A Note from Debbie, UK HKAN Founder

It is with sadness that we heard Margaret Bryer passed away on 25th March 2020. We would like to thank her again for this informative and absorbing talk, and the support she gave our network.

This announcement from CFAB tells us about Margaret’s considerable involvement in Children and Families Across the Borders (formally ISS). http://cfab.org.uk/news/cfab-regrets-announce-passing-margaret-bryer

She has kindly given us a copy of her speech as there was great interest from the attendees to make it available on line. We would like to thank her for joining us and the work she has done over these many years.

This document must not be used without permission of UK HKAN

Orphange Summaries

Po Leung Kuk


Chinese charitable association whose members served as the Board


Chinese charitable association whose members served as the Board; Superintendent has no decision-making authority.


Superintendent (an untrained social worker on loan from the Hong Kong Department of Social Welfare)

Visiting medical officer who made weekly rounds, possibly several times a week

2 caseworkers with heavy paperwork responsibilities

2 nurses, a supervisor and assistant supervisor who worked with sick infants

2 nurse’s aides

Amah’s (teenagers per Lau, who with children <5)

2 housemothers who lived next to dorms for children .5, assisted by 2 Amah’s 


Main two-story building by high wall, three wings as well, large rooms but cold in Winter and hot in summer, 30-40 children in dormitories like hospital awards with beds in rows. 3 wards of children aged 4-6 have no beds and sleep on plywood.  A home for unwed mothers and a vocational training school is also within this complex. On the northern edge of Victoria Island, a middle-income neighbourhood bordered by business district and low wage district, a busy area but with and enclosed garden.


450 children from infancy to age 18; Wards of 30-40 children grouped by age (when possible by sex) as “families”.


Amah’s only regular caregivers and rarely present except during feeding and changing.  Ratio 1:22 per Lau.


Cleanliness and discipline emphasized, lack of organised games and outings; not a homelike environment.  Children as old as 3 confined to cribs, much rocking, head banging and self-soothing observed.  No stable mother figure for youngest children.  Children age 4-6 attended school half day but otherwise were confined to dormitory and to their “beds” so not allowed to play together; mechanical sternness from housemother observed by Lau.  Older Children had a full day of school, chores and some free play time.  Despite being 15 minutes from the heart of Hong Kong all children were virtually isolated.  Diet: standard rice gruel with bits of meat and fish.


Per Lau the Po Lueng Kuk children in his study were “uniformly malnourished” and small for their age.  Many suffered insect bites and skin problems

St Christopher’s


Church of England


Committee chaired by Bishop of Diocese of Hong Kong



Assistant Superintendent after June 1964

Matron for Babies Section (including children up to age 5)

4 House mothers and 5 house fathers for children >age 7

38 child care workers in Babies Section


Former temple overlooking Tolo harbour, on the eastern shore of the New Territories, with 45 acres of land about 13.1/2 miles north of Kowloon.  Many wings and rooms added, rooms described as large and airy, some had air conditioning, verandas with toys available and children used gardens for exercise when permitted.


-340 at maximum expansion; 160 babies and 180 older children ranging up to 18 but mostly much younger.


Varied but based on different wards of Babies’ Section, 6 amahs for 90 children would make a ratio of 1:15, but since the amah’s worked in shifts the actual ratio would be even worse. Amah’s were noted to have 1-2 favourite children with little personal attention for most.


Emphasis on education and self-sufficiency for older children; St Christopher’s School was attended by local children outside orphanage as well. Due to staff ratios babies often fed by propping bottles in cribs, toilet training often delayed.  Older children lived in cottages under house mothers and fathers, assigned chores including cooking and shopping, also raised their own livestock and crops-half day in school and half day in fields or vocational training.  Recreation included basketball, football, badminton, ping pong and swimming. Chorus, 5000 book library, motion pictures and playground with jungle gym available.


Children available for intercountry adoption through ISS but many seemed to age out and maintain ties with St Christopher’s as adults, often as employees.  “Many” also adopted locally, but not that Lau suggest that for all Hong Kong orphanages domestic adoption was rare due to children being locally adopted before arriving at an orphanage.



Mildred Dibden; refused affiliation with any charity


Mildred Dibden


Mildred Dibden

Two English assistants, Valerie Conibear and Wendy Blackmur (who would go on to open Hope of Loving Happiness in Fanling in 1966 when Dibden returned to England).



Former Shatin police barracks, a two -tory brick and wood building, enclosed with 3 other wings to form a courtyard in 1957.  Located in Shatin near to Fanling but father from Chinese border in eastern/central New Territories, closer to Kowloon.  Lau notes location on promontory overlooking the sea, picturesque but very isolated, requiring crossing a wooden footbridge to access home, with magnificent vistas.  Lau describes rooms barren and sparsely furnished but notes playground with swings and equipment.


No set capacity but Dibden stopped taking referrals in 1959 with 72 girls and 4 boys.  Homogenous age groupings in both classroom and dormitories.


Varied but Lau notes that Dibden employed approximately 1 amah for every 11 children so 1:11. Fanling Babies Home we history of Shatin Hose notes that at one-point staff consisted of a cook, a gardener, several “nurse girls’’ eight amah’s and four women teachers.  Amah’s were discouraged from forming relationships with children by Dibden (per Lau) because they were seen as having ‘rough ways”.  All children saw Dibden every day.


Heavy religious component, Sunday School and church service, two evening services with hymns and bible stories for older children, grace before meals and bedtime prayers.  Education in classroom also used religious stories, and children’s conversation was sprinkled with references to Jesus.  Older children helped with younger.  Lau notes an absence of squabbling and internal strife.  Each given a share common surname (Yip meaning “leaf”) and individual Christian and Chinese first names.


Lau notes children more fearful away from home, fearful of change and novelty, acted as younger children do and clung to kind strangers. Better nourishment that other orphanages but still some moderate malnourishment and growth/height norms.

Fanling Babies Home


Protestant Church


Protestant Church group (originally Hong Kong Evangelical Fraternity, then Christian Children Fund after 1946


Superintendent (Lucy Clay, English trained nurse specialising in Child care, fluent in Cantonese).

2 Assistant Superintendents

2 Nurses

Nurses aides (junior high education)

Amah’s (loving but had favourites, lacked skilled handling emotional care per Lau)


Two-storey Chinese room is spacious, divided into six wards, with two smaller houses.  Each room is spacious, well-ventilated, sunny for part of the day, and painted in pastel colours.  In the Fanling region in the northwest New Territories 4km from Chinese Border; in 1966 closes here and relocates, becoming Pine Hill Babies Home overlooking Taipo Harbour in northeast New Territories.


100 children from infancy to age 6; historically many infants and children <2 or 3.


Nurse and nurse aides; 1 nurse and 3 nurse aides for 2 wards of 14-16 children each.  Ratio = 1:8, however, Lau reports 1:13 ratio of caretakers to child, noting that nurses focused most on infants and were responsible for entire house.


Warm, home-like atmosphere per Lau; nursery school began at age 3 up to 3rdgrade.  Some toys available; more adult interaction rather than RC.  Children able to interact with one another but Lau suggests low age range made this difficult due to lack of social skills.  Diet: standard rice gruel with bits of meat and fish.


Per Lau one half the Fanling children in his study markedly malnourished.

Chuk Yen Children’s Reception Centre


Government of Hong Kong


Social Welfare Department, Child Welfare Section



Assistant Superintendent

Welfare Assistant

2 qualified nurses

10 nurse aides

11 amahs’

2 cooks

1 labourer

1 driver


Located in Kowloon near the Resettlement Area, surrounded by a hospital and school.  4-storied 

L-shaped building of 10,000 square feet with a playground, well ventilated with two sick rooms. One for “mental children”.  Rooms were clean, whitewashed. Equipped with both fan and heater for all seasons and decorated with magazine pictures of babies.


Seemed to vary given nature of mission as a reception centre, but -65 children 0-8years was the norm.


4 amah’s and 4 nurse aides worked on each shift over a three-shift schedule for a ratio of about 1:8.


Babies are described as crib bound and placed in rocking chairs on veranda outside ward if they cry too much, also described as observant of their surroundings and other babies.


Generally unknown; Lau notes that all orphanages in his study had malnourished and developmentally delayed children.  Some children were place in Chuk Yuen with the knowledge of their biological parents and may have been able to return to them.  Lau suggests that for Hong Kong orphanages domestic adoption was rare due to children being locally adopted before arriving at an orphanage.

BAAF. Adversity, adoption and afterwards

BAAF Publication

Adversity, adoption and afterwards

A mid-life follow-up study of women adopted from Hong Kong

Julia Feast, Margaret Grant, Alan Rushton and John Simmonds with Carolyn Sampeys

This book is now available through HKAN Group at a Cost of £5 plus postage and packaging
(Or picked up at one of our reunions)

Please contact Debbie Cook
Email Address. Hkadoptees@btinternet.com

BAAF Blue Booklet

BAAF ‘Blue booklet’

Many of the UK based HK-born adoptees have a copy of the BAAF publication ‘The International Social Services UK Hong Kong Adoption Project 1960 -1970 | The historical context and the children’s homes’ – aka ‘the blue book’. This was an interim publication, before the release of the book ‘Adoption, Adversity & Afterwards’.
As you may know, BAAF merged with Coram in 2015. CoramBAAF have given UKHKAN a soft copy of the booklet with permission to upload it onto this website on the strict condition that nobody reproduces it in any format for any purpose.
There has been a delay in uploading the booklet but we will sort it out at the earliest opportunity. We would also like to take this opportunity to gently remind everyone that the blue book is copyright and therefore no part may be reproduced.

Brits meet up with a fellow adoptee from Canada

Written by Yvonne Gee

Jemma Fong, visiting London from Canada where she now lives, was on the same original flight over from Hong Kong to the UK as me, some fifty-two years ago. There is a black and white photo of four of us arriving at London Airport, (which in those days was at Croydon.) Jemma happened to post these pics on f/b, and I recognised myself in them, having had no previous knowledge that we’d been on the same flight. (I should also mention, though in f/b contact, I had not previously met Jemma.)

Serena, Sue, Kate, Joanne, Linda Fawcett and her son Matthew
met up with Jemma, her partner Sandy and Sandy’s nephew (also Canadian, now living in London.) I discovered that everyone else attending, had at points in the recent past met Jemma either at a Hong Kong Reunion or in the United States, so if you’ve been to any of the overseas Reunions, you may have met Jemma and her partner Sandy.


We met-up at New World Restaurant in Chinatown for a lunchtime Dim Sum, which is the Chinese equivalent of a Greek Mezze or the Spanish Tapas. Trolleys of Chinese delicacies (savoury and sweet) on little dishes that have been steamed or fried are pushed around the restaurant and diners choose as many or few as they fancy.

I first went to New World Restaurant, nearly forty years ago, and the dishes were pretty much as I recalled: varied and delicious! Jemma has some rudimentary Mandarin and was able to request certain dishes and provide some translation. This is truly a fabulous way to spend some time together and incredibly cheap, it worked out at £10.80 per head!

We then wandered around to Wardour Street to Bubblewrap for waffle cone ice cream. Bubble waffles, part of the street food scene in Hong Kong, originated as a way to use up broken eggs, which couldn’t be marketed, flour and milk was added to make a batter and these curiosities were born. They are a new trend on the London foodie scene.

Quite sizeable(!) waffles are made in specialist waffle irons, then shaped into a cone, which are then filled with ice cream from a selection of around six flavours with a variety of different toppings. Just as well lunch was light and cheap, as these dessert whoppers are huge and cost from £6.50- £8+ depending how much you indulge your sweet tooth and choose not to stint on your treat!!! We queued for around an hour, but chatting together, the time passed quickly and enjoyably. Since it’s street food, there’s no seating
so we stood in the street consuming these giant ice creams, taking nearly as long to eat them as to queue! (Okay, Kate, around 15-20minutes)



It was a lovely day out, I then headed home, but the others strolled through to Covent Garden and explored, before eventually heading to their respective homes.

What a really brilliant way to spend some time together, and refresh old friendshipsand make new ones! I’d definitely recommend Dim Sum, if you’ve never tried it.

Thank you

I would like to thank Jasmine, Sue and Kate for organising the London Reunion on the 18th February 2017.  Also for Claire who printed out the signs and writing the blog.

Thank you to Chungwen who was our speaker for the day and Julia Feast (BAAF) who has been such such a big support to our group.

We were also delighted to have as a special guest Mrs Tan Yuen who worked at St Christophers Children Home in the early 60’s.

Thank you to the Chinese Community Centre, Church of St Martin-in-the Fields for letting us use there facilities for the day and for to the two wonderful ladies who cooked our tea.

Lastly I would like to thank all of you, who attended yet another very successful reunion and I look forward to seeing you again at the next.  Please watch this space.

Debbie Cook

Founder of the UK HKAN

Fly Babies

An account of the February 2017 Reunion by Claire Martin

We adult Hong Kong adoptees had another wonderful reunion last Saturday, 18th February 2017, and a couple of us had a titter at some of the absent Other Halves daring to ask the question, “What’s the purpose?” Purpose? We need a purpose? Although we missed some familiar faces (we thought of you and raised a glass of something or other in your direction), we had a great turnout. We are so grateful to Jasmine for pulling out the stops and finding us a new venue in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields Church slap bang in the middle of London (by Trafalgar Square). Even I could find it and my ability to get lost is legendary. In fact, to be on the safe side, we posted red arrows all the way to the hall we were in. Debbie, our UK Hong Kong Adoptee Network founder, was not taking any chances. Sue and Kate were in support as ever and it was delightful to meet other members of Kate’s family.
Over the years, at each reunion, we learn things we did not know before. We learned why we were left to be found (refugees from Mainland China – thanks for nothing those who told me growing up that my first mother was probably a prostitute), how we were looked after by the helpers in the orphanages, who has managed to trace blood relatives and how they did it and what we have all experienced growing up in English families. This time we were amazed to discover that our story was part of someone else’s. We featured in the 80 year history of British Airways flying to Hong Kong from London. In all our glory, there we were, in an exhibition in Gerrard Street, London’s Chinatown, called “A Tale of Two Cities”. A few of us went to the launch do on Valentine’s Day and met some local Chinese dignitaries, BA execs and some current cabin crew. We asked if they could find out who the air hostesses were who brought us over, looked after us during the flight from Hong Kong to the UK all those years ago, and featured in our newspaper photos.

And who knew, all the years some of us have lived in London, that there was a Chinese community centre under the café in the Church of St Martin-in-the Fields called the Bishop Ho Ming Wah Association and Community Centre? With Mandarin classes, painting, calligraphy, T’ai Chi and all? It has been there since the ‘60s and the community bit since the ‘80s. Here is the link for anyone who wants it:


Gathered in a circle, in our very own AA meeting (Adoptees Anonymous?) we were joined by a helper from St Christopher’s in the 1960s, Mrs Chan-Yuen Han Tang who told us a bit about life in the orphanage and how some poor families gave up their children to these institutions so that they could have an education. We were later treated to a talk by Chung-Wen Li, Dean of the Ming-Ai Institute (another revelation) which aims to introduce Chinese culture to the UK – where were all these magnificent organisations when we were growing up? Chung-Wen spoke about the project she has in mind to capture our adoption stories orally – the more the merrier. Chris supported the great idea of including input from the adoptive families – parents and siblings. Chung-Wen’s eyes lit up. Even more interviewees means more likelihood of attracting sponsorship and a new angle to pursue – two birds with one stone! At which point she belted over to the aforementioned British Airways Exhibition leaving us all to meander over the newish China Exchange in Gerrard Street – yet another place I’ve walked passed not knowing it existed (though to be fair it is only a year old). Every single one of us made it – even those foolish enough to follow me. Here is the link to the China Exchange website:

http://chinaexchange.uk/  and to Ming-Ai:


As well as being able to wander around the exhibition, Chung-Wen delivered a slide show on the Chinese Diasporic Workforce in the UK, a project similar to the one she has in mind for us, where she interviewed people from many industries and professions, to capture the Chinese immigrant experience over many years. One was a merchant seaman in WWII who recently died, giving a sense of urgency to our own stories now that many of us have lost our adoptive parents as well. She traced back to the very first Chinese person to come to the UK in the reign of James II, testing our knowledge of the subject. We were woefully ignorant which I put down to our isolation growing up and the discovery of all these Chinese organisations goes to show we are still not embedded in the Chinese community here. Spread around the country, often the only Ethnic in the village, we fought our own battles against prejudice and, as we discovered this time, put our British nearest and dearest through it as well. And people wonder why we are making up for lost time now?
We went back to the crypt for an authentic Chinese meal (prepared by two wonderful women of the Bishop Ho Ming Wah Association), a good natter and to celebrate Naomi’s birthday. Our reunions have evolved over the years. We reminisced about our first encounters, that rabbit-in-the-headlights experience intruding into groups forged at earlier reunions, discovering there were loads of us at the BAAF book launch, comparing adoption records, giggling over not being able to remember each other’s names, the endless selfies and group photos, dipping our toes into Facebook and keeping in touch electronically. We realise we were once together, more than fifty years ago, staring at the same ceiling, eating the same rice gruel, playing with the same toys, flying half way round the world together. The elation of finding each other still has not worn off. We were there for each other then, we are there for each other now.


Abandoned and orphaned baby boomers battling Hong Kong bureaucracy to trace their roots

Joel John Robert’s recent attempt to gain full disclosure from the Social Welfare Department returned hundreds of pages with vast amounts redacted
For half a century, Hong Kong-born adoptee Joel John Roberts spent his entire life not knowing the identity of his parents.

But as others rehomed by charities such as Po Leung Kuk or orphanages such as Fanling Babies Home have shared their experiences, Roberts, who was abandoned at 15 days oldbegan his own “journey of discovery”.

Roberts was one of many children born in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 60s adopted by western families and taken to countries such as the UK, Canada and the United States. Roberts was adopted by an American family and moved to the US aged two and a half.

Documentation from this ­period is often hard to come by and his recent attempt to gain full disclosure from the Social Welfare Department about his early life was met with blanks. It sent him hundreds of pages with vast amounts redacted.

“People would ask me if I was interested in finding my birth family and I said no because I just never thought about it. But as I got older, I [realised] I didn’t know anything about the first few years of my life or my birth parents,” said Roberts. “I don’t know anyone who has had the same experience.”

The problem stems from the context of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance for adoption which protects parents and adoptees from having their ­personal information released.

“I am 55 years old and I think I should have the right to know my history,” Roberts said. “If I am 15 years old, maybe not, but when you are an adult, they shouldn’t [withhold] the information.”

I think I should have the right to know my history

Despite the redactions, some precious details were yielded. Roberts’ original name was Frank Brown, or Pak Fat-lan in Chinese, according to the nanny assigned to care for him on his parents’ behalf.

It suggested the name was given by a western father, and it was this name that was reported to police when he was abandoned.

The Eurasian ethnicity filtered into media notices, government, and adoption agency filings.

Adding to the curiosity of his original name, Roberts took a DNA test because he was not ­satisfied with official documents describing him as Eurasian when he did not have any features to back that up. The results said he was 97 per cent Asian.

He also managed to track down an article from a Chinese-language newspaper from the 60s that published the name of his mother, but not his father.

Officials have been found to be inconsistent with redacting adult adoptee reports. As late as 2014, individuals could get full SWD documents without redaction, according to Winnie Siu Davies, who has assisted in previous cases where full unredacted documents were provided and birth parents were traced.

The Post covered the case of Mandy Horst in 2014 who used unredacted SWD documents to track down her mother via YouTube.

The inconsistencies added to Robert’s frustration and plea to have the documents unredacted.

Rebecca Holdaway, who helps returning adoptees from the UK and US, said early separations made it difficult to trace parents.

“Paperwork can be thin on the ground, making it difficult to prove roots to the authorities and make essential connections,” she said, adding that government officials and departments “don’t like to cooperate or its not in their interest to follow up [cases].”

The privacy ordinance was implemented in Hong Kong in 1996, but made “more stringent” in 2012, Holdaway said. “Accessing old birth details and hospital records is difficult. There is a fine line between what right an adoptee has to: birth time, birth details, and medical records.”

Asked whether it would relax the rules, the SWD said Roberts was not the owner of all of the data disclosed in the documents which it controlled.

Since 2006, the department has given birth parents the choice of revealing their identity to their adopted children, but no retroactive mechanism could be created to address historical issues faced by adult adoptees.

The United States and the UK created an open adoption disclosure process where both adoptees and parents have a veto and consent rights to communication and the right to know, whereas Australia was on the other end of the spectrum with a “closed adoption” practice and the biological parent’s names are never revealed, said Holdaway.




An account of the Birmingham Reunion – Saturday 22nd October 2016

Written by Kate Gordon

Pictures by Kate and or resident Photographer Ian

Can you believe 5 weeks has passed since the UK HKAN met in Birmingham!

We were given the use of Southside BID’s Board Room – a really lucky stroke given its proximity to New Street station (Grand Central).

We were also fortunate in our speaker, Irene Henery. Irene is a well-known businesswoman in Birmingham’s Chinatown, being the accountant for Ian Henery Solicitors Ltd which she helped husband Ian to set up. However, we had invited Irene to talk to the group about their experience of adopting from China. Being Malaysian Chinese, we felt that Irene would offer some different insights and we weren’t wrong!
Irene already had two daughters when, prompted by a heart-breaking news story of a baby girl abandoned and left to die on the street in China, she and her husband decided to adopt from China.
Irene described the lengthy and arduous vetting and preparation process in the UK which is not adapted for prospective adopters who are Chinese. The experience in China echoed that of our previous speaker on this subject Annabel Stockland who had also been presented with a baby that did not resemble the child in the photograph. However, Irene was aware that rejecting a baby in a Chinese orphanage will quite probably lead to that child being condemned to suffer neglect leading ultimately to death. Therefore they accepted the child unconditionally.
Irene also spoke of the neglect that Emily had clearly experienced. Emily took to Ian immediately which caused some practical difficulties; however, over time, Irene developed her own relationship with her daughter.
Irene spoke about Emily growing up and fitting into family life. She is now a very typical Western teenager, but she has direct access to Chinese cultural heritage through Irene.


Irene described the ‘tough love’ and strict discipline found in traditional Chinese families which has been one of the motivating factors in her life. She suggested that this might challenge a commonly held belief within the transnational/transracial adoptee circle that we have lost a valuable part of our culture. In particular, the devaluing of girls and women in traditional Chinese culture is something that we should not miss.


Irene’s presentation was highly appreciated, both for the frank but warm recollections of her family’s adoption story, and for the insights she gave us into the difficulties of being born a girl in Chinese society. The presentation stimulated many questions and discussion.


Group Act discussion.jpg

Group Activity
Before Irene’s presentation, we had done a warm up activity. In pairs, each person had 3 minutes to look at their partner’s face; they then had to draw it from memory.
Returning to the drawings after Irene had finished, the ‘portraits’ were numbered, and we all had to guess who was who.

Group Pic.JPG


The meeting ended with the usual mixture of news and greetings from absent friends. Julia Feast had sent a message notifying us that the merger of BAAF with Coram had not worked out well for her so she would be leaving.

Sue passed on news from Jasmine Gillies who has been liaising with the Ming Ai Institute who are acting as curators for a British Airways anniversary exhibition celebrating 80 years of flying between Hong Kong and the UK. The exhibition will include a feature on the Hong Kong adoption programme in the 1960’s. Chungwen Li, Dean of the Institute, had issued a request for any photographs and newspaper articles featuring BOAC, the precursor to British Airways.

After the meeting closed, we all headed off to Ming Moon Buffet restaurant for an enjoyable meal together.


Our thanks to Southside BID for providing us with the meeting room with refreshments and facilities, and to Irene Henery for putting so much thought and time into her presentation and taking part in our group activity with such a spirit of fun.


A message from Irene Henery,
Guest Speaker at Birmingham Meet-up October 2016

Can I interest your members in supporting this charity The Good Rock Foundation set up by Jacqui Shurr who adopted her daughter from China and then decided to support Chinese orphans full time by her and her doctor husband moving there. They are very good Christians and realised that the adopted ones are much luckier than the ones who are left behind, and many left behind are disabled.

They flew out many doctor friends who gave their medical expertise free of charge to help these orphans. They set up The Fig Bakery so that the disabled can have employment. See link http://www.good-rock.org

Unfortunately the Chinese govt is forcing them out of mainland China so they are moving to HK to continue their good work. I hope some of your members might be interested in supporting them. I have been supporting them before I had Emily and I am always impressed by how faith can inspire wondrous acts.

Another link I can recommend is www.dramafever.com for anyone who wants to watch Chinese TV series with English subtitles – easiest way to learn Mandarin! If you go for the historical dramas you will learn some Chinese history and culture. I cross reference with information from Google.

I am currently watching “Prince of Lan Ling” and find it fascinating that he was real, although the producers have obviously added a fictitious love interest. If you watch it on your iphone it is free and has no advertisements. If you watch it via a laptop there is a lot of ads unless you pay a monthly subscription.