Adoption in China
By Peggy Gurrad


Experiences of Families Adopting from Yingtan


From one of the earliest adopting families: We adopted Fu Tian, now known as Malia Christine, in Sept. '95 at 5 1/2 months old, 12 pounds. (newborn size clothing!)Malia was one of 4 girls adopted from Ying Tan, three "born" within 2 weeks of one another, the other, age 8 months. We didn't get to go to the orphanage as the Dying Room had just aired, Harry Wu was just getting out of jail, and Hilary Clinton left the Women's Conference the day we got there! Anyway, all four girls had been in foster care. Malia's foster mother said she had gotten her the day she was born (Malia was left with a note). There was a one week discrepancy between the orphanage birth date and what the foster mother was telling us. We didn't get that one straightened out. We tend to believe what the foster mom said, but with only a one week difference, we just use the orphanage date for our birthdate. We have exchanged letters with the foster mother since being back, but we haven't heard from her the last two winters. I worry. She was really good with Malia.  Malia had no developmental delays but did have boils on her chest and under her chin and HUGE (1.5 inches) pus-filled bumps on the back of her head. Our dermatologist called it "follicullitis." Antibiotics started to clear it all up within 48 hours. 
     Malia was not from anywhere near Yingtan. She was the only one from way far out, a town called Lianhe.  Anyone know anything? Apparently it's not on the beaten path and pretty small. We were pretty sure that one of the little girls adopted was being fostered by her grandmother. The resembalence was uncanny, and the "grandmother" kept crying and crying and crying, and returned to the adoptive mom's room the next morning to say good-bye again. It broke all of our hearts. We did try to ask about it, indirectly, but of course, were told that that could never happen.
     As far as eating, we were told Malia had only been on formula, but ha!! She screamed bloody murder when the food came on the table! I should have caught that the foster mom had been feeding tiny pieces of cake off her chopsticks the night before. Malia ate her weight in tofu and noodles. She had absolutely no shut off valve when it came to food. In China and for months later at home, she had to be removed from the table at meal times because she ate herself sick.
     All is well now. We are home schooling as she was reading at the 6th grade level at age 5 and living for multiplication (easy to brag when it's not genetic!). She also models and acts. You might have seen her last spring in a Toys R Us commercial for spring products. Just now the Life cereal box with her pictures is coming out. Look for her!  It's some kind of prehistoric contest box and Malia is in the bottom right corner with a safari hat on (only Chinese child in this promotion)! She also just finished a 6-month run in a professional production of The King and I. This is so far beyond any realm we're familiar with! We've just learned to go with the flow with this child and let her lead where she's interested in going. What a ride it's been!
     Hard to believe our group is meeting in two weeks to celebrate 6 years! It's flown by. It seems only like yesterday. The memories haven't faded one bit . . . . We still choke up when thinking about the moment they placed this precious child in our arms. (LDR, a. 9/95)  

From a that family traveled in June 1997: "We didn't get any information about the orphanage from the director.  We had very little time to prepare for the arrival of our little girl. They were waiting for us in the lobby when we arrived at the Jiangxi Hotel.  As a result we were caught a bit off guard and I didn't think to ask questions about the orphanage.  It was also very difficult to ask questions through our interpreter.  The director did seemed to be a very nice lady.  We did learn that our daughter and one other little girl in our group were both in foster care that was organized through the orphanage in Yingtan. Our daughter and the other little girl in our group were both very well cared for by their foster families. (KM)

From a dad returning April 1998: Our daughter was adopted from the Yingtan orphanage near Nanchang at almost one year of age.  We met her at our hotel in Nanchang (Jiangxi Hotel) on the evening of March 31.  She had a fever, scabies, and some bad eczema patches arising from the scabies.  We treated the scabies with Elimite and the fever with Tylenol, Tylenol Cold and Motrin as we could get them from our generous traveling companions. She had apparently received mostly formula at the orphanage, but we immediately started offering table food and she refused nothing.   We fed her oatmeal, chopped noodles, rice, egg, peas, cheerios, and a variety of other Chinese dishes.  We asked the orphanage director, director of infant care, and accountant to dinner with us and had the opportunity to ask many questions about the babies' treatment and preferences.  They knew a lot about her and appeared to genuinely care about her (particularly that she was bundled warmly!). Apparently she had received foster care from August to September 1997 and had been at the orphanage since then.  The orphanage cared for about 50 infants and a few older children at any time.   The babies' primary exercise seemed to come from being placed outside in wheeled, self-propelled aluminum frames, but our daughter has developed no lower body strength at this point.  On passing her first birthday, Aislinn was only 13 lbs. and still does not crawl or turn over.  She is otherwise healthy and very happy. By her second appointment 12 days later, she had gained a half-pound.  (ES)

From another adoptive mom:  "We traveled to Nanchang in March of 1998 to adopt our daughter from Yingtan.  There were seven kids (ages about 14 months to 2 years old) from the orphanage in our group.  Most were in foster care for some period of time and all were pretty healthy.  I have additional information on the orphanage that I can share by email for those interested. The address is

Another mom:  "Our daughter was in foster care from the day she was found at the orphanage door.  A couple in their 50's with grown children took care of her and another child who was also adopted in our group.  I thought her development was very good.  This foster mother did an excellent job.  Of the eight children adopted in Nanchang on September 20, 1999, three came from Ying Tan.  First was my daughter who was fourteen months and her foster care sister who was eight months.  And a three year old was adopted by a single mother.  Each child formed a good attachment to the new parents, including the three year old.  All three were in foster care.  The three year old had an infection on her neck which needed to drain.  The local hospital and a US doctor traveling with our group took care of this.  While the girls were thin, they were in good health.  My daughter is VERY mobile and can crawl quickly across a room.  The three year old was walking and was toilet trained.  Even though the girls were in foster care, the orphanage people knew exactly who they were and voluntarily interacted with all of them at different points of the day.  Also, everything they told me about my daughter regarding her personality and likes and dislikes was very accurate."  (AA, a. 9/99)

A more recent adoption:  There were three of us (out of 11 families) in our Holt travel group that received Yingtan babies.  Two of the babies were smiling & laughing - the third was screaming & screeching her head off! One of the first pictures I received of my daughter was taken at age 7 1/2 weeks showed a tiny baby screaming, so I suspected it was her!  I was right!  She was the smallest of the three, probably weighing about 15 lbs at the time (10 1/2 months - 29 inches) and her ribs were protruding some (I initially thought she might have a broken rib).  Although I believe she received the best possible care from her foster family in Yingtan she was definitely malnourished.  Her body was also covered with either mosquito or flea bites (no it wasn't scabies). S he would not take a bottle (either American or Chinese) and I am still not sure how she was fed or if she had ever had a bottle.  She did become ill during our trip (as did I with a 24 hour stomach virus) and became dehydrated.  We made a trip to the Children's Hospital in Nanchang, and although people there were kind, I would not recommend taking your child there!  It was an eye-opening experience!  I then called our pediatrician at home (which is what I should have done in the first place) and she was a big help!  We got through it and she finally started taking 8 oz of formula at each meal about five days after we returned home.  Other than a bacterial infection, she has received a terrific medical report here at home!
     One of the orphanage staff brought my daughter to my hotel room.   She was sweet but really could not tell me anything about the baby. The next day at the adoption proceedings I was able to meet the orphanage director - she was appreciative of the pictures and letters I had brought from families that had adopted from Yingtan in the past! There was a translator for us but I found it still hard to get questions answered. I know someone had wanted to know if children's records had been destroyed along with the orphanage in the flood during Fall '98 (most of you already know that since the orphanage facility was destroyed, the babies are all placed locally in foster care) - I did not receive a clear answer.  (CH, a. 11/00)



Please e-mail me at if you have any additional information or if your child is from here and you would like to post a picture here or other contact information.