Three Months After China Earthquake, Orphans Have Yet To Be Adopted

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The New York Sun

More than three months after an earthquake killed 70,000 people in Sichuan, central China, not a single orphan has been adopted.

The process has been blighted by bureaucracy and by the unwillingness of Chinese families to take injured, disabled, or older children.

The head of the Marriage and Adoption Registry, Jiang Tao, said that the “required procedures and the final confirmation of the parents’ death has meant the adoption process lasts a few months.”

Earlier this week, the Chinese government held an adoption “open-day” to try to place some of the children with the tens of thousands of Chinese families who have registered for the opportunity to adopt.

The initial estimate of the number of orphans after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake was more than 5,000. However, by June, the authorities claimed that there were only 1,019 children who had not been reunited with their parents.

One couple in their late 30s, who flew from Changsha in Hunan to attend, complained to reporters that they could not find “a healthy child.” They added: “We spent almost 10,000 yuan on travel.”

Other parents said they were looking for children aged under three years old and good-looking and that none of the orphans met the criteria. The majority of the orphans are aged between 10 and 14.

An official at the Civil Affairs department in Sichuan said the process had also been complicated by a desire to give orphans to parents who lost their own children during the quake. “There are way too many of them [to be dealt with quickly],” he said, while declining to be named.

Meanwhile, there were also fears that the reconstruction work after the earthquake may not have included enough classrooms for children returning to school next week. The rebuilding of Sichuan will cost several billion dollars and more than a million temporary homes have been erected.

The New York Sun

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