The land of tea and giant pandas used to be a hotspot for infant adoptions. While there is no longer a plethora of healthy baby girls being placed for international adoption, many families still adopt from China and are thrilled with their decision. Here are some things you need to know before pursuing a China adoption.
Children Available For a China Adoption
There is currently more than one track for adopting from China. The traditional adoption process takes a minimum of six years. It allows families to adopt a healthy child from any age group.
If you adopt through China’s Waiting Children Program, you can get a referral within 1-12 months of your dossier being sent to the country. Waiting children have a single medical condition, ranging anywhere from minor/correctable problems like a cleft palate to more moderate needs such as hearing impairments. These children are mostly boys, many of whom are between 2 and 4 years old. Some are only one year old.
You may also adopt through China’s Special Focus Adoption Program. These children have a more complex health condition, or more than one health condition, and are between six months and 14 years old. The process for adopting these children is expedited.
Cost of a China Adoption
Adopting from China can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 including home study fees, legal fees, travel, and lodging in the country. The National Adoption Tax Credit of $13,810 per child can be applied to recoup some of your payment. It is money that you will not have to pay in income taxes once your adoption is completed, and you have up to five years to collect it. Some states also have additional tax credits. Since you are adopting internationally, you will be able to claim the adoption tax credit as soon as the adoption is finalized by changing your W-9.
You may also ask your employer about assistance programs, as some will give you a flat fee per adopted child. There are also a number of adoption grants that you can apply for.
Who is Eligible For a China Adoption?
If you are a couple hoping to adopt from China, you and your spouse should both be between 30 and 49 years of age. If you adopt through the Waiting Children Program, you can be up to 55 years old, and older couples are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Couples in their first marriage need to be married at least two years. If you have been divorced, you must be married for at least 5 years. Individuals divorced more than twice are not eligible to adopt in China. Single women may adopt through the Special Focus Adoption Program, and single men are not eligible.
Both parents must be in excellent physical and mental health. If one parent is not in excellent health, both parents will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
If an adopting family has biological children, the youngest child needs to turn one year old before the family adopts from China. If the family has adopted, a year needs to have passed before their last adoption.
The Process of China Adoption
Families who adopt from China should research American agencies that facilitate Chinese adoptions before beginning the process. Your adoption agency will guide you step-by-step through the journey.
Some reputable agencies that work in China include Holt International Adoptions, All God’s Children, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, and Open Door Adoption Agency.
Your dossier, a set of legal documents verifying that you have met the requirements to adopt, is then sent to China. The country reviews each family’s dossier separately, trying to figure out the traits and characteristics of each family and matching them with children who have similar traits and temperaments.
You will then get a referral for a child and two weeks to make an informed decision about whether or not you choose to accept them. Some US hospitals, like the Medical College of Wisconsin, will review your child’s referral for a small donation and help you make sense of the medical terms and occasionally confusing language in the reports. They can give you a clearer picture of the needs and strengths of your child based on the file.
Once the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) approves your family, you can travel to China to meet your child.
Your in-country time will total 12–14 days. The first week is spent in the capital city of the province your child is being adopted from. China has strict requirements for orphanages and international adoption agencies that are allowed to place children in adoptive homes. It is in this city that you will receive your child’s passport.
Once your adoption is finalized, you will travel to Guangzhou, China, where you will complete the immigration visa process.
Finally, you can fly home with your new child. Adoption “gotcha days” are joyous occasions in which your young child meets grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends for the first time, sometimes in the airport after they arrive home. Many families continue to celebrate the anniversary for years to come.
If you are interested in adopting from China, you are in for an exciting adventure. Not only are you preparing a home for a child in need, but you are reaching across the globe to create a unique and wonderful family.