15 May 2011

As part of a discussion on a yahoo group, someone noted that special needs kids in China are not treated well and are regarded as "unlucky", a somewhat ambivalent term in English, but one that suggests that these children do not "deserve" the care and regard afforded to "normal" children in China. Another poster, who appears to have some experience working in China, wrote"

All I can say is that from 30+ years of experience with China and surrounding countries I have found that the 'unlucky' label is more likely to be applied in less urban areas. Truly, I have not encountered this attitude to this kind of wide extent. Just my experience.


PS In the US, school children can be very, very cruel to other kids among them who are different in any way, be it race, a scar, a missing limb, etc. So, by no means would a child be exempt from others' negative opinions solely by leaving China and coming to the US.

A few other moms commented about the treatment that their children experienced in orphanages or foster care situations, and I wrote:

I'd like to believe that my daughter was treated no less cruelly than a bunch of mean elementary school kids might offer up. I'd like to believe that the treatment she received was not wide spread or that it stopped after my daughter came home, but the fact remains that the adults who should have been providing care neglected my child so completely that she was wounded emotionally and cognitively, possibly beyond repair. This child who is bright, artistically talented, and very loving never grieved for a moment after we met her when she was 5 and a half. As she heals from the trauma she experienced, she tells me that her caretakers told her she was ugly, stupid, did not deserve to go to school, and had bad blood. This is a child who does not lie.

My daughter comes from an orphanage different from Janis and Cathy's daughters. Three orphanages might not show that maltreatment is wide-spread, but to believe that only those children housed in very rural orphanages experience maltreatment which changes their lives is foolish. You have been very lucky indeed to experience only orphanages where children are valued.


I don't know how to say/write to prospective adopted parents that their child might have experienced profound maltreatment, and it causes me great pain to see an adoption advocate compare the depth and scope of orphanage maltreatment to the experience that a child could encounter from a bunch mean schoolchildren. Such comparisons diminishes Julia's experience and the experiences of so many other children who suffered at the hands of institutional caregivers. I believe that healing is possible, hard and long, but possible, but the hurt and damage is real and should not be ignored or made less of.

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