Satellite Babies Reflect on their Childhood as Adults
CPC Queens Early Childhood Center Director, Lois Lee, and two satellite babies, Lindy Tse and David Chen spoke about the experience of being a satellite baby with the All-China Women's Federation. Satellite babies are children who were born in the US but sent to China to be raised by relatives and then returned to the US to start school (4 or 5 years old). For many immigrant parents who do not have access to affordable childcare options sending their children to their grandparents or close relatives in China is the only way for them to continue working long hours to provide for their child.
She said most parents of satellite babies work long hours every day and cannot afford child care, the cost of which in New York ranges from $11,700 to $14,144 a year, respectively, for child and infant care, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Washington.
"These young couples work long hours at jobs in restaurants, nail salons, grocery stores, dry cleaners and hotels, doing work that no one wants to do, and yet they can't get childcare services for their families to keep the children here," Lee said.
She said reunions can be difficult for both parents and children after a long-term separation.
"They (parents) didn't see their children's first steps. They didn't hear them when they first learned how to talk. They lost five years bonding with them," she said.