There is a great need in the adoption community for an unbiased, "Amazon"-style of reviewing searchers that can be hired to search for birth parents in China. This page will devoted to presenting reviews from adoptive families that have actually used searchers like Xixi, Tiffany, Bruce, and others. It is hoped that families will share their experiences (the survey is anonymous) to help others make wise choices. To participate in the survey, please visit:
Searcher Satisfaction Survey
To read a more in-depth summary of the results, visit our blog here:
We Know Who the In-Country Searchers Are, But Are They Any Good?
Comments with overall star rating (1 - 5):
**** Easy to contact, kept me informed of process/progress. She was able to locate foster family, which was valuable. Searched 4 years ago, and feel that she used available tools at that time.
****Answer questions in a straightforward way about why she chose not to do certain things.
***** She did as she said she would and gave proof, provided in China connections who responded to the search, she gave suggestions on how/why to stay in contact with these new connections.
**** quick response and pictures of finding for yunnan daughter. would have like more info for Chongqing daughter.
***** Super customer service. Good service, Worked a miracle :)
***Friendly and prompt at getting back to you. Good written description of what they did. Check local hospital records, check local police department, check orphanage file. I thought the search was superficial. Pass out posters. Ask a few people questions and take photos. For 2 children, I paid $1,250.
**** excellent communicator with me. sensible advice. Did not find anything definitive, but spoke with people I could not have reached (spoke with police, called people in the area with the name cited on police report as finder). No good result from that, but I expected little.
* listen to us, read our emails, understand the service we wanted to buy. Applied a "one-size-fits-all" approach, rather than listening to us and hearing what we wanted. We didn't need photos and souvenirs (we'd already been there) and didn't want to pay for that. We were fairly sure the orphanage was involved in our daughter's "abandonment" and didn't want them alerted to our search, but she went straight to the orphanage director. We wanted her to discreetly interview other people, but all she did was put up posters (which we told her up front was not a priority for us, given the fact that we didn't think our daughter was truly abandoned).
**The communucation when she was mainland. If the Finder luce closer why not visit no matter had 18 years old. Answer was she is not FBI.
***** Xixi has family in the area so had some connections to reporters, etc. She is good with follow up afterwards, even months or years.
**** Xixi is honest, responds to emails quickly and simply communicates well. Establishing a relationship with a hospital employee would be helpful as that is my daughter's finding location.
**** She began search when she said she would. During the search, she sent regular updates/photos. More actively searched for birth families in the Liuzhou area.
**** Pleasant, easy going. Xixi did not enlighten me about any aspect of the process, the significance of any result, nor how to continue the search other than with a visit. If not for other FB friends I'd have no idea why it is important to communicate with the contacts she gave me. She did not explain that my daughter could possibly have been born in the local hospital closest to the finding spot, and my child's BP could be listed. However, she did put me in contact with a AP who had positive results and this AP gave me insights.
***She used posters which, given my son's SN and what little we know about this orphanage, was probably the best option. She put the posters up in time for the 5th anniversary of my son's finding (also his birthday), which I thought might be helpful in case anyone from his birth family was coming back to look as a sort of ritual. She claimed to have seen a man looking closely at the poster at the finding place who then removed the poster. She took photos of the finding place and sent the photos as well as some other trinkets from Kunming that were meaningful to my son. She also said she looked at the police report (but wasn't allowed to photograph or copy it) and got a phone number of the finder and called it twice but the person hung up. If true, this is all helpful. I emailed with Lan and she was skeptical that Xixi went to the correct police station and actually saw the correct finding report. I can't really trust that she went to the police station -- I think it's quite possible she was just telling us what we wanted to hear. I would be very happy to hire Brian, Lan and company, or another trustworthy finder. It's just a matter of no one else being available and willing to go.
**** her good communication, responsiveness, sent feedback, sent package of things from hometown to my daughter.
**** She was responsive, and helped me with small things, like sending gifts to the finder. I could not send them directly. Also, the story of the finder was different (right, wrong?) but made somewhat more sense. The listed finder was a government official, with whom we now communicate. But she says she was not the one who "stumbled" upon the baby. She does not go to the orphanage, but she stated that upfront.
****Her assistant was willing to try new tactics and was assertive about getting information.
** Lack of communication and didn't possess the skill set to get the job done.
** She spoke English well. She quickly responded to emails. Her price was fair. She should have never searched in the first place. I had fabricated finding information, no credible finding location so really no good lead to start a search. Plus family planning was known to be involved in this area. She should have been honest with me and told me I didn't have any good clues and she really had nothing to start a search with and should have told me to wait until I did have a good lead. She should have not accepted my money. I believe that would have been the ethical thing for her to do. I had also seen her to this to other adoptive families, take their money when they had fabricated information. I lost a bit of respect for her because of this. See above answer but I felt she would take anyone's money, even if there was no chance in hell that they had a viable place to start with, obviously fabricated finding information. Instead, she took everyone's money. She lost respect in my eyes. In addition, when she found no information for me, she sent me a lot of "junk" that I never asked for, like a lot of photos of the area, a postcard, a map. I didn't ask for this "junk;" I asked for information and she didn't get me anything. I felt she was trying to appease me by sending me this other stuff but instead, she pissed me off. Other adoptive parents might be impressed when she sends them this stuff but I felt she was trying to cover up for the fact that she did not get me what I asked for and I don't like it when people are not straight up with me, especially when I pay them $350.
**** Great communication prior to birth search, child loved DVD made of interviews with locals. we gained new understanding of the difficulty of doing a birth family search for this orphanage.
*** She was very upfront about costs and timeline for searching. We received our packet very soon after they reported the search complete.
***** Answered all questions in a timely manner, even a year after the search. Took numerous photos and gave very detailed reports of daily activity searching. Gave us names, contact info, and pictures of our daughter's finders (there were three). Photos of the finding spot, details from the finders ascot the day our daughter was found and how she got from them to the orphanage. Slight dislike was that we didn't know XiXi herself would not be the searcher, but her partner would, until the week before the search. But he did an excellent job and communication was quick.
***She responded quickly to emails and the price wasn't too bad. XiXi was simultaneously searching for 3 other families in Guiyang at the time of our search. She wasn't focused solely on our case and her efforts seemed rushed. XiXi located a finder who claimed to have found my daughter, but a year later we discovered (with Lan's help) that the finder actually found a different child. If XiXi would have interviewed the finder more thoroughly, she would have realized the dependencies in the story. The posters contained WAY too much information (information from our daughter's orphanage file that was possibly fabricated in the first place). Too much time was spent hanging posters instead of talking with locals.
** She was searching our orphanage/province when no one else was. Could not access hospital records/official records. Unintentionally alerted the local gov't officials to the info the orphanage had provided.
***** Honest, always getting answers at all our questions, stay in contact after the search.
**** Kind, motivated, good communication. [Wish she had tried] local television & newspapers.
***Quick, very good communication. They asked questions to the foster parents, but did not ask further. Some answers did raise other questions which she did not ask.
** She spoke English well. She quickly responded to emails. Her price was fair. She should have never searched in the first place. I had fabricated finding information, no credible finding location so really no good lead to start a search. Plus family planning was known to be involved in this area. She should have been honest with me and told me I didn't have any good clues and she really had nothing to start a search with and should have told me to wait until I did have a good lead. She should have not accepted my money. I believe that would have been the ethical thing for her to do. I had also seen her do this to other adoptive families, take their money when they had fabricated information. I lost a bit of respect for her because of this. See above answer but I felt she would take anyone's money, even if there was no chance in hell that they had a viable place to start with, obviously fabricated finding information. Instead, she took everyone's money. She lost respect in my eyes. In addition, when she found no information for me, she sent me a lot of "junk" that I never asked for, like a lot of photos of the area, a postcard, a map. I didn't ask for this "junk;" I asked for information and she didn't get me anything. I felt she was trying to appease me by sending me this other stuff but instead, she pissed me off. Other adoptive parents might be impressed when she sends them this stuff but I felt she was trying to cover up for the fact that she did not get me what I asked for and I don't like it when people are not straight up with me, especially when I pay them $350.
One other thing really bothered me about XiXi and I have never shared this with anyone because I do think she probably is a decent person and a decent searcher, IF you have a good lead. I encouraged many other parents from our SWI to use her, in the first few years when she started her search business, 2010-2012. Then when I used her and it was time for me to pay for her services, after she did the search, she told me I didn't have to pay her anything as I had referred so many people to her. I was in shock, flabbergasted that she had said this to me. She didn't realize the position she had put me in because if any of those adoptive parents who I encouraged to use her, ever found out I got my search for free, my name would be mud and they would never trust me again. Maybe this is how business people do business or Chinese business people do business but it felt very uncomfortable to me. Perhaps I am an idiot but I told her I would pay her anyway because she had indeed done the search. But it always makes me wonder anytime I see anyone raving about her and encouraging others to use her, without knowing any of the details of the adoptive child's information, if they are getting free services from Xixi. Despite all of this, I have continued to refer people to Xixi when they had a good lead, like a unique finding location including the name of a village, especially if the child was adopted through a SWI that did very few international adoptions, implying to me the SWI was not doing adoptions for the money. In the end, I have very mixed feelings about XiXi.
***** Everything. She forms magical connections with everyone she meets. She is highly intelligent. Hard worker for each of her families for life. Savvy. And she cares. Since this survey is about her in part, I'm sure you will send her the results.
***** Always was kept informed of what was going on. Got a step by step reports etc. They done as much as they could have done with the information that I could give them... I knew there was going to be no answers but my daughter really wanted us to try... we were sent alot of videos and photos too. I had asked another searcher for help but was told there would be no answers from the search and I NEVER got a reply back to my questions... so picked Xixi and it helped alot for my daughter...
*** She took over 700 photos of the area. She had someone else do it for her. They didn't speak English so I never had a full idea of what was happening. I feel only appreciation for her.
***** Communication was excellent, data showing her search was great, she put me in contact (on request) with families whom she had found birth families for. I feel she worked very hard for us, and even though she was not successful, I am glad we did the search with her.
***** Great English, friendly, outgoing and was a real "go-getter". Seemed to get on and liase very well with Chinese from all walks of life. Had good searching suggestions as well as taking on board requests. Also was very well organised - had done her research beforehand and was very good to liase with by email prior to the trip.
*** She grouped us with other families that were searching. This provided a big influx of interest at one time. She recommended we request to look at hospital medical records, but didn't tell us how to do this.
* Go to the good office police, and not let the police call the finder. Big mistake! She does all searches in a same way
Comments with overall star rating (1 - 5):
***** She keeps searching. And we had good communication. Also very open for suggestions. And also using the birth analysis of Brian. Check all hospital records but did it 3 months later could be sooner.
* She did nothing. Took a really long time to connect with me. Then I heard something then months later i heard again.
***** Thoroughness, persevere, new ideas, good listener, very friendly. I miss the question what she did for us! For example, we visited many hospitals, police stations, got dna in the dna-bank for missing children, visited finding spot, visited villages, local governments, city archives, arranged tv station, radiostation, newsagency and newspaper etc. The only thing she didn't do is making a report, but this wasn't very necessary because we were there too. *
We paid > $500 because she traveled a week with us in Wenzhou.
**** They are locals and live in China. Xixi didn't try for police report or health report. Tiff still waiting for for report can't anything about Tiffanies result yet.
* She did not follow up as promised, she did not reply to multiple emails and instant messages, she did not in fact remember who I was. This was not an isolated incident and I could see on a FB group that she was responding to other people ; Tiffanie has had some type of episode and there is multiple people reporting on a FB board for searching that she has let them down and not responded. Friends are quick to defend her saying "give her some grace" .
* Nothing so far. Still waiting for results. Tiffany didn't give me search dates- I found out that she sent someone after the fact . She sent her husband and a friend to search when she said she would search herself. To my knowledge, they didn't contact my personal contacts in Bengbu who know the city well. She didn't contact the media who interviewed my daughter in 2015. I have been given no leads to work on myself since the conclusion of her search. We considered her research a launch pad if we were able to return to search in summer 2016 (we weren't able to travel after all but we would have been empty handed). We paid $650 for 7 full days of intensive searching in January, 2016. The search took place in May. Three weeks ago, Tiffany said I would have a report in two weeks. We have received ZERO feedback and it is now August 26th. I think Tiffany takes on too much work which results in poor quality for some clients. I know she is busy because there have been other families posting trips, searches, and even success while I've been waiting for our results. Very little communication prior and after search. I wouldn't know she was a true searcher if others didn't vouch for her.
Comments with overall star rating (1 - 5):
** That she was in close proximity and she arranged for us to get a deal at a hotel in Hefei. [Jane] did not appear to be organized for the search and it was a lot of hit and miss for the day of the search plus information provided turned out to be inaccurate by the searcher. I didn't trust the translation. It was not matching the expressions of the people that she was talking to and I had to prompt for a translation and I was told often that it was nothing. Information about the original orphanage location turned out not to be true. Told us at one point that someone came forward but we had to return to Tongling to meet the person first which the searcher could have done for a cost. We met with a TV station the day after the searcher left and a much better response where they found the original orphanage, took us to the police station, had DNA taken, the gov. office. It was suggested that my daughter is from another city further away so it would have been helpful to help us search there. She wanted up front money after the initial search telling us that her work would be intensive once people started contacting her. Wanted so much in US cash ($500 plus) for work that may or may not happen. She had been paid for the initial work. We would have gladly considered paying if work materialized or for a specific task. I had already arranged for other people to be the contact person, not Jane, so was not anticipating a great amount of work.
***She didn't do much, but she didn't charge anything either. (NOTE: I entered that she charged $100-$300 only because there was no option for not charging anything) She talked to the "finder" at the orphanage but said she felt she was not given truthful information. She did find out that my daughter was transported to her orphanage from a different location. I asked her to do specific things and offered to pay her, but she always said she was busy or would get to it in the future but didn't. She didn't go to the place where my daughter was transported from, she didn't check police reports. She didn't want to or wasn't able to take on this search, but she didn't come out and say so. She didn't suggest another searcher. I was left feeling totally stymied.
***She seemed very nice, but was not able to get any information. I didn't feel a willingness on her part to "dig" very deep or go an extra mile. I wanted more assistance. Given her experience, I feel she could have, at least, made further suggestions to me. Not enough initiative to help, make further suggestions when we hit a dead end.
****I feel like she is honest and did her best to find information based on what we could tell her. I wish she had gone to the police station that was listed in our paperwork and talked to the police officer who dealt with my son. I also wish she had tried to contact midwives in the area where my son was born since it looks like he was born at home rather than a hospital.
***** She is easy to relate to and very responsive.