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Back to China

By  Werner Bosman | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2012-10-08 17:05

China Daily website is inviting foreigner readers to share your China Story! and here are some points that we hope will help contributors.

In May this year we went back to China with two families from Holland. The main reason was to visit the hometowns of our adopted daughters from China, but we also brought visits to Beijing and Shanghai.

During our trip we went to Hengfeng, the former Cenyang, where both daughters were born in 2001. One family with a daughter named Cen Lang and the other family with a daughter named Cen Ni. In our thoughts Hengfeng should be a small village. This thought was totally wrong. In Holland the biggest city is Amsterdam, with approximately 850,000 citizens. Hengfeng has more than one million citizens and we learned that this is a little village in the China.

For both families it felt great to be in Hengfeng, because this is the birth town of our beautiful daughters. Now we had the chance to see it, feel it and smell it. The visit to the orphanage was very warm, but for all of us also an emotional moment. We have the privilege to have beautiful daughters, but we also understand why this is possible. The one-child policy is a difficult system for us to understand and we hope and trust that we can give our girls a loving and happy future. Because we understand and respect, we went back to China to give our girls the opportunity to have a look in “their“ China. We are convinced that this is important to them and are very willing to fulfill these needs. Of course we want them to know the Chinese culture too.

In Nanchang we had the chance to visit a primary school. This was very interesting, but the Chinese school system is very different than ours. In China the children are making very long hours at school, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and then doing a lot of work at home in the evening. Also on the weekend there is a lot of attention for learning. In Holland the children are making less hours at school and they have a lot of free time. In this time they can play with friends, make music, go to sports or do nothing for a while. The school system in Holland is teaching the children how to find needed information and master basic subjects like writing and math. It seems to us that the Chinese school system is aiming at learning a lot and everything needs to be remembered in the head. Our children go to school by bicycle on their own, and the Chinese children are walking to school, accompanied by a parent or grandparent. It feels safer for us.

A couple guided and helped us. They have a lovely little daughter of 4 years old. Because they were very nice and warm, there was a very good bond between us all. We had the honor to visit their home. This was very special for us. We had the chance to take a small look in their real life and received a very warm welcome. But they told us that our daughters seem to be so happy, happier than their own daughter. Is it true?

The children in Holland seem to have more possibilities, and they can make their own choices even when they are young. (Our daughters are 8 and 10 years old) But can you compare the Chinese children with the children in the West? Is it possible to do that?

A lot has happened outside the houses. In Holland our house is an important base, an important subject in our life. It is also a private area where we feel safe and happy. We learned that the Chinese people do not have a lot of privacy and are very curious. We are not used to that. We do not interfere with other people this much.

So we saw a lot of difference between Eastern China and the Western Holland. China is a beautiful country, but it seems to be a little out of balance. The influence of capitalism, Internet, the iPhone and other Western influence are making little chances to the people. We are not in the position to judge in a positive or negative way. A country’s culture is important, so change is not always good. For us that is an unanswered question. But we are very proud and happy with our daughters and we are glad we had the possibility to bring this important visit to their birth country. We also made a visit to the birth places of our younger daughters in another area of China. This was also an impressive and emotional visit too.

In the airplane back to Holland the girls made a promise to each other: when we are 20 years old we will bring together another visit to China!

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