Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Follow stories of the American mother who inspired China - six Chinese disabled and abandoned children.
When my last article about Lisa's original, "My child deserves the whole world - an American mother's struggle for the fate of her Chinese child," was published, the response was intense. The waves beat on the hearts of thousands on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
Shocked and deeply moved have become the general feedback from readers, and many people have questioned the fact that the cost of adopting a Chinese disabled and abandoned child should be no less than 33,000 US dollars. In addition to these two points, the article also triggered thinking about a series of related issues for this American mother and these Chinese children. Why is Lisa doing this? Why not adopt children from other countries but all Chinese children? And why are adopted children increasingly disabled? In addition to daily expenses, such a large family also has unlimited medical care. Can it be supported by her husband's income alone? Does the U.S. government provide living allowances for such families?
1. Why is this American mother doing this?
Lisa's adoption of these children was clearly explained in my last article. I feel like those facts have answered the question, Lisa, an American mom, is out of love and she wants to defend the right of everyone, especially the weak, to live in this world. Still, some readers questioned her motives. And someone "presciently" said, "Some Americans are adopting for financial reasons, so that they can get government subsidies themselves.
This kind of remark makes me angry, I want to ask the person who thinks like this, give you a million, will you take care of a permanently disabled child for life. Can an adopter take care of these children as meticulously as Lisa does only for money? Shouldn't the government give some money to a person who gives great love all his life?
But then, one of my alumni asked me after reading this article - "Did you know that the U.S. government has a monthly subsidy for families that adopt children? My children have already checked it online."
This is stunned me! I really don't know this. So I figured that anyway, in order to be responsible for what I wrote, I had to figure this out.
That's how I started my research on this American policy. After the first round of research, the conclusion really surprised me - the US government really pays monthly subsidies to adoptive families! This funding comes mainly from the state level, and almost every state has such a policy, from California, where I live, to Kentucky, where Lisa lives. And the children with more special needs are adopted, the monthly benefit is being higher. Taking Kentucky as an example, adopting a child with special needs who needs daily care can get up to $1,369 a month from the government.
The number shocked me，a child with special needs can receive sixteen thousand dollars every year until the child be a adult. The six child can receive almost a hundred thousand dollars every year.
Lisa has adopted up to the maximum allowed by U.S. law - six children. Could it be that her family also has financial considerations? - I must figure this out!
While I was pushing this research further, I had the opportunity to get in touch with a veteran in the American adoption field—Wen Zhang, co-founder of International Children's Hope in the United States. She told me the truth here with 30 years of work experience.
The U.S. government, especially the state government, does provide monthly living allowances for adoptive families. But that's limited to adopting American children. Because the money comes with the adopted child. That is to say, when a child is sent to an adoption agency in the United States (whether it is because the unmarried pre-pregnant parents are too young to raise the child, or the biological parent has died or cannot raise the child due to an infectious disease, a crime, etc.), the US government will There is a fund for the upbringing of this child. And when a certain family adopts the child home, the money paid by the American taxpayer will be distributed to the adoptive family.
Adopting an American child in the United States is fundamentally different from adopting a foreign child. That is, when the adoptive parents adopt American children, the US government will provide financial support every month, and when American adoptive parents adopt foreign children, the adoptive parents have to rely entirely on their own efforts!
Not only that, Americans do not need to pay a one-time adoption fee for adopting American children. For American parents who adopt Chinese abandoned children, they must pay a one-time adoption fee of not less than 33,000 US dollars to relevant parties in China and the United States!
Even with such a heavy and unusual financial burden, tens of thousands of American families have chosen to adopt Chinese abandoned children! - They are just for the love in their hearts! This can't help but remind me of another pair of American adoptive parents who I invited to the China-US Business Summit more than two years ago. The poor couple are from Washington State. They had three healthy children of their own. But when this mother heard that there were many abandoned children in Chinese welfare institutions, she thought, "I think we can give such children a home." Then she and her husband adopted two Chinese abandoned children with AIDS bacteria in their blood, a boy and a girl.
The reason why I learned that his family was not wealthy had to start from last Christmas. Before the holidays, I contacted this mom named Erin Bush, told her I wanted to give her own child a Christmas present, and asked her what the child wanted. She replied if you could send an electric skateboard, because it's a sports toy the kid has been thinking about for a long time but his parents couldn't buy him.
I immediately looked online and saw the electric skateboard she was talking about for $119. This made my heart aches. This family can afford to spend 60,000 to 70,000 dollars and go thousands miles away to adopt two children with HIV into their homes, but they are reluctant to spend about 100 dollars to buy this sports toy for my child on the biggest festival of the year.
Although U.S. families who choose international adoption always take additional financial burdens, there are many differences in the adopting children from different countries. Because children in many countries are adopted because of wars or natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, etc.) in their countries, they have lost their families and been displaced, but most of these children themselves are not with special needs.
In contrast, abandoned children in China are quite different - the majority of them (80% according to the statistics of the US government's relevant adoption management agency) are abandoned by their biological parents because of congenital disabilities or diseases.
That is to say, American families adopting international children not only receive no daily government subsidy, but also have to pay a high adoption fee. In addition, adoptive parents often have to pay a series of additional (in some cases even is endless) the cost of treatment and parenting.
In general, The American adoptive families that adopted Chinese children with special needs pick the hardest way of adoption.
Statistics show that from 1992 to 2019, a total of about 110,000 Chinese abandoned children were adopted by American families. And 80% of them are congenital diseases and disabilities, total of 90,000 people. Thinking of this, I can't help but salute these tens of thousands of American families from the bottom of my heart!
Therefore, when such a family that has devoted their life to the Chinese children is in financial difficulty, who will we Chinese help if we don't lend our hands to help? This is the value of the existence of my A Perfect Love Foundation.
After researching U.S. adoption policy, I checked with Lisa directly to make sure it was accurate. Sure enough, over the years, her family has not received any funding from the U.S. government, and all they have gotten is more personal income tax deductions for having more children.
Everything is clear. These American mothers are burdened with extra financial burdens. They have brought unfamiliar disabled children into their own homes from thousands of miles away. They have no financial benefits, but only the great love in their hearts!
Lisa said in an interview with our documentary host that they adopted their first Chinese abandoned child, Mia, by accident. Because in the remote town where they lived, they saw her husband Keenin's colleagues adopt a Chinese abandoned child. But then she adopted one by one inexorably, and adopted children with increasing levels of disability, simply because she believed she could “give a good life to the children who will never have a home and have a hard life.” (I want to take a child that have hard life, to make it good.)
Unlike those orphans who lost their families to wars and natural disasters in other countries, those children at least have healthy bodies. But these Chinese abandoned children are completely different. They were abandoned by their parents after birth, and at the same time they were disabled or sick. They are undoubtedly the most vulnerable and helpless group in the world, and Lisa believes that she can make these children's lives better by herself!
2. Behind the smiles of the children
In fact, we can find answers in many places as to why such American mothers have such motives for such adoptions.
I remember two years ago when I invited Lisa and her family to fly over to attend the China-US Business Summit. I spent a few unforgettable days and nights with them in Los Angeles. There's one thing I can't forget - the smiles on these children's faces forever.
We all know that for a disabled child, it is not only food and clothing that can make him have such a sunny mental state. Behind those smiling faces, how many adoptive parents care for them both physically and mentally!
Two months ago our foundation decided to invest in a documentary about Lisa's family story. The first field shooting was also completed in July. It was during this on-site interview that we learned many details of the family's daily life. One of the things that exemplifies this well—
It was one day Lisa found her daughter Mia, who had just come home from school, looking glum. Feeling that something must have happened, Lisa made an effort to ask the child. Finally, Mia finally spoke-
An incident happened at school today. The male classmate next door invited other classmates to play at his house, but he clearly said to Mia, "I won't invite you to play at my house. You are an abandoned person."
Lisa was furious after hearing this, she took Mia's hand and went to that person's house. Lisa said angrily to the boy, "How can you talk like that! Are you rude? She's had enough of this!"
However, the family refused to apologize.
Back home, Lisa has been with the traumatized Mia. Lisa then said to Mia, "It's okay. We wouldn't invite someone like this to our house to play."
In the evening, Lisa said these words with Mia who couldn't sleep—
"You know? You are not born from my body, but you are born from my heart!
It was this sentence that made Mia feel that this non-living mother was extraordinarily close. That's what anyone who adopts a child for money can't say!
——Out of this house, the children will inevitably face all kinds of comments and expressions in the society, but in this home, there is such a mother who cares for them physically and mentally day and night.
It is this kind of meticulous care that guards these young minds who are growing up in foreign countries. It is this kind of care that allows us to see the smiles on the faces of the children in this family anytime, anywhere.
3. Cross-generation inheritance, life-long protection
After the filming of the documentary titled "Perfect Love", our contacts and interviews with Lisa's family continued to deepen, and we continued to discover new shocks in the process.
We're used to seeing this photo of family members huddled together with smiles on their faces, but when the video recording started we saw—
It turns out that Jasmine's body can never stand upright, which makes her rely on a walker for every step she walks;
It turned out that Avril, who had cerebral palsy, couldn't utter a complete sentence, but she knew that every time she helped her sister Jasmine up and down the stairs;
The appearance of our film crew also brought a quiet change to the family——
Knowing that we were filming, Jasmine would quietly dress up herself more carefully every morning. ——She has been in this world for 18 years, but I am afraid she has never been noticed by the outside world.
On this day, the host Holland Li and Lisa talked about one of the most sensitive topics - life and death.
The host asked: "Under normal circumstances, you will leave this world before these children. Have you and Keening ever thought about what will happen to these children in a hundred years from you? Especially, Avril, among the 6 adopted children, will definitely not be able to. How do you think about supporting yourself and living on your own?"
Lisa replied, "Thinking about it. We'll give the house to Madison (their biological daughter), and she already knows she's going to take care of her sister and let her live in this house forever. Until she leaves this world. ."
--Wow! Turns out they had an arrangement! Lisa and his wife have already thought about what will happen to these children who cannot support themselves in a hundred years time!
They want their own daughters to go ahead. Pass on this love for Chinese adopted children from generation to generation!
Defending the rights of these Chinese children's lives has become the life of Lisa and his wife! And that's not enough, under their education, this has become their daughter's life! These disabled children who were abandoned by their parents on the other side of the ocean have gained such a new life on this side of the ocean!
Each of us has a family heritage. When the people's life gradually became richer, most people thought about how to leave more money for their children, so that their children would suffer less in the future. Lisa and his wife are very different. What they left to their own daughter was a younger sister who had been taken care of for life from thousands of miles away. What they pass on to their children is a never-tiring love.
Lisa's remarks also made me reconsider what this house means to her family now. This house that they are now fully renovating, allowing every child to have their own bedroom and allowing wheelchairs to pass through the house is not only their wish to be fulfilled now, but also their eternal sustenance!
I believe that from the day their family moved into this house, this house will be filled with joyful and happy memories. She will record a vivid history - how a group of special Chinese lived in this authentic American family.
I have a dream - one day the loan for this house will be paid off by donations from our Chinese people. That way, when the Lisa and his wife leave this world, they will have great peace of mind—because this house will be the permanent home of the children they have raised. Children can live here forever without being disturbed and harmed by the outside world.
Lisa's house is being renovated intensely. As the construction progressed, unfortunate events that were not expected when the budget were made also occurred one after another.
After a heavy rain, they found that the foundation of the house began to accumulate water and could not drain automatically;
Opened the wooden wall and found that there were already termites. (This is the scariest problem with wooden houses)The dilapidated house, built in 1976, has been through ups and downs for 45 years. But she now carries the dreams of Lisa's family.
Lisa's husband now works the night shift every day, from 5:00 pm to 2:00 am. It has been more than two months. In order to save the cost of decoration, he brings his children here every morning to work by himself.
——Day and night, he is trying his best to realize this dream of the whole family.
I don't know the day when Lisa's family of nine will be able to live here and become the new owners of this house.