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 Agencies are requested to look for children within required deadline, otherwise the files will be withdrawn by CCCWA when the deadline is closing.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

Transfer of EACI India and China adoption cases to IAN

As many of you know, EACI adoption agency lost it’s Hague status in December of 2016. As a result they had to move all their programs to other agencies. IAN was identified to take on India and China Cases. We have spent the last month or more working to make this transfer as smooth a possible and welcoming these families to IAN. It has been a difficult time for all those families involved, but we are happy that the transfer is completed and we can focus on serving our new families and their prospective adoption children!

The State Department issued more information for those transfer families on Friday, and we are posting that here so that our new families can stay informed! Please be sure to read this carefully, and follow up with our office as needed. Thanks to all our families’ patience, current and new, as we have worked on this. We are so thankful to be serving our growing network of families and children.

Click here for the State Department Update Concerning EACI transfer cases

Here is the full text of the update from the State Department:

EAC Case Transfer Approval Information

February 3, 2017

The Department of State confirms that the Council on Accreditation (COA) reviewed case transfer plans for the following European Adoption Consultants, Inc. (EAC) intercountry adoption programs. If you have been working with EAC to adopt a child from a country that is not listed below, COA is currently reviewing EAC’s case transfer plan for that country. We will update this site with new information as it becomes available.

Country

Agency

Date Plan Finalized

Bulgaria

Global Adoption Services, Inc.

January 13, 2017

China

International Adoption Net

January 13, 2017

Colombia

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 20, 2017

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

1:17 Center for Global Adoption

January 18, 2017

Haiti

All Blessings International Inc., dba Kentucky Adoption Services

January 18, 2017

Honduras

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 18, 2017

India

International Adoption Net

January 13, 2017

Poland

Global Adoption Services Inc.

January 20, 2017

Tanzania

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 20, 2017

Uganda (families without referrals)

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 20, 2017

Ukraine

Creative Adoptions Inc.

January 20, 2017

Please note that EAC clients are under no obligation to work with the adoption service provider (ASP) named in EAC’s case transfer plan. EAC is required to execute a plan to transfer their in-process adoption cases to a designated agency, however, some families may instead request that the case be transferred to an alternate primary provider. COA has advised that in those cases, prospective adoptive parents should send a request to EAC indicating a preferred ASP to which EAC should transfer the case. COA should be copied on this correspondence.

COA has also advised that EAC reports they will be reaching out to clients to obtain written consent to release records. Such consent should comply with the guidance provided here . COA expects EAC to execute their case transfer plans within 10 days of receipt of COA’s letter confirming its review of EAC’s case transfer plan.

The state of Ohio, where EAC is licensed, has informed the Department of State that under Ohio law, if a prospective adoptive parent submits a request to have their case transferred, the agency must act upon that request pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code 5101-2-48-19. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to copy the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, fostercare_licensing@jfs.oio.gov , on email communications with EAC regarding case transfers. Please include “EAC” in the subject line if you do so.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has also informed us that families experiencing difficulties getting EAC to transfer their file, or experiencing any other issues with EAC, may wish to submit a statement to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/about-ag/file-a-complaint , or call the hotline at 800-282-0515 or 614-466-4986. The hotline takes complaint calls Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST. Prospective adoptive parents who submit concerns in writing should include “EAC” in the subject line.

REVIEW OF CASE TRANSFER PLANS

When reviewing the transfer plan, COA verifies that the ASP selected to receive the adoption cases meets the following criteria:

  • the ASP is currently accredited or approved;
  • the ASP’s accreditation is valid for a sufficient period of time or the ASP has an application for renewal of its accreditation or approval pending and has made significant progress through the renewal process;
  • the ASP is not currently subject to an adverse action compromising their accreditation status; and
  • the ASP is authorized to work in the country they will receive cases for if such authorization is required.

COA’s review of the transfer is limited to the criteria listed above. It is important to note that while COA has verified that the ASPs are eligible at this time to receive EAC’s cases, there is no way to guarantee the new primary provider will remain eligible to provide adoption services.

POST-PLACEMENT AND POST-ADOPTION REPORTING

EAC is prohibited from providing adoption services, including “monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption”, and therefore EAC is prohibited from providing post-placement services, including post-placement reporting. Prospective adoptive parents who obtained custody or guardianship of a child and have not yet finalized the adoption need to find an accredited or approved ASP to provide any remaining services, including completing post-placement reports as required by the child’s country of origin.

The prohibition on providing adoption services does not apply to completion of post-adoption reports, which are required after an adoption has been finalized, to the extent allowed by state law and the country of origin’s requirements. Please be aware, that a foreign government may choose not to accept post-adoption reports from a debarred adoption service provider.

Families should be advised that the government of India has informed us that they will not accept post-adoption or post-placement reporting from EAC. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

FEES

Federal regulations require EAC to complete the refund of fees paid for services not yet rendered within 60 days of the debarment. EAC should provide prospective adoptive parents with information on any refunds they may be eligible for or details of any fees that have not yet been expended for providing services that can be transferred to a new agency.

THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE’S ROLE

The Department of State’s role with case transfer plans is limited. As stated in the Notice regarding Case Transfer Responsibilities of Intercountry Adoption Service Providers , under 22 CFR 96.87, the agency or person’s execution of its transfer plans is under the oversight of the Accrediting Entity, the Council on Accreditation. The Department of State does not review or approve case transfer plans. The Department does, however, communicate with foreign Central Authorities and competent adoption authorities about the accreditation status of agencies and persons and case transfer plans, as needed.

Please continue to communicate directly with EAC and COA regarding specific questions related to your adoption case transfer.

5 Questions to Ask If You Are Considering Adoption

/contact/ This is a guest post from our partner Diane Hogan. She is an adoptive parent twice over, adoption and education expert, and President of A Step Ahead Adoption Services.

Are you a family who want to start or build your family and don’t know if adoption is right for you? If so, you have probably been on the Internet looking at all the choices, options and decisions you would need to make to just take the first step into adoption. Hopefully this article will help you understand your choices, fine tune your options and guide your decision-making process.

There are 3 primary paths to adopting a child – domestic (US) adoption, international adoption and/or foster-to-adoption. How do you know which path is best for you? Consider the child you see coming into your home and ask yourself these 5 simple questions:

1) What age is this child? Most domestic adoptions are newborn-to-1 year of age placements; most international adoptions are toddler-thru-school aged; most foster-to-adoption placements are 1-year to 18-years of age (after 18, most children “age out” of the foster care system).

2) What race or races of child can you consider? In domestic adoption, you have children of all colors of the rainbow and racial combinations; however, the least placed race (in the US) is Asian. For foster-to-adoption, again all the possible racial combinations of children are eagerly awaiting their forever families. International adoptions, you have to be country-specific, thus you will be defining race(s) upon selecting a country. To get an overview of options in this area, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/adoption-process.html

3) What timeframe are you considering? Most domestic (US) adoptions can occur in 1-year or less unless you are gender-specific and then that could take up to 2 years. International adoptions are country-specific and will be dependent on how well your US agency or attorney is connected with the foreign country’s embassy, orphanages and laws. Generally speaking allow a minimum of 2 years for the process. For foster-to-adoption, you would need to be able and willing to foster a child until they are eligible for the adoption rolls. That process is often 1-2 years depending on your county’s policy for a birth parents time to attempt reunification – the goal of the foster system.

4) Are you gender-specific? If so, then focus more on international or foster-to-adoption because it is much easier to select a boy or girl, or both! In domestic adoption, you become dependent on a gender-defining ultra sound or waiting for a born baby.

5) Do you have a budget defined? Most domestic and international adoptions are running $30,000 -$50,000 for the cost of preparing, adopting and traveling. Foster-to-adoption is more affordable as you may only be asked to pay for legal fees and travel. Remember, we currently do have an adoption tax credit that may assist you after you adopt. For more information, see: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html

Still confused? Feel free to send us an email or give us a call. We provide adoption education, guidance, support and resource referrals for many various aspects of adoption. If you are a family desiring a domestic adoption or adoption education, we have consultants across the US to talk with you and discuss the process of domestic adoption. If you are considering an international or foster program, we can connect you with agencies speializing in the programs you are interested in.

Diane Hogan is an adoptive mom of two “babies” (now respectively 21 years of age and 18 years of age). Along with her husband she adopted domestically and has two open adoptions. She hold BS and MA degrees in education. Worked for 20 years in public education (classroom teacher, curriculum developer, program specialist, teacher trainer). Besides her two children, she is most proud of her 2-years or remission from Hodgkins’ Lymphoma! Diane now owns/operates A Step Ahead Adoption Services for the last 16 years from Colorado Springs, CO. A Step Ahead Adoption Services (ASA), in the big picture, is a consulting services designed to help adoptive parents seeking a domestic adoption through an agency or attorney in the US. We educate, guide, support our client families who are seeking a domestic or international adoption. ASA also provides education for agencies and law firms that work in adoption. They can offer 1:1 classes, workshops and seminars. They have an extensive online adoption & parenting library for client families (over 80 documents), a prerecorded 20-minute class on the domestic adoption procedure and 45 short vignettes of interviews with adoptees, adoptive parents and an occupational therapist. Our ASA clients have access to all of those educational materials. ASA contracts with consultants who work for us across the US to support adoptive families and agencies. If you prefer to go international or foster-to-adopt, we will happily refer you to professionals in your area. ASA website is: www.astepaheadadoption.com .

If you would like your article posted as a guest on our blog, please contact us.