Families looking forward to adopting from China may have been disturbed by a flood of reports on China's tightened restrictions on marital status and stability, income, education level, health, and age of prospective foster parents. However, Chinese officials in charge of adoptive affairs clarified in Chinese media that the country has no plan to change its basic policies on intercountry adoption, while the policy adjustment is to give adopted children a better growing environment.
China has established cooperation on adoption with 16 countries. The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA), a social welfare institution under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, is the only government-authorized agency in charge of intercountry adoption in China. Director of CCAA Lu Ying, interviewed by People's Daily in January, stressed that China will continue to comply with the principles of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption which states that possibilities for placement of the child within the state of origin have been given due consideration and an intercountry adoption is in the child's best interests. China officially ratified the convention in September 2005 and became a member state on January 1, 2006.
Lu said the last few years have witnessed a sharp increase of parents applying to adopt Chinese children due to transparent and well-regulated procedures of the intercountry adoption in China. Numbers of adoptable babies have declined steadily while domestic adoption demand keeps climbing. Lu said currently the waiting period to adopt a Chinese child for foreigners has been extended to around 15 months.
Under such circumstances, CCAA has adopted suggestions from foreign adoption agencies to put families on the waiting list into different queues, according to their conditions. Therefore, referrals from families in more favorable situations-such as a straight couple in a stable marriage and parents both between 30 and 50-will be given priority in viewing. The new measure will go into effect from May 2007.
Lu said the new measure, which could be revised in implementation, could benefit three parties, namely orphaned children, prospective adoptive parents and adoption agencies. It can guarantee orphaned children, especially handicapped children, quicker access to family care, rehabilitation, better foster care and education. It can also shorten the waiting for more qualified families and ease their worries. As for foreign adoption agencies, they can improve work efficiency by selecting applications of families better qualified for new measure to CCAA.