The fate of an adoptee


In the late autumn of 2007, one-year-old Lauren Huff was adopted from China as a result of the one-child policy and saved from a life of modern-day slavery.  

That is the case for many female adoptees that make up nearly ninety-percent of those put through the adoption system in China today. Huff says it has been hard to live her childhood constantly questioning what life would be like if her adoptive parents had “chosen the child next to her”. 

In the year of Huff’s adoption, over 5,400 children were adopted from China, and of that number, 84.8% were female. China’s One-child Policy is a population planning policy that holds a strict one-child restriction with male offspring being highly valued.  

Many adoptees that are affected by the policy feel isolated because being put up for adoption correlates with being unwanted by people who were supposed to take care of them, particularly when you may have been given up for something as simple as your gender, Huff says. 

Since 2009, China has remained the number-one location of adoption in the world. Those who are not fortunate enough to have been adopted typically end up working for next to nothing in factories and may even be inducted into child-trafficking. Some Americans have unknowingly adopted Chinese babies taken from their parents and sold to orphanages in this trafficking.  

These details can be shocking and perilous to young adoptees and can cause them to question their fate. At the same time, it can make them grateful that their fate led them to the privileges they have today. 

Adoptees like Huff tend to think about the ‘what-ifs’. It is not unlikely that a simple change of mind that was out of their control could have left them speaking a different language and living in poverty, Huff says.  

When a prospective parent seeks in adopting a child, the fate of the adoptee is up to them. It can become hard to think about a child other than yourself cooking in your kitchen or learning how to ride your bike, Huff says.  

For some adoptees like Huff comes an interest in meeting the birth parents in order to answer questions that have otherwise been left unsaid.  

When asked about whether she would be interested in meeting her parents, Huff said, “I would ask them if I have any brothers or sisters, and I would wonder why they decided to give me up, but I wouldn’t get mad at them because it was probably a hard decision for them to make and they hopefully think about it a lot.”  

Some adoptive parents choose to be straight-forward with their children from the beginning about their child’s journey. Others believe details about the adoption should not be explained until the child is mature enough to understand the situation and have a better perspective, and appreciation on where fate has led them. 

Huff says she would tell children going through the process of adoption that their situation is the best circumstance they could hope for, and their obstacles yet to come are better than “slaving away in a factory” or living in the streets. She says, “You’re going to find people who will embrace you.”