BACK TO BASICS
Whatever was the One Child Policy?
What was the One Child Policy?
Introduced in 1979, the One Child Policy was designed to curb the rapid population growth the Chinese government deemed necessary to enact successful economic reform.
It was not a blanket restriction and had many loop-holes extended throughout the process. For example, those living in remote rural areas were allowed to have more than one child if the first-born was a girl after an amendment in 1984 as policing the policy remained problematic outside the cities.
There are 56 officially recognised ethnic groups in China. Han is the dominant ethnicity. Ethnic minorities were also granted exemptions to the One Child Policy.
What were the effects of the One Child Policy?
The effects of the policy have been many and varied. Due to cultural preferences for male heirs and a largely agricultural society who relied on physical labour, sex-selective abortions, female infanticide and child abandonment rose in wake of the policy. Now, amongst many other pressing issues, China wrestles with an aging population and a gender imbalance.
Is there still a One Child Policy?
The policy was ended in 2015, (effective from 1st January 2016) when the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) decided to lift restrictions and allow couples to have two children. As of 2021, there is now a three-child policy in place.
Whatever happened next?
In 1991, China officially began to allow international adoption. Restrictions were placed on the age, health, income and criminal background of potential adopters. Same-sex couples were not permitted to adopt, although single parents were welcomed and, indeed many same-sex couples chose to adopt via this method.
WHATEVER IS THE FOG?
The fog is a term often used to describe a state of mind where the adoptee has not yet come to terms with the implications of being adopted and actively seek to repress the part of their identity associated with adoption.
WHATEVER IS THE ADOPTIVE TRIANGLE?
The adoptive triangle is three-pointed relationship between the adoptee, adoptive parents and birth parents.
WHATEVER IS A WHITE SAVIOUR COMPLEX?
THINK EMMA STONE IN THE HELP ADJACENT.
HOLLYWOOD IS LITTERED WITH EXAMPLES OF 'WHITE SAVOURISM'
THIS OFTEN REINFORCES THE 'LUCKY' NARRATIVE.
WHICH MAKES ADOPTEES FEEL LIKE THEY NEED TO PROVE OR EARN THEIR SELF-WORTH
"Coming out of The Fog is a very back and forth process and one I don’t think I’ll ever finish completely. Some days are better than others. As a teenager, all I wanted was to be ‘normal’ and not think about anything big and difficult like adoption. However, there were questions that kept coming back to and ones I knew weren’t going away anytime soon. Going back to China to travel, live and eventually look for and find my birth family helped me come to terms with my identity and eventually acknowledge and embrace my adoption".
Throughout my childhood I was in the fog. It was only until I moved to university (aged 18) that I started to question my identity as an adoptee. This shift was partly due to the change of racial environment – there’s so much more diversity in Edinburgh than at home. It was because of this that I began to acknowledge my position as a Chinese adoptee living in a Western world. To be honest, I think this was one of my lowest points...I was confused with my identity and felt quite alone in the world. It wasn’t until I discovered online adoptee Facebook groups and various podcasts that I began to embrace my identity as a Chinese adoptee. I felt that these were spaces where I could fully fit in and be understood, even though we came from completely different backgrounds. - this was also how the three of us met!
QUICK, DUMB QUESTIONS. GET THEM OUT YOUR SYSTEM NOW!
Who are your real parents?
At Whatever Next?, we believe family is not restricted to blood. Our families are the people who raised and loved us. ‘Real’ or ‘Not Real’ doesn’t come into it.
Why didn’t your birth parents want you?
Every person will have a different story. More often than not, it is not a case of wanting or not wanting but of circumstance and incredibly difficult choices made by parents.
Why don’t you look Chinese?
Firstly, what do you think ‘looking Chinese’ is? China is the most populous country in the world which shares many land borders and which recognises 56 different ethnic minorities. It is reductive to assume everyone in China ought to look a certain way.
Additionally, children often pick up the facial expressions and mannerisms of those around them. What you might be referring to is the fact that Chinese adoptees have western traits and mannerisms and this confuses you.
So are you Chinese or not?
Once more, and louder for Karen in the back there. We are ethnically Chinese, although identity is by no means limited to one’s race. Most likely, we identify as the nationality we were brought up as.
So where are your birth parents?
Most likely, China. Thank you, NEXT x