Saturday, December 18, 2010

Aging Out

What does this mean in the China adoption world? I was mistaken in that I thought it meant that when a child turned 14 years old they were evicted from the orphanage and turned out onto the street.

What it really means, is that a child is no longer available for adoption.

So what happens to the children who grow up in orphanages? We know that some, horribly, do end up on the streets doing whatever they can to survive, and others, working menial jobs with terrible working conditions and barely any money for it. Some, however, and it's a growing number, have some higher education and find better jobs. Many children, and I don't know what percentage, are trained in something that can support them.

My agency's China coordinator and his sister grew up in an orphanage. Several girls right now, through various charity organizaitons, are being sponsored so that they can attend nursing school. Some have become teachers. Some have ended up working in the orphanage they grew up in, becoming an ayi (aunty) and caring for the children.

I just read a story about an 11 year old girl who found the orphanage herself and begged to live there because her father beat her. They took her in and she says she's very happy now. She goes to school and is doing better than she did with her father by far.

I am not trying to paint a rosy pictures of life in an orphanage or life after growing up in an orphanage, but to give examples of improved situations for abandoned Chinese children and show that there is hope for them.


Karen said...

Aging out is exactly that. Aging out of adoption. I don't think they are "aged out" of the orphanage till they are over 16. Half the Sky has done an AMAZING job at preparing the children to be self sufficient.
When they are in orphanages, they are non-citizens, because they were not given a "citizens number" at birth, being abandoned. So, in the eyes of the government they do not "really" exist. If they do not really exist, they cannot have a number, and if they do not have a number, they cannot attend schools. HTS changed all that. Jenny Bowen, the found er of HTS (somehow) made them eligible to attend school with other kids. She also created a big sister/little sister program, where the big sisters help the little sisters, and almost all the orphanages now have apartment housing around them, with elderly living in the housing in exchange for helping with the babies. Our daughter's SWI was the first one to be helped by HTS, because that's the same orphanage that Jenny Bowen's daughter was housed in. The orphanage is really nice inside and out. It's more like a very nicely kept daycare center. And she had one nanny for her entire time there, 4 days old to 16 months old. It was incredible. And it's all thanks to HTS.
We started donating to HTS after returning home (before we adopted her, we really didn't know about HTS.) $600 a year pays for an entire year of care for one child which you get updates and pictures of. Or you can donate less. But 100% goes toward the child's care when it's a private donation. And of course, it's completely tax deductible.
Love without boundaries is also great, but we were PERSONALLY touched by Half the Sky, because our daughter was cared for so well. through it.
Unfortunately, we had to educate the China coordinator at the time, about HTS, she hadn't a clue that it existed.
And yes, Chris is AMAZING. His sister is a bit scattered, but HE is amazing!! He quit teaching in order to be a guide. And when we were in China, he took us on tours of our daughter's city, to view and record things that are IMPORTANT to the people of that city. He also took us on a 3 hour ride to find her "finding spot" something that I have heard is not common for guides to take the time to do. Last I heard he actually found a baby girl himself, who was abandoned (about 2 years ago) and adopted her.
I can't say enough about Chris, about how much I admire him.

Karen said...

Need to clarify:

"Unfortunately, we had to educate the China coordinator at the time, about HTS, she hadn't a clue that it existed."

I'm not talking about Chris, the China guide. I'm talking about the China coordinator for the agency. The new one might (hopefully) have information about HTS, but at the time we adopted our first daughter, we had found out a lot about HTS and had to educate her about it. It would ease a lot of minds of PAPs to be given that kind of information from the coordinator when it is known. Waiting that last 6 weeks from referral to adoption was torture, not knowing how she was being taken care of. But if I would have been given from the China coordinator of the agency, about HTS and all the work they do, and the common things such as one nanny per every 3 children, and sponsorship for the child, my mind would have been at ease. It was quite a shame that I had to suffer through that unknowingness at the time, but that is why I now do my best to find out where PAPs children are, and then look up the info on HTS. If the child is housed in a HTS orphanage, I tell the PAPs all that I know about HTS so that they can feel less uneasy about the time it takes to get their children.

Mom2Four said...

Can you provide an e-mail address for people to contact you to donate for The 24 Days of Giving? Or can you add a donate button to your blog?

K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K said...

Hi, Mom2Four,
My email address is in my profile, but I can give it to you here, too:

Merry Christmas!