Monday, November 10, 2008

Adopting from China

Because the international adoption process varies so much from country to country, I am going to dedicate several days to providing more information about many of the countries with international adoption programs. Please keep in mind that I am not as familiar with the processes in many of these countries, having only adopted from Uzbekistan and Ukraine, so I will just be skimming the surface here, but I will do my best to provide you with a general overview of each country and offer links to adoption blogs and other information to those who are interested in learning more.


Adoption of children from China to the United States began in 1992 when the Chinese government passed a law ratifying international adoption. In 2007, as reported by Immigration Services, American's adopted 5, 453 children from China, the largest number of adoptions from any country outside of the US. The average age of children adopted from China is 11 months with over 90% of those children being girls (due to China's population control policies). The majority of boys adopted from China are children with special needs.

The central adoption authority in China is the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) in Beijing. Because China is part of the Hague Convention, there is no independent adoption from China. Prospective adoptive parents must work through a US Hague Accredited agency that is also CCAA approved.

The CCAA has placed strict requirements on prospective adoptive families. As of May 1, 2007, the following criteria must be met in order to adopt from China:

  • Only heterosexual married couples (who have been married for at least two years) may adopt from China. In the case that the prospective parents have been married and divorced previously (no more than two previous marriages), the couple must be married for at least five years prior to application.
  • Both husband and wife must be between the ages of 30 and 50. When adopting a child with special needs, husband and wife must be between the ages of 30 and 55.
  • Both husband and wife must be completely healthy both physically and mentally. Individuals with any of the following health conditions will NOT be eligible to adopt:
  1. AIDS;
  2. mental handicap;
  3. infectious disease within infective stage;
  4. binocular blind or binocular parallax or monocular blink and with no ocular prosthesis;
  5. binaural hearing loss or language function loss; adoption of special needs children who have identical conditions will be exempt from this limitation;
  6. afunction or dysfunction of limbs or trunk cause by impairment, incompleteness, numbness or deformation; severe facial deformation;
  7. sever diseases which requires long term treatment and which affect life expectancy, like malignant tumor, lupus erythematosus, nephrosis, epilepsy, and etc.;
  8. post-surgery of major organs transplantation, not yet 10 years;
  9. schizophrenia;
  10. medication for severe mental disorders, like depression, mania, or anxiety neurosis, and etc, stopped not more than 2 years;
  11. BMI over 40
  • The husband or wife must hold a stable occupation. The annual family income must be $10,000 for each family member including the child you intend to adopt with a net value of $80,000.
  • Both the husband and the wife must graduated from high school, completed a degree of higher education or vocational skills training.
  • There cannot be more than five children under the age of 18 residing in the home and the youngest child must be over the age of 1. Those adopting a child with special needs are exempt from this requirement.
  • Both husband and wife must have a clean criminal record with no history of domestic violence, child abuse, substance or alcohol abuse.
  • Adoptive parents must be able to provide a safe and loving home for the adopted child and must agree to provide post-placement reports for a designated amount of time following the adoption of the child.
Adopting a child from China, on average, costs between $20,000-$25,000. Most of the children available for adoption reside in one of China's child welfare institutes, however, there are some children who live in foster care. The timeline from dossier log-in date (LID) to referral from China is approximately 30-36 months (though some agencies are reporting even longer waiting times due to the back log of dossiers). Once you have received and accepted a referral, travel occurs approximately three months later. At least one parent must travel to China to complete the adoption (although keep in mind that, the absence of one parent will effect the child's visa status. . .I will discuss this in a separate post), with the average stay in China being 10-14 days.

For more information regarding adoption from China, please take a moment to visit the following links:

China Adoption Blogs (many of these families have links to other China adoption blogs):

Checking Boxes
Our Journey to Kaelie
Loving Lauren
Jem China
Catherine's Chatter
Waiting for Lexi
Liptacks and Ladybugs

Circle of Love
Salsa in China
Imagine Alyzabeth An
Our Long Journey to Kaelin
Journey to Mary Alice
Baby Izabella
Sunflowers and Ladybugs
Journey to Malia

If you are interested in learning more about adopting a child from China, I highly recommend visiting the links provided as well as joining a support or informational group of families who are currently in the process or have already returned home with their child/children. I have found through my own experience that gathering information from those who have "been-there-done-that" is often the most valuable and "raw" information you will find regarding the process from each country. A great place to start looking for support groups is Yahoo Groups.

Stay tuned for Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries (this will include Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Estonia). If there is a specific country you would like to learn more about, please let me know!

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