Thursday, September 15, 2011

Steve Levitt on adopting a Chinese daughter

This talk by Steve Levitt about Chinese adoption is pretty moving indeed.

As some readers know, my wife and I have a daughter from China as well. Our experience was much less emotional than Steve's.  We decided to have a child and this seemed like a nice way to do it. We chose China in large part because their adoption system is much more organized than those of other countries like Guatemala or Russia. There is a very well defined process and (essentially) a fixed posted price. The time cost is low in a relative sense; basically there is a lot of prep time, as with any source country, that is spent on various documents, then, in our case, a couple of years of waiting, then the two week trip to China. I was dreading the trip just as Steve was but it turned out to be not so bad, in large part because we took along my mother-in-law, who actually knew what to do with an eight-month-old. There is lots of down time when you are just in a hotel room with your sleeping daughter; fortunately I had brought along work to do! Exploring Nanning, the relatively poor provincial capital of Guangxi province and the city where we spent the first week, was completely fascinating, especially the Wal-Mart that was a block from our hotel. Having real Chinese food was fun too.

I also enjoyed Steve's remarks about former U of Chicago economics professor D. Gale Johnson. I read, and highly recommend, his daughter Kay Johnson's book on Chinese adoption.

I watched the whole thing (in part just because it was interesting to see Steve in such a different role).

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