Our goal is to empower Chinese adoptees from all over the world by providing an inclusive and supportive community for all of us who share this common beginning.
why we exist
In the early 1980s, China tightened its One Child Policy as a means of curbing the nation’s rapid population growth. Often as a result of this policy, and frequently combined with the societal preference for males over females and the economic issues China was facing, many families resorted to giving up their children to avoid economic, social, and government repercussions.
More than 175,000 Chinese children, mostly girls, have been adopted into families all over the world since China officially opened its doors to international adoption in 1992. Immediately after China opened its doors to international adoption, adoptive families began to create an extensive network of support for their community of families with children from China.
But, today, these adoptees are not children anymore - the first few waves of Chinese adoptees are now becoming young adults, entering college and the workforce. Many of us older adoptees, having long outgrown the family networking events, wish to connect with other Chinese adoptees on our own terms and at a deeper level, sharing experiences, thoughts, ideas, and stories with each other to create a greater sense of community and belonging. However, just a couple years ago, there were few to no organizations that gave us these opportunities.
China's Children International (CCI) was established in May 2011 by Chinese adoptees Charlotte Cotter and Laney Allison as an organization that aims to connect and provide support for young adult Chinese adoptees around the world. Today, CCI provides many programs and projects that allow its members to connect with others in the community, give back to Chinese orphanages, empower one another in their communities, and learn about the greater Chinese and International Adoptee community.
Why we are important
Sometimes, there isn’t a local Chinese Adoptee community to meet up with in person. Often, it can feel isolating and scary when you think no one can relate to what you are going through. While we acknowledge that one of the greatest things about the adoptee community is its diversity and that no two adoptees have the same circumstances, we believe that we do often share similar issues and topics for which exchange and dialogue may be beneficial. For that, we offer adoptees a chance to immerse themselves in the international Chinese adoptee community online; an opportunity to offer and receive support through personal connection and open discussion; a platform to exchange resources, stories, and hope. CCI also hopes to amplify Chinese adoptee voices and move the dialogue forward on the future of the Chinese adoptee community and on issues relevant to our members. It’s our lives; it’s our voice that matters.
same beginnings different paths
At CCI, we recognize that while members of CCI are connected through their common beginnings, being an adoptee is not our defining characteristic as we all continue on our different paths in life. Here we believe that each and every adoptee brings their own unique circumstances, stories, passions, perspectives, and opinions to the table. Whether you are a passionate athlete or artist, writer or musician, being an adoptee is only the beginning. Each adoptee story is unique. CCI hopes to continue connecting Chinese adoptees of all ages for years to come as we always keep in mind our “same beginnings, different paths.”
Five years ago, we came up with the name China’s Children International for this organization. When trying to think up a name, we initially wanted to highlight the fact that most all of our members share the common beginning of having been adopted as children from China and now living around the world. We want to make it known that the term “children” was placed in the organization’s name not to infantilize the community which it would be representing, but to say that many of us were children when we were adopted. In another sense, we are “children” of China in the metaphorical sense, born in China but then scattered to every corner of the globe.
CCI was created at a time when the great majority of Chinese adoptees were still children and young adults in order to provide coming of age adoptees with a community of their own where there was none before. While organizations created and run by adoptive parents are incredible support systems for young adoptees and their families, in fact serving as the inspiration of CCI, as the Chinese adoptee community continues to come of age, it is clear that it is the time for the adoptees to take the lead in establishing their organization. At CCI, we recognize that there is a growing concern in our community over including the word “children” in adoptee rhetoric, as many feel that the classification of Chinese adoptees as the “perpetual child” both undermines the power and legitimacy of our voices and our community. However, we want to make it known that we never intended to infantilize or perpetuate the child stereotype through our organizations name. In fact, we recognize that, as adoptees, many of us have had to grow up faster than our non-adopted peers, and therefore there is even more reason that we should no longer be referred to in adolescent terms.
For the present future, however, China's Children International will maintain its organizational name. To reiterate our previous statement and soothe any community concern or objection, the CCI name in no way intends infantilize our community. On the contrary, CCI believes that adoptee voices are the future of our community, and we are passionately committed to amplifying and empowering all Chinese adoptee voices. We are more than supportive of the effort by adoptees to take back control over adoption rhetoric and shape the adoption world into a better place for adoptees. We encourage our members to join us in our endeavor and respectfully engage in dialogue with others on the issue of the Chinese adoptee as the “perpetual child.” Through an open dialogue, we hope to move past the idea of Chinese adoptees as “perpetual children” in a negative way, towards the idea of a community of Chinese adoptees, many of whom were adopted as children, who hope to mutually empower and support each other no matter what stage of life we are at.
Who we are
We'd love for you to learn more about who we are and how to get involved. Click below to meet the leadership team!