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China Adoption

[China Adoption]
Photos courtesy Adoptive Families readers  

An Overview

Adoption of children from China to the United States began in 1992, when the Chinese government passed a law ratifying international adoption. In 2009, Americans adopted 3,001 children from China, the largest number from any country outside the U.S.

There is no independent adoption from China; American adopters work through U.S. agencies approved by the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA), and adoptions are processed in accordance with the Hague Convention.

The average age of children adopted from China is 11 months. Over 90% are girls, because of China's population control policies. One child adopted from China was found with a note that read: "In our countryside, the thought that man is more important than woman is very popular. I don't have the strength to overthrow it."

The CCAA placed restrictions on marital status, health, education, income, and previous legal history. Families who have adopted children from China have strong support networks throughout the United States. Join one of these online communities to connect with other families.

Fast Facts:

Number of Adoptions from China:
2009: 3,001
2008: 3,911
2007: 5,453
2006: 6,493
2005: 7,906
2004: 7,044
2003: 6,859
2002: 5,053

Age/Gender of Children Adopted From China in 2006
Source: INS Immigration Statistics
91% Female
44% under 1 year of age
52% 1 – 4 years of age

Estimated Cost: $20,000 to $25,000
Profile of Children: 91% girls; 44% under the age of 1 at the time of adoption (2006); all children eligible for adoption must be legally resident in one of China’s child welfare institutes. Some use of foster care.
Travel: At least one parent must travel to China to adopt. Average stay is 10-14 days. U.S. visa issued at consulate in Guangzhou.
Timeline: From completed dossier to referral, approximately 30 to 36 months, although agencies report lengthening wait times due to backlog of dossiers. Travel is normally three months after referral.
Family Status: Married couples only. Married a minimum of 2 years if a first marriage; 5 years if second or third marriage. No more than 2 previous marriages allowed for either spouse. No more than 4 children living in home. Both spouses must have H.S. diploma. Additional requirements regarding health, legal history, and income have also been put into place. Click here to read the full, verbatim text of CCAA's new guidelines.

Helpful articles from Adoptive Families Magazine:

Helpless Love, by Barbara Jones
Lost Daughters of China, a book review by Karin Evans
Sometime in the Night, by Doug Hood
Our Journey to China, by Dorit Opher Shapiro
Adopting Internationally, by Susan Freivalds

To Get Started in China Adoption:

Find an adoption agency with a China program through Adoptive Families' searchable database.

Join a parent support group near you. Find one that includes families who've adopted in China through the Adoptive Families searchable support group database or go to Families with Children from China, a national support group.

Attend a pre-adoption information meeting. Find one near you through Adoptive Families' searchable events database.

Consult these helpful books for families adopting in China:

Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son
by Kay Ann Johnson

When You Were Born in China: A Memory Book for Children Adopted from China
by Sara Dorow

Kids Like Me in China
by Ying Ying Fry and Amy Klatzkin

The Empty Lap
by Jill Smolowe

The Lost Daughters of China: Abandoned Girls, Their Journey to America, and The Search for a Missing Past
by Karin Evans

West Meets East: Americans Adopt Chinese Children
by Richard Tessler et al.

A Passage to the Heart: Writings from Families with Children from China
edited by Amy Klatzkin

Best online information sources for China preadopters:

The Web's Wide World
During the long wait, I found a surprising source of comfort right at my fingertips.
by Toddie Downs

Families with Children from China
The web site of the national parent support group contains a vast array of information about China adoption.

State of Adoption from China
This National Council for Adoption Report summarizes current research on children adopted from China and their families.

Raising China Children (Links Section)
The bookmarked files in the links section of this listserv contain a comprehensive list of site, list servs and other sources of information for those interested in adopting from China.

See also Adoptive Families' picks for the best Web sites for pre adopters.

Join one of these online communities:

A-Parents China (a-p-c), for pre-adoptive families.
This high-traffic list is a must for anyone waiting to adopt from China.

Post-Adopt-China, for families who have adopted from China.

Raising China Children, for families with pre-school and school age Adopted Chinese children.

Waiting Children China, for families interested in adopting a Waiting Child (with some kind of special need) from China.

Consult these Web sites to stay up to date:

Adoptive Families' News Ticker

China Center of Adoption Affairs

U.S. State Department—International Adoption:China

©2003 Adoptive Families. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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