China’s central adoption authority, the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) has announced a new program to advocate for children on the country’s “Shared List” who have been waiting to be adopted. Previously, the CCCWA has maintained a list of about 2,500 to 3,000 children who are older and/or have moderate to major special needs. Families were not able to view the list directly, but could work with any agency to adopt one of the waiting children. However, many of the children remained on the list for a long time, with medical and developmental records that grew more and more outdated with each year that passed.
The CCCWA has selected more than 2,000 children from the Shared List and designated four adoption agencies (Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI), Holt International Children’s Services, Gladney Center for Adoption, and Lifeline Children’s Services) in the United States to update their files, post them to the longstanding adoption advocacy resource and photolisting website RainbowKids.com, and actively advocate on their behalf. Prospective adoptive parents will be able to directly view and request information about the children on what’s being called China’s “Former Shared List,” or the “FSL,” after creating a RainbowKids account. The China adoption community hopes that the FSL will help many more children who have been waiting for adoption for years find families.
At press time, there were still many unknowns about the FSL. No one knew why only four agencies had been chosen to participate, why these specific agencies were chosen, or whether the program would expand to more agencies. All four of the agencies, however, have indicated that they would be open to transferring files to other agencies that had interested prospective families. The agencies in question were preparing to send staff to China throughout the fall to work with orphanages, social workers, and medical personnel to update the children’s files and post the information online.