China sent approximately 83,000 children to the U.S. between 1992 and 2012, the vast majority of whom were girls. Chinese adoptions in the U.S. peaked in 2005, with 7,906 in one year, but adoptions from China (and many other countries) have since been on the decline (Selman, 2012). The early cohorts of Chinese adoptees (those adopted in the early and mid-1990s) are now becoming young adults, and many more will in the next several years.
The experiences of children adopted from China differ not only from Chinese-American youth being raised by parents of Chinese descent, but also from first generation immigrants to the United States who experience disruptions in language and culture compounded by economic adversity. In contrast, most children adopted from China grew up in upper middle class homes and in neighborhoods that mirrored the race and class characteristics of their adoptive parents, rather than the ethnic enclaves which are more characteristic of immigrant families. Their adoptive parents (who were mainly white and of European ancestry) tended to know little about Chinese culture. Many of them had never visited China until they went there to meet their child.