Youqine Lefèvre, The Land of Promises
In 1994, six Belgian families went to China to adopt a Chinese girl. These girls were aged between six months and three years old. They were all adopted at the same time and at the same orphanage. I am one of them.
The Land of Promises is about the birth control policy in China, especially the one-child policy (1979-2015) and its many consequences that still have repercussions today and will continue to exist in the future. At the same time, it is a personal project; it tells the stories of those parents who went almost to the other end of the world to adopt a child, of the five other girls adopted at the same time as me and of my experience in particular. I have no recollection of what preceded my adoption, nor of the meeting between the parents and the children at the orphanage. My ‘memory’ of this event has been mediated through the stories that my father and the other parents told me, the photographs and videos they made and the official documents. Through these archives dating from 1994, pictures taken by myself during my two trips in China in 2017 and 2019, text and research, this work is about the discovery of my country of origin and an attempt to understand what led to the abandonment and the international and transracial adoption of hundreds of thousands of Chinese girls.