Facing Realities of Cross Border Marriage & Future Child

In family friends by Michael Michelini17 Comments

Typing today’s blog up on a Saturday morning from the couch of my Hong Kongs friend’s 9th floor walk up apartment (When he said apartment 9F I thought it was a elevator building!).

My life has always been an adventure, I have always kept an open mind and sought out adventure. Now with my recent marriage and child-to-be – in a cross cultural Mainland Chinese to American relationship – all those infomercials I watched on Hong Kong television about mainlander Chinese women flocking to Hong Kong to deliver their babies are becoming a reality for me. Where will my child be born? Where will he/she be educated, what language, what environment?

This will be a whole new chapter of my life, and for those who can keep up with it – I’ll try my best to highlight this new adventure on my blog here. I will also have chances now to interview people in Hong Kong on my new Podcast – Global From Asia so it makes good content at the same time.

Here are some considerations:

Where Will My Child Be Born?

Being on a “border city” like Shenzhen, the consideration to attempt to have the baby across the bay in Hong Kong is a tempting one. Currently considering the points such as:

  • Hospital conditions
  • Doctor’s handle and care
  • Child’s “ID”

Currently plan is to deliver in Luo Ho district of Shenzhen.

As for citizenship, kid will be able to apply for a USA passport as I’m the father, so regardless if he/she is born in mainland China, Hong Kong, USA, or anywhere else.

Where Will MY Child Go To School?

Somewhat related to the above “Where my Child should be born” is also connected to the education. If born in Hong Kong, there is a pretty good educational system. Each time I cross the Shenzhen border around 7am, tons of children are lined up to commute (daily) into Hong Kong for their school.

I am also thinking about how the whole educational industry is being disrupted – and mobile apps – kids are learning like crazy from their mobile phones before they even enter school. And will the college system still exist when my kid is that age? I honestly think people will be working from any location – the whole “mass production” of college and then cubicle machine that exists today will be turned upside down in the future. Entrepreneurship is the future.

Though of course, its my kid’s decision what he/she studies and becomes (though I pray its not in corporate!)

Many expats in Asia do return to their “western” world after the child is born for education mostly (from my own conversations I have been involved with over the years here)

The US educational system still seems to be the leader globally.

What Language (s) Will He/She Learn?

Wangxia wants the kid to speak Chinese. Well I do too – I do believe Mandarin will continue to be an important spoken tongue in this century as the Modern Chinese consumes more, travels more, and “expands their horizon” outside of Mainland China.

Of course English is a must too.

The language learned is also connected to the educational system he/she goes through.

Man, I’m open to suggestions here! Learning English from China is gonna be expensive! International school rates are sky-high.

What FOOD will he/she eat?

Well this is ALREADY a topic – as Wangxia is already changing her diet based on what she researches on BAIDU. Man, it kind of scares me. I don’t really have much of an opinion here – though its gonna be weird if my kid doesn’t like the same “cultural” western food that I enjoy when he/she grows up.

But this does connect to the blog photo I used today – imported baby milk powder – a hot topic here in China. Unfortunately…Chinese businessmen attempt to save money (increase margins) by skimping on raw materials or quality of goods, etc and it kills babies. So now tons of parents only by imported baby milk powder. And those who cross the Hong Kong / Shenzhen border over the past couple years can’t avoid hearing the announcements and seeing the signs about the limit to 2 cans of baby milk powder per person else huge fines.

And we all see the mobs of Chinese maximizing that either having multiple people carrying 2 cans each, as well as roller bags jammed with all kinds of imported foods and goods from Hong Kong to Mainland China.

Is that gonna be me? I didn’t end up buying these 2 cans in the photo today, but will I soon be another mainlander smuggling my baby’s food into the motherland?

Related Posts


  1. My parents raised us fully bilingual: all conversations with dad were 100% German, all conversations with mom were 100% English. To this day I can go completely incognito in Germany (left when I was 11) – unless something like taxes comes up. But I can read and write in both, and I a very certain it helped me pick up Chinese as well. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Jennifer!
      That gives me a lot of positive reinforcement. ..I think the kid is gonna have a great experience in an international family 🙂

  2. Good read, sounds like you’ve got a few considerations to work on. Then again you’re Mike, you never do anything the simple way…why start now? Its just the natural extension of everything that lead you up to this point. So whatever you’ve done to bring you to this point is the same way you’ll figure it out going forward.

    ….and I had to LOL when I read “what food will he/she eat?”, as all I could flash back to was you at the cafeteria in Kennelly squirting mustard on your jello.

    1. Thanks Andrew!

      Ya, well like always I am thinking I can stress about it or just deal with it and make it happen!

      Well. ..in kennelly at least the food was safe…. mixing milk and potatoes is disgusting but won’t risk health issues down the road

      But I look forward to food eating competitions with mini-me!

  3. Those are indeed pretty complicated decisions but important ones. Best of luck, Michael!

  4. Technology won’t replace education… It will compliment. It will disrupt the tools of education but not the system itself. There is an immense amount of educational research out there that a lot of start-ups are totally unaware about and techniques that are just not viable with current tech e.g. kinesthetic learning.

    Secondly, US college education is considered one of the best in the world, but not at other levels, US is only 17th in the list compiled by the OECD… the main factor will be the variance in quality (rundown cities vs wealthy suburbs).

    Language… read up on third culture kids. You will learn a lot, my kids were born in Japan, have a UK passport and live in Hong Kong, lots of language considerations here, but generally speaking if you want bilingual one technique is to have a different home language vs school language.. immersion is the key.

    1. Thanks for this very informative post Hoista

      I honestly think one of the biggest benefits of school is the EQ of being surrounded by peers and learning how to deal with various personalities and situations in life. … well I have 19 years or so til college so time will tell.

      For the home language versus school language this may be something I need to consider over more carefully

  5. We manufacture own brand baby formulas especially for the Chinese markets. If there are food importers looking to get involved in a growing industry and want their own brand especially for the Chinese market you can contact us directly. We also export Powdered Milk and UHT Milk also.

    We can be contacted directly at redstarproductsltd@gmail.com

    Thank you

  6. I’d suggest being born in Hong Kong if you can, there are tons of benefits and it’s a backstop for you with health and education covered in a bind.

    1. Marshall
      My latest podcast (last night published) covers immigration in Hong Kong more with Stephen Barnes… I need either an employment visa (someone hires me) or I get an investment visa for Social Agent Limited. ..

      But the timing is a tough call… need to start that now. And the hospital fees in Hong kong are around 13, 000 usd

      1. I’d second the idea to be born in HK. If your son/daughter was born in HK they would beable to hold dual US-China citizenship and have the ability to work live and work in China visa-free. This opens up worlds of opportunities that is very hard to put a price on… (eg. think of how much you would save on college fees in the US!)

        1. Thanks Ken!
          Maybe I should start a social media campaign to raise money for my child to be born in Hong Kong! Its 90, 000 hkd.

          I know its long term better… maybe a viral campaign would work. ?

  7. Mike you have an interesting life and it will only get more so. You will make all the right decisions and don’t rule out going back to the States at some point in your journey….

    p.s. watch out for those expire by dates on the “baby” stuff stockpiles.

  8. Why are Chinese so in to Baby milk powder? Is it because they don’t breastfeed long?

  9. Yes, praying is good. I too will be praying for you and your Wendy and your new baby… Yes thoughts and priorities change when you have a little one to protect and love and care for. This is the greatest gift on earth a child born to you … Praise God. I know of people here from like France and they teach their little on both French and English as he is growing up and guess what, he learns both languages well without confusion… You and Wendy can teach your baby as you love and talk to him both languages…. Micheal, God loves you very much and will show you they best way… Ask God to help you and He will… Praise God!1 ” To God be the glory great things He has done…” Merry Christmas 12/25/13, the birth of our Saviour and the Creator of us all. In God’s amazing love….. Aunt Nina…

Leave a Comment