I got registered mail today. I never get registered mail. The mail carrier delivered a post-it note to me indicating I should come to the post office to pick up the letter.
Even before I picked up the letter, Chris knew who it was from. Other parents of children from Fuling Social Welfare Institute were receiving letters too. When China started to build the dam, there was a sharp increase in the number of abandoned girls in river town of Fuling. The orphanage had to expand. Now after accumulating so many children over the past dozen years or so (98% of the children are never adopted), it needs to expand again.
My 3 bedroom house is 3300 sq ft. I have 5 people in my family. The current children’s living area at the Institute is 4 times bigger but they care for 400 children.
The cost of the new complex is around $3M. (I’m sure the 25-acre project would be much, much more than that in the U.S..)Through gifts from Western adopting parents over the past 4 years, they have a third of that already. The local county has donated the land. Since nothing is coming from their federal government, the rest has to come from overseas donations. So we are all getting letters.
I have no way of determining this, but I am curious what the locals think when they see an orphange go from a 2000 sq ft house to a 15,000 sq ft building then to a 100,000 sq ft campus in less than two decades. Is this viewed as progress?
On the streets of Chongqing (the metropolitan city next to village of Fuling), I got the most disapproving glare from an older gentleman when I was carrying my newest family member outside the hotel. Was he disappointed because a Westerner was adopting one of his country’s girls or because a Westerner was the only option the baby had? The orphanage director laughed when asked what portion of the children were adopted domestically. Despite the fact that every Chinese adult is aware of the abandonment problem, Chinese couples never consider adoption and, apparently, aren’t responsible for supporting their orphanages either.
Perhaps, as long as Chinese parents continue to abandon their children, it should made legal and taxed heavily. At least then, as the orphanages burst at the seams, there will be the resources to care for the girls properly.