By Rachel Lipscomb

I went on a trip to China for two weeks in the Fall of 2019.  I was born in China in 2006. I was abandoned in a village near the city of Nanchang where a citizen found me in a box and delivered me to the local social services agency.  I was cared for in an orphanage until my parents adopted me when I was 10 months old. I have always wanted to go back to China, and my parents thought I was mature enough to go when I turned 13 years old.  The focus of our trip was to learn about my heritage and see the sights. Before my visit, I learned that many children in China need help. In China, many children are living in orphanages because their birth families abandoned them.  Children are abandoned because many people still believe in the one child policy, even though the policy is no longer in effect. Also, children born with even the slightest birth defect or disability are considered to be imperfect, a burden and an embarrassment to the families so they too are abandoned.  I heard through an online group site that the orphanages needed socks for the children. So I led a community service project and collected socks from the Loma Vista 4-H members to help my orphanage.

My parents and I went on a 3-hour car ride to visit my orphanage. When we got there we met the Orphanage Director at the office of Civil Affairs. We looked through my Chinese file.  I liked seeing the photos of me, my finding ad and my baby footprints. The social workers were very happy that I was visiting. Many kids were adopted during China’s one-child policy. Out of the thousands of babies adopted by foreigners, very few go back to China after they grow up. After meeting the director, we went to see my orphanage site. When we got there the directors explained that they were renovating the orphanage. In 2016 the one-child policy was erased altogether. Now Chinese families can adopt babies or keep two of their own biological children. After some time, the orphanages became less crowded. Even though there are less babies being abandoned, the Chinese are leaving the elderly and special needs kids out on the streets. Thus, the orphanage had to be renovated to fit the new needs of housing abandoned special needs adults and elderly. Since my orphanage no longer houses babies and children, our guide suggested that we should bring the socks to the orphanage in the big city. 

When we got to the orphanage in the big city we were surprised. Our guide said “the children here are severely disabled”.  Yet we saw children jumping around having fun and singing with their nannies. We saw children who had their fingers fused together or missing, one who had a large birthmark on his face, a boy with albinism, and a few children with downs syndrome. All of the children seemed happy and very able to participate.  They did not appear to be “severely disabled”. Our guide said the most severely disabled were kept inside. I also think that the Chinese idea of “severely disabled” is different than our idea of “severely disabled”. 

The director of the city orphanage was very appreciative of the donations we brought.  She thanked me and gave me a jade necklace in the shape of a “helping hand” to show her appreciation.

I am happy that my 4-H Club and I were able to help the orphans.  I would like to do more for them if I get a chance. I would also like to help the abandoned elderly.  In China, political and social changes happen very slowly and only when the communist government allows the change to happen.  In the meantime, I will try to support the city orphanage and encourage other Chinese adoptees to try to support their orphanages too.



Visiting my “finding spot”.  The place where someone found me in a box when I was a newborn baby.