Behind the Name

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. From another perspective, 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 do not support the infantilization or perpetuation of the child stereotype. 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. CCI believes that adoptee voices are the future of our community, and we are passionately committed to amplifying and empowering all Chinese adoptee voices.

For the present future, 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. And yet we are most conscious that no matter our intent, the words we choose matter. 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.