Adopted from China: Finding identity through heritage

Story highlights

  • Thousands of girls are adopted out of China each year, ending up in homes around the world
  • Many of them find identity and purpose in returning to China to visit their roots
  • Adoptive parents often choose to travel back to China frequently with their adopted children
  • Many adoptive parents feel it a duty to teach their children about where they came from
When Maia Stack returned to the pagoda, or tower, where she had been abandoned as a baby she was overwhelmed by what had happened there 11 years earlier.
"I remember thinking, 'Wow, I wonder if my birth family hid behind those bushes or something'" said Stack, now 18 years old, on returning to Hangzhou, China.
"I felt very disengaged throughout the entire process. I kind of removed myself from the situation because it was too emotionally challenging."
Stack is one of tens of thousands of children -- 95% percent of whom are girls -- who have been adopted from China since its government ratified international adoption in 1992.
In 1979, Chinese officials introduced the one-child policy requiring that couples have only one child to slow the country's massive population growth.