never know any of her blood
relatives, we now have as close a blood relative as you can get.”

Mirror image

When they were in China, the other parents had been allowed to visit the
orphanage, unlike Jo and Charlie who had adopted Evie first.

Your instant reaction is she’s my baby too – I want her here, but we
would never dream of doing that

Jo on Evie’s twin

Child and prejudice
“It dawned on us that maybe the reason we weren’t allowed to go was
because we would have seen the other little girl,” says Charlie.

The families are now in regular contact, speaking over Skype, using
webcams and e-mail, and sending each other DVDs.

When she sees photos of Evie’s twin, Jo is torn. “Your instant reaction
is she’s my baby too. I want her here. And we would never dream of doing
that. Neither family ever thought we should reunite them permanently.
They are both settled and very happy. But I went through a stage of
being really wobbly about it. She’s a part of Evie and Evie is a part of
her sister.”

She hopes the two families might meet up when the children are older,
possibly back in China. “I’d personally like the girls to be able to
understand it and remember their first meeting.”

And there might, after all, be a trail to Evie’s birth parents. In
China, identical twins are thought very special indeed and Jo and
Charlie think someone would have known about them.

Evie steps into her new life
“It’s unusual for kids from China to be able to go back and do that,”
says Charlie “Some of these kids grow up with a hole inside them because
a part isn’t there, part of the story that forever will be missing. I
genuinely believe that Evie and her sister have this chance that isn’t
offered to many kids who are adopted from China. Whether she takes it up
is her option, but at least that option is there.”

More than ever, the birth parents are on the couple’s mind. They would
love to be able to let them know that their daughters have found each
other.

“They must occasionally wonder what happened to their two girls and it
would be fantastic if we could at some point reassure them that their
kids were being looked after. They are so loved,” says Charlie.

China Girl is broadcast in the UK on BBC Radio 4 on 16 and 23 July at
1100 BST, then online for seven days on Radio 4’s Listen again page.

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One Comment on “Chinese Adoptee’s Twin Found

  1. Hi

    I’m Jo and someone just told me you’d been talking about the Radio 4 programme we did (and the webpage they put up to promote it).
    Like you I dislike the term “preferential adopters”. I may be wrong but I do think it’s only ever used because the media don’t know quite how to refer to people like us. They’re used to labelling infertile couples as “desperate”, which is equally wrong, and don’t really know what to do with people who clearly aren’t.
    I believe I only said once that I felt Evie’s sister was my baby too. I refer to Evie as my baby, my daughter, my family because that’s what she is. That’s the context in which I made that remark and I was trying to talk succinctly about very complex emotions. I have NO sense of “ownership” about my daughter or any other child. The very thought of “collecting” makes me feel nauseous.
    Anyway, reading your thoughts gave me another view of Evie’s story, thank you. I’ll be interested to see what others think.
    All the best,

    Jo

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