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Online adoption a bitter-sweet dream for infertile couples

2013-12-05 16:01 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Mrs. Li and her husband have been longing for adopting a baby and they have tried via an online adoption platform for over a year. But their hopes were shattered.

Mrs Li said she had seen a posting that read "Paid adoption: I'm a young woman, nine months pregnant, who can come to the adoptive family for delivery. Nutrition fee negotiable" on online adoption website tz667.com.

She immediately called the expectant mother. But the couple later had to quit due to an unreasonably high "nutrition fee."

"The prospective birth parents provided a long list of charges that added up to 80,000 yuan (13,045 U.S. dollars)," Mrs. Li said.

The couple's experience is not a single case that exposes high fees regarding online adoption.

A father from Jiangsu Province put his three-year-old son on the "to-be-adopted list" online, saying he was divorced and could not raise the child on his own and demanding for 100,000 yuan.

The skyrocketing adoption fees have prompted adoptive parents to think "Aren't they (the parents) selling their children?" While experts are more worried about the link between booming online adoption services and rampant child trafficking.

Under China's adoption law, biological parents can only place their child for adoption when they are "in extreme difficulties and thus cannot raise the child." A 2010 regulation issued by the Supreme People's Court and other government departments made it clear that those who "sell their biological children for the purpose of illegal profits shall be punished for child trafficking."

For eager and desperate infertile couples, the risk of adopting a trafficked baby is another hidden risk they have to deal with in addition to high nutrition fees.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, a total of 11,000 child trafficking gangs have been busted and 54,000 children rescued between April 2009 and the end of 2012 as part of a special anti-trafficking campaign.

Even if the source of the baby is secured, adoptive parents need to overcome other difficulties before they can raise the child legally.

Adoptive parents must obtain a birth certificate for the baby. Without the document, the baby cannot obtain a hukou, or household registration, which determines whether the child can attend local public schools.

A forged birth certificate is priced at about 5,000 yuan online. An agent told Xinhua that it is not that difficult for those with connections to hospitals to produce birth certificates.

"Actually we are reluctant to adopt in this way. Aside from the huge amount of money, the legal risks are also very high," said Mrs. Li. "I'm afraid I may lose both the baby and money in the end."

Mrs. Li and her husband have waited for years to adopt a child left orphaned in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Wenchuan County of southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008.

"The local civil affairs department said the earthquake left 630 orphans, but we waited for five years in vain," said Mr. Li. He said he is confident that he can offer an orphan a life better than the average child in China. Both Li and his wife are while collar workers with decent pay.But he has grown impatient in the endless waiting.

Statistics released by the China Population Association at the end of last year show that 12.5 percent of people of childbearing age, or 40 million people, suffer from infertility. Among them, many live in despair.

"I went to the children's welfare institute many times, but came back disappointed every time," said a woman living in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou who refused to be named.

She said she was not courageous enough to adopt an unhealthy child.

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