• Sat
  • Aug 30, 2014
  • Updated: 5:16am

Abandoned: Heartbreaking pictures of parents leaving their children in China’s notorious 'baby hatches'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 April, 2014, 9:24am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 5:59pm

They are truly heartbreaking scenes. The moments of despair as parents cling to their children for one last time before abandoning them in China's so-called baby hatches.

A father kisses his child, her face hidden in a blanket. A mother holds her hooded baby as their shadows are cast upon the last door they will pass through together. Another collapses to the ground, reaching out to touch her son for the last time.

They are the final moments of lives torn apart, often by poverty or an inability to cope with disease or disability.

“My baby cannot take care of itself when it grows up,” one woman cries, explaining that her infant has Down’s syndrome. ‘I just want my baby to survive,” she tells the Information Times newspaper based in Guangzhou. She and an accompanying female friend leave, both in tears.

An uncle leaves his niece. She is suffering from leukaemia and her parents cannot afford her medical bills.

Her parents, he says, are waiting in a car nearby, unable to face saying goodbye to their own daughter. As he walks away the girl starts to cry.

And still they come.

A father and son hide behind surgical masks, with caps pulled down over their faces. They have travelled for more than an hour to the Guangzhou facility.

“It would be better for the baby if he stays in your centre,” the elder man tells security. “We cannot afford to raise him.” They leave a note and several hundred yuan before disappearing into the night.

There are about 25 such hatch facilities in mainland China, spanning 10 provinces and major cities.

Pioneered in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province more than two years ago, they have drawn heated debate, especially since the Ministry of Civil Affairs decided to expand the project nationwide before the end of 2015.

A parent typically opens a door and places their infant in a small room, rings a bell and leaves. Minutes later welfare services collect the child and begin the task of finding it a new home, most likely in an orphanage.

The hatches are supposed to provide a safety net to ensure parents do not simply leave their unwanted offspring on the streets or dump them at hospitals, although critics argue they encourage drastic action.

In Guangzhou a baby hatch opened on January 28. It was forced to shut its doors after less than two months as staff were overwhelmed with 262 abandoned youngsters.

All were ill or disabled. Almost half had cerebral palsy, 15 per cent Down’s syndrome and 12 per cent were suffering congenital heart disease. Almost one in 10 died.

After the doors closed Xu Jiu, director of the city’s welfare centre for children that runs the facility, was forced to warn parents that anyone abandoning their children while the centre was shut would be reported to police and face prosecution.

At the centre a man dressed in black carries his four-year-old to the door. He is stopped by security guards who tell him the child is too old for the facility.

“But no one will take my child. The doctor said [s/he] could never be cured.”

He sits outside for 10 minutes. Then they leave together.



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This article is now closed to comments

Certainly there are people out here who want to save those children that not wanted.....and come later to look for them when they grow up....dliufalani@gmail.com
Honestly, families has been abandoning/killing their unwanted child for years.. it's naive to think closing the center stops parents abandoning their children. Just imagine the families not being able to afford food/living, I'm sure they've been 'taking care of it' on their own by ending them. Having these centers at least gives these children a chance..
Yes indeed "bogalas", I can easily comment and even make judgemental comments on these irresponsible low life parents. The reason why I can sit in my comfy home right now is because I chose to live a single life and also choose NOT to have ANY children until I can actually afford them a relatively good lifestyle. People are all accustomed to knowing that they can't buy a certain house, lifestyle or luxury good without money, but for some reason the same assumptions aren't being applied before they have children, whom are more important than any "things" life has to offer. This old outdated and antiquated tradition of Chinese parents must have children is hyper irresponsible amongst the poor who often have more children than even the wealthy middle class.
This is from the article..."All were ill or disabled. Almost half had cerebral palsy, 15 per cent Down’s syndrome and 12 per cent were suffering congenital heart disease. Almost one in 10 died."
So tell me Jason, how much money would a person like you have to save in order to plan to have a child with disabilities as what was stated? They want their children to be healed and to live, many will never be, this is their last resort.
To think that as a parent you have done everything can, and yet all effort was wasted, then having to come the decision that someone else can take care of my child better then me, then to give up that child for the best interest of that child, most responsible and selfless act a parent can do.
I wouldn't tell you not to be judgemental, but maybe a bit of empathy is good once in a while.
People sitting in their comfy homes, and offices in front of their massive desktop screens or reading this news in their smartphone that costs much more than an entire household's annual salary in a developing country can easily comment and condemn this and then forget it . But these parent's are not leaving their kids happily are they? They are forced to do this. At least these shelters are better than leaving the kids in the roadside isn't it? Before being quick to comment just know that even in your community poverty is present. Do something about it before condemning hapless humans.
Yes, do something! But why can the Chinese government not help these families directly? If the government is taking (good) care of these kids after they are brought to this "hatch", they could also offer the same care and help to these families directly, so that the kids can stay at home. This is so pervers, China is now one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world, but they cannot divert direct help to their poorest. Given the fact that China sits on the largest curreny reserves and has all abilities of the so called developed, this is just pathetic.
Skywalker, love your handle by the way, and also respect your empathy for these kids.
There is actually 2 China's all rolled up into one. The hyper affluent side in the city, and the third world impoverished side in the rural areas. From whatever official reports there are, China has only recently begun improving living standards in the rural areas.
I don't think they are passing by any measure, but the hatches at least keeps the children safe. I've heard of cases in the past where these kids would be taken by street gangs to become beggars to earn money.
It's a long road for them, they don't have the necessary human/social infrastructure in place to properly handle children with more extreme medical issues. It will take them decades to becoming acceptable. Sometimes it's not just about how much money you have.
This is the true face of humanity. The sex act and in many cases the inability to understand and face or to deal with the consequences. These circumstances are present all over this planet. It is sad and very tough to deal with.
This is what happens when a society is forbidden to worship God and must obey the state as its god. The Chinese are very much like the old Soviets. Amoral, godless, almost inhuman. This story is frightening.
I would also have to say that this is a hasty judgement, Clarice. You haven't really seen how the system works. Poor, abandoned children do get taken care of and adopted. These parents are so poor, that the best thing they can hope for is that their child is adopted by someone who will pay for a better education and 'extra' operations or procedures (which the gov't will not justify on the taxpayer dime). This is no more barbaric than what Obamma-care has planned for anyone nearing early retirement age in the US.




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