Chinese Daughters of the West: A New Aspect Of Modern Culture

This phenomenon has sparked a fascination in the United States with the one child policy and the resulting tens of thousands of abandoned children, and a wide variety of books were written on the subject. Some were sociology studies questioning what led so many parents to relinquish their children, such as Kay Ann Johnson's Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage Care in China (Yeong & Yeong Book Company, February 2004). Others were personal or collected memoirs detailing the cross-cultural experience of bringing a Chinese child into Western home, including Amy Kltazkin's (board member of the FCC) Passage to the Heart: Writings From Families With Children From China (Yeong & Yeong Book Company, January 1999) and From China With Love: The Long Road to Motherhood (John Wiley and Sons, April 2006) from Emily Buchanan. Some books asked the question of how these adoptive children would change the face of the United States, and what they would bring with them if they ever returned to China (Karin Evans' The Lost Daughters of China, Tarcher, September 2001). Inspired by his trip touring and photographing Chinese orphanages for the art book Mei Mei (Little Sister), Richard Bowen helped to found the Half the Sky Foundation (, a charity that donates submissions (as well as the proceeds from Bowen's book) towards care centers, education, and professional nannies for orphaned children of all ages. (Prominent Asian-American author, Amy Tan, is also a member of the foundation.) 

But it's not just in the academic and charitable arenas of Western culture that Chinese adoption has been making waves. A number of children's books, geared towards helping younger members of the family (or the adoptive children themselves) understand this unique situation, have been published in recent years. I Don't Have Your Eyes (Carrie Kitze, EMK Press, November 2003), Just Add One Chinese Sister (Patricia McMahon, Boyds Mills Press, March 2005), and My Mei Mei (Ed Young, Philomel, February 2006), as well as many other books have been written with the aim of making a place for Chinese adoptive children in popular culture. Adoption of Chinese children has become so ubiquitous, the internationally popular program Sex in the City (1998-2004) featured a storyline in which one of its four main characters adopted a little girl from China after years of failed infertility treatments.   

Read on for An Unexpected Change In Policy

Recommend this article