Looking Towards the Future for Chinese Adoptions

More changes were announced this week for the China adoption program. Just two weeks ago, agencies and families learned that the CCCWA placed tighter restrictions on adoptive families, including limiting the number of children in the home and requiring the youngest child in the home to be at least three years old before proceeding with another adoption. You can reference the complete list of changes here .

Yesterday, we learned that the CCCWA will end One to One orphanage partnership programs that allowed orphanages and adoption agencies to form partnerships for direct referral of children. This is effective December 31, 2017. Previously, based on other announcements from CCCWA, we believed that as orphanage partnerships expired, they would not be renewed, but this is no longer the case. Instead they will just all end at one time at the end of this year, no matter the time remaining in the contract. In addition, hosting programs for waiting children will also end.

From the CCCWA:

Announcement

July 18, 2017

Relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving countries,

Following the enactment of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-Governmental Organizations within the Territory of China (hereinafter referred to as Administration Law) since January 1, we would like to notify as follows on relevant issues about the programs carried out by adoption agencies such as the One-to-One Assistance Program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program based on the regulations of the Administrative law and conclusions of competent authorities:

  1. All activities concerning the One-to-One program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program will be terminated. For children who have been assessed by adoption agencies through the One-to-One program before the enactment of the Administrative Law and whose reports have not been submitted to CCCWA, if their reports are submitted through the provincial department of civil affairs to CCCWA before December 31, 2017 (subjected to the approval date of the provincial department), CCCWA will post these files to the specific list of the original adoption agency. Agencies are requested to look for children within required deadline, otherwise the files will be withdrawn by CCCWA when the deadline is closing.

  2. Foreign adoption agencies should abide by the business scope specified in the registration when working in China. No activities with inter-country adoption as the purpose are allowed when agencies work in welfare and charity related activities.

  3. Adoption agencies should look for adoptive families according to the requirements outlined in the Review Points for Decision on the Eligibility of Foreigners Adopting from China and avoid hasty placements without discretion within the deadline.

-China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption Center

So, what does this mean for agencies and adoptive families?

Agencies will no longer receive agency designated files from their previous partnership orphanages as they have in the past. Any children that Agencies are holding from one-to-one programs must be turned over to the CCCWA. Our hope will be they will eventually all be released to the database of waiting children. This could mean that their will be an increase in children available to all agencies to reserve and match with their families. This will make the process more consistent across the board for Agencies and Families, as well as more exposure for children who may have been waiting with one agency for some time. Prior to One to One partnerships, agencies requested all files from the shared list to match with potential families, so that will be the only way to match moving forward.

For adoptive families, this could mean a longer wait time for a referral of a young, minor needs child since those referrals generally came directly from orphanages. However, this is being seen across the board for all agencies. Overall, we have seen a decline in the number of young children with minor correctable needs being placed for international adoption. The culture in China appears to be changing, as more Chinese families are adopting domestically, which is great news for the children, as they are able to maintain their birth culture. Keep in mind that “minor and correctable needs” mean different things for different families. While one family would consider multiple surgeries for cleft lip and palate minor and correctable, another family could view surgeries and years of speech therapy as a long-term challenge that they could not undertake. There are thousands of children in China with varying medical and special needs waiting for families that are ready to be adopted internationally. Now with healthier children being placed in the general database just like those with special needs, it could mean more matching opportunities. As files are returned to CCCWA and hopefully submitted to the database, we will know more of what to expect. Overall adoptive families considering China need to go into the program flexible in gender, age and prepared to adopt a child with medical needs.

An obvious downside is the cessation of hosting, which has been crucial in years past to placing older children and those with more complex special needs. Hosting has helped hundreds of children be exposed to a wonderful experience, as well as increased opportunities to find their forever family. This option for children will be sorely missed, and hopefully agencies can work together to advocate for the return of such programs.

What we do know is that the China adoption program remains to be a stable and predictable program for families hoping to adopt internationally. The China program has encountered changes throughout the years and is still a strong program that places many beautiful children in loving families. We will continue to work diligently to unite children with their families as we navigate these recent changes.

Updated China Adoption Requirements

Recently China updated their adoption regulations concerning international families who desire to adopt. There are new qualifications to consider if you are interested in adopting from this program. Some of these have been in place for some time, and are now being reinforced. We are seeing an increase in denials of adoption applications with the CCCWA due to these stricter guidelines. While we are disappointed to see there will be more families who do not qualify, we are understanding that this is a direct result from non-compliance to post adoption reporting, as well as their concerns with placing multiple children with medical needs into the same home. This is still a viable program for the majority of families, and the need is still very great.

If you have any questions about how this will affect your adoption, or if you still qualify for the program, please contact your coordinator.

Here is the update from the CCCWA:

June 30,2017

Relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving states,

In order to further promote the scientific and standardized level of inter- country adoption, and implement our working principle “everything for the children”, we have refined and improved the review points for deciding the eligibility of foreigners adopting from China, in accordance with the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and Measures for Registration of Adoption of Children by Foreigners in the People’s Republic of China, as well as the practice of paper review of CCCWA.

I. Age

1. The prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) should reach the age of 30, and the age difference between the PAP and the adoptee should be not more than 50 years.

2. When a couple adopts together, the age difference should be counted based on the age of the younger party.

II. Marital Status

1. The PAP(s) should be a couple of one male and one female, or a single female with no homosexual tendency.

2. In the adoption by a couple (couple adoption), the PAPs should have a stable marital status, either party should have not more than 2 divorces. If one party has no divorce history or 1 divorce, their current marriage should last not less than 2 years. If one party has 2 divorces, their current marriage should last not less than 5 years.

3. In calculating the marriage lasting time for PAPs, the time living together before their marriage can be included. When calculating the number of divorces, widow and remarriage after divorce are not included.

III. Health Conditions

The PAPs should be physically and mentally fit, with the ability to raise and educate the adoptee, but without any of the following conditions:

(1) Intellectual disability;

(2) HIV positive, or infectious disease that is actively contagious;

(3) Schizophrenia;

(4) Mental disorder including mania, depression, bipolar affective disorder, anxiety and phobia, etc. PAP(s) with minor symptoms and are under good control by taking medicine, assessed by a psychological professional as having no effects on their normal work and life and fit to care and educate the adoptee, will be exempt from this limitation;

(5) Binocular blindness, binocular low vision or monocular blindness with no ocular prosthesis;

(6) Severe facial deformation;

(7) Binaural hearing loss or language function loss; PAPs who adopt children with identical conditions, or with one party of a couple healthy will be exempt from this limitation;

(8) Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limb, paralysis or deformation;

(9) Diseases that require long-term treatment, and have bad prognosis which will affect PAPs’ child care ability such as lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.; In a couple adoption, if one party is completely healthy and the other suffers any of such diseases but is under good control after treatment, they will be exempt from this limitation if they can provide a doctor’s note to attest that the illness has no effects on their normal work and life and fit for caring the adoptee;

(10) Skin cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer and testicular cancer that has been cured for less than 3 years; other kinds of cancer or malignant tumor that has been cured less than 5 years;

(11) Vital organ transplant within 10 years; In a couple adoption, if one party is healthy and the other party had organ transplant within 10 years but has recovered to live a normal life, they will be exempt from this limitation;

(12) BMI (BMI=weight (kg)/ height2 (m2) )≥40;

(13) Short stature or dwarfism; PAPs who adopt children with identical conditions will be exempt from this limitation.

IV Educational background

The PAPs should have received senior high school education or above, or vocational and technical skills education of the same level. V. Family Financial Conditions

1. The PAPs (at least one party of a couple in a couple adoption) should have stable occupation and income. The per-capita annual income of a family including the prospective adoptee should reach 10,000 USD; When calculating the family per-capita annual income in an adoption by a single parent, the number of family members should be one more than the actual family member number after adoption

2. Couple adoption’s family net worth should reach 80,000 USD, and single adoption’s family net worth should reach 100,000 USD.

3. Welfare allowance such as relief fund, pension, disability benefits, adoption subsidy, foster care subsidy and disabled child subsidy, etc. are not included in the family annual income.

4. Proper relaxation can be granted to foreigners living in China on the aspects of family annual income and net worth.

VI Moral Characters

The PAPs should have no record of criminal penalties, have good moral characters, honorable behaviors and abide by laws and regulations, without any of the following circumstances:

(1) a history of domestic violence, sex abuse, abandonment/abuse of children (even if they were not arrested or convicted);

(2) a history of taking drugs including opium, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, smokable methamphetamine and etc;

(3) a history of alcohol abuse and have stopped drinking for less than 10 years.

Adoption application will be given due consideration when the PAPs have had no more than 3 criminal records with minor violations and no severe outcomes, and the time for correction has reached 10 years; or have had no more than 5 records of traffic law violation with no severe outcomes.

VII Children in the House

1. The adoption of orphans, disable children, or abandoned infants and children whose parents cannot be ascertained or found, are not subject to the requirement that the adopter should be childless.

2. The PAPs should have enough time and energy to take care of the minors in the house including the prospective adoptee. In a couple adoption, the number of minors living in the house of the PAPs should be not more than 5; in a single adoption, the number of minors in the house of the PAPs should be not more than 2.

3. The youngest child in the house should reach 3 years old.

VIII Adoption Frequency and Numbers

1. Adopters should submit post placement reports as required after the adoption; There should be a 1 year interval between the second adoption application and the previous one (from the registration date of the previous adoption to the current adoption application date).

2. In principle, the PAPs should adopt 1 child from China at a time.

3. In a couple adoption, if adoptee is a twin or multiple births or have siblings, the adoption will be exempt from the limitation of item 2.

VIII Others

1. The PAPs should receive pre-adoption training to have a correct cognition and understanding of the possible risks of inter-country adoption, be fully prepared for the adoption and care of the adoptee. The PAPs should promise in the inter-country adoption application letter that they will not abandon or maltreat the child to be adopted, and will submit post placement reports as required.

2. As for PAPs residing in countries other than their birth country, if they intend to apply to adopt from China, they should reside in countries which have cooperative relationship with China in inter-country adoption, or in contracting states of the Hague Convention.

3. This document does not apply to stepchild adoptions. As for the adoption of a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship, relaxation will be granted properly.

4. Time or age is calculated based on the adoption application dossier’s log-in-date at CCCWA.

5. This document shall enter into force as of the date of issuance. In the event of any inconsistency between this document and previous CCCWA regulations or notices, the review points of this document shall apply.

China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption