Adoption Document


This rare 1942 paper documents the adoption of a son whose family could not afford to raise him in war-torn and famine-stricken China. Born in 1939 in Heng-mei, China, Henry was adopted by Shiu Kang at age 3.  He immigrated to the United States with his mother Won Sing in 1951.  With his father working long hours at the Sun Lite Hand Laundry in Berwyn, Illinois, Henry took on the responsibilities of helping to care for his five brothers and sisters. He moved to California as an adult, married and had four children. Tragically, Henry died of a brain tumor in 1977 at age 38. This document was only found when his mother died in 2007. The document states that the adopting parents agree to pay 785 yuan for the cost of upbringing the child. The birth parents had to swear that this child was their own offspring since some children had been known to be kidnapped against their will. The birth parents signed the agreement with thumb prints as they were not able to write their own names.

Place(s): Heng-mei, China; Berwyn, Illinois
Year: 1951

– Soo Lon Moy and Andrea Stamm, Chinese American Museum of Chicago

Relationship:  unknown unknown