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Filling the Empty Nest
It probably never occurred to parents in China that they would have to face the challenges of an empty nest. After all, tradition holds that dutiful Chinese sons and daughters stick around and care for their aging parents.
Yet that tradition has been tested, according to Newsweek. The first generation to come of age under the country’s “one-child” policy is leaving home and in many cases, leaving the country to search for jobs and lives outside the constraints of the former way of life. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 42% of Chinese families in consisted of an old couple living alone in 2005. This has led to the practice of “adult adoption.”
Empty nesters are befriending adult women—most of whom have families of their own—to come over for cooking, cleaning and companionship, trying to fill the void left behind by their own child’s absence. While these “adopted” daughters (the trend seems to favor women because they are considered more thoughtful) don’t replace a biological child, is certainly a creative way to bridge the gap between a fading expectation of children caring for elders and the new reality of the urban family. [Newsweek]