Controversies about Adoptions of Chinese Babies By Non-Chinese American Families

In the United States, many Chinese children are adopted by non-Chinese Americans. According to the New York State Department, 64,043 Chinese children were adopted in the United States between 1999 and 2010, far more than from any other country (Leland). This is due in part to child abduction and trafficking which has become a huge issue for other international adoption programs.

In China, the One Child Policy was enacted to help reduce the population. This policy only allowed couples to have one child and in their culture, and having a male was preferred so they could inherit the family name, property, and were responsible for caring for their parents when they are older. Since couples were restricted to one child, having a daughter was undesirable, causing the number of female Chinese children to be abandoned or put into orphanages to rise. The policy was later modified to where exceptions were made to minority people or for those whose firstborn was disabled; those measures included allowing rural families in some areas to have two or even three children and permitting parents whose firstborn was a girl or who both were only children to have a second child and if they ended up having two daughters, the firstborn was kept while the other was abandoned.

Due to this policy, children who were abandoned were often taken and placed in or sold to international adoption programs. Some families however dealt with their babies being taken away by coercion, fraud or kidnapping. Sometimes they were even taken by government officials who covered their tracks by pretending that the babies had been abandoned. Babies were being seized from their parents and sold them into a lucrative black market in children (Leland, LA Times). Chinese children are still being taken from their parents and sold for trafficking and international adoption programs, which is why there are so many Chinese children, majority little girls, being adopted in the United States.

Note from Caroline: This is an important twist on what most American adoptive parents understood about adopting from China in the 1990s and early 2000s (which, as you see if you look through the LA Times or New York Times articles, was that adoptions placed children who could not be raised by Chinese parents who were poor or had given up their kids). 



Andrew, Anita M. “China’s Abandoned Children and Transnational Adoption: Issues and Problems for U.S.-China Relations, Adoption Agencies, and Adoptive Parents.” Journal of Women’s History, Johns Hopkins University Press, 21 Mar. 2007,

Custer, Charlie. “Kidnapped and Sold: Inside the Dark World of Child Trafficking in China.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 14 Apr. 2018,

Leland, John. “For Adoptive Parents, Questions Without Answers.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2011,

Pletcher, Kenneth. “One-Child Policy.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 13 Feb. 2020,

“Stolen Chinese Babies Supply Adoption Demand.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sept. 2009,


Synesthesia: An Introduction

“Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (for example, hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway (such as vision)” (“Synesthesia”, n.d.). In other words, synesthesia is experiencing a sense normally, in addition to experiencing it with another sense. Most people who have synesthesia are either born with it or develop it early in life. However, there is research that shows it is possible to develop synesthesia later in life (Watson, n.d.).

The following are examples of how synesthetes experience the world collected by Siri Carpenter:

Guitar music doesn’t just tickle Carol Crane’s fancy–it also brushes softly against her ankles. When she hears violins, she also feels them on her face. Trumpets make themselves known on the back of her neck. In addition to feeling the sounds of musical instruments on her body, Crane sees letters and numbers in brilliant hues. And for her, units of time each have their own shape: She sees the months of the year as the cars on a ferris wheel, with July at the top, December at the bottom.

Sean Day, PhD, tastes in technicolor. “The taste of beef, such as a steak, produces a rich blue,” says Day, a linguistics professor at National Central University in Taiwan. “Mango sherbet appears as a wall of lime green with thin wavy strips of cherry red. Steamed gingered squid produces a large glob of bright orange foam, about four feet away, directly in front of me.”

There are some famous people who have synesthesia or had it while they were alive. Here are a few you might recognize: Mary J Blige, Duke Ellington, Billy Joel, Marilyn Monroe, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Charli XCX, Vincent Van Gogh, Eddie Van Halen, and Stevie Wonder (“Famous People With Synesthesia That Everyone Should Know”, 2015) I find it very interesting that all of these people are artists.


Works Cited

Carpenter, S. (2001, March). Everyday fantasia: The world of synesthesia. Retrieved from

Famous People With Synesthesia That Everyone Should Know. (2015, January 6). Retrieved from

Synesthesia. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2020, from

Watson, K. (n.d.). What Is Synesthesia? Retrieved from

Vietnamese Introduction into the Nail Industry

In 1995, actress Tippi Hedren, also known as the Godmother of the nail industry, ran a program to help settle 20 Vietnamese refugee women in the United States. At the time, Hedren visited a refugee camp in Northern California, Hope Village, and empathized with the difficulties the women had faced in light of the Vietnam war. Most of the women refugees were the spouses of high ranking military officers who lost everything in the war–their houses, their families, and their livelihoods.

Hedren wanted to teach the women trade skills that they could use to support themselves in light of their new lives. Wanting to introduce skills that could easily be learnable due to the language barrier, Hedren brought in seamstresses and typists to teach the women acquirable skills. But instead, her nails caught their attention. After taking notice of this, Tippi Hedren had her personal manicurist visit the refugee establishment to teach the women how to manicure nails the ‘Beverley Hills’ way. This sparked the Vietnamese (and eventually other Asian immigrants’) interest in the nail industry.

The women went on to teach others the art of mastering the perfect manicure. Aside from their initial interest in Tippi Hedren’s nails, the women learned that they could get by working as manicurists with only a few basic English words under their belt, which increased their attraction to the profession.

Vietnamese involvement and interest in the nail salon business radicalized the industry. What were once $50 manicures and pedicures found back in the 1970’s are now being offered for $20. 40 years after Vietnamese induction into the business, over half of the nail salons (51% as of 2015) and 80% of the nail salons in California are found to be Vietnamese owned. Originally intended to introduce trade skills to refugee women, Tippi Hedren transformed the nail salon business into a primarily Vietnamese run 8 billion dollar industry.


Works Cited:

Center for Asian American Media. “Nailed It.” WORLD Channel, WGBH Educational Foundation ,

Garcia-Navarro, Lulu. “How Vietnamese Americans Took Over The Nails Business: A Documentary.” NPR, NPR, 19 May 2019,

Morris, Regan. “How Tippi Hedren Made Vietnamese Refugees into Nail Salon Magnates.” BBC News, BBC, 3 May 2015,

To, My Ngoc. “The Hidden Lives of Nail Artists.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 June 2017,

The Melting Pot: New York City

New York City is commonly referred to as the “Melting Pot” of America because of it’s massive diversity. There are over 8 million people living in the city currently and there are over 800 languages spoken within the city. The term melting pot originated in 1908 by Isreal Zangwill. At first, it was used as a metaphor to define the union of several cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. The opportunities in New York have previously attracted and still do bring massive amounts of immigrants to the United States. Within New York City there are several small cultural communities such as China town and Little Italy in which ethnic groups have gathered to share their traditions.

Immigration to New York was at an all-time high in 1910 when 41% of New Yorkers were immigrants. Several ethnic groups from eastern and southern Europe were migrating to the United States for the promise of “new opportunities” and freedoms. Currently, over 5 million people, sixty percent of the population, are immigrants or children of immigrants. In 2000, the top three ethnic groups within the city were Jamaicans, Chinese, and Dominicans. The mixture of ethnicities allowed for several new trade skills to be introduced to the city. Religion across the city is so diverse that many traditional holidays from Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other religions are traditionally respected in places of employment and across the city.

Food typically brings people from all backgrounds together. New York has a vast variety of restaurants and food because there are so many people from different cultures residing within the city. In “Little Italy”, the area is dedicated to traditional Italian lifestyle and dishes. The same goes for China Town, the people share their culture and traditions in a small part of New York. Today, the city embraces its cultural diversity and deems itself as the melting pot of America. The history even dedicates a week to immigrants called Immigrant History Week where the slogan last year was “New York loves Immigrants”.

New York: A Unique Immigrant City. (n.d.). In Footnotes . Retrieved February 23, 2020, from

New York City Melting Pot . (n.d.). In American Egg Board. Retrieved February 23, 2020, from

Singh, P. (2015, February 5). A Melting Pot of Immigrants . In The Peopling of New York City 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2020, from