Sunday, August 27, 2006

Predicting the Future of China Adoption

A cursory view of nearly every adoption blog and newsgroup shows that the air is abuzz with speculation and rumors of what the future holds for China adoption. Although there is significant data and history on which accurate assessments can be based, it seems that nearly everyone is at a loss to explain why things are changing so dramatically.

As adoptive families, it is helpful to assess the current situation with tools learned in basic Economics 101. It is clear that China's international adoption program is experiencing a supply "crunch", which is to say that there are too few children available for immediate adoption to waiting foreign families. The immediate cause of this crunch was the Hunan stoppage that began in December 2005, and is just now ending. But a longer view shows that it has been building for years.

It is a misperception to think that this situation appeared overnight. In fact, a glance at the Yahoogroups dedicated to the various orphanages shows that each year orphanages have been added to the International Adoption program to bring in additional supply of children. This was done to compensate for the falling abandonment rates in the existing member orphanages. The goal is to keep the supply as constant and predictable as possible, and it has worked pretty well.

It is well-known that three Provinces provide a majority of the children adopted through the IA program -- Guangdong, Jiangxi and Hunan. When Hunan adoptions were paused in late December 2005, it took 20-25% of the adoptable children out of the supply pool. China's options were limited, especially since this was a very temporary problem. It was forced to let the "demand" back up, leading to longer and longer referral wait times. The DTC to referral wait times now stand at approximately 14 months.

With Hunan Province now coming back on line (we should see substantial Hunan referrals in the next month or so), the supply-demand equation should normalize. But China still faces a demand imbalance. Hunan doesn't totally explain the longer DTC referral wait times, just a portion of it. Thus, China is taking further actions to bring things into line.

It seems likely at this point that one step China will make in the near-term is the dramatic reduction, if not outright elimination, of the singles program. China has had ambivalent attitudes towards this program for years, and has taken periodic steps to reduce the number of singles that could adopt. This ambivalence stems from the cultural belief that children should be raised by two-parent families, coupled with the desire that China's children not be raised by homosexuals. Letters of Declarations (required by single applicants declaring their heterosexuality) aside, it is widely believed that gay parents continue to apply for adoption. Thus, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the first step to reducing the number of families permitted to adopt would be the elimination of the singles program (A compromise solution to outright elimination of these families would be the requirement that they apply for a waiting child).

Additional restrictions seem likely, perhaps health restrictions, income requirements, lowering upper-age limits for parents, and other means of reducing the number of families eligible to adopt. Additionally, new orphanages will probably be brought into the IA program. These changes are intended to bring the supply-demand equation back into balance.

But the referral wait time will not be brought back below 12 months, the stated goal of the CCAA, because simply put the longer wait times work to China's favor. As wait times increase, more families look to alternative options, and one option that will be presented in ever more favorable light is the waiting children program. Expedited referrals will be used to improve the attractiveness of this program, and many families will opt to adopt a Special Needs child, thereby reducing the demand for the healthy young children that are becoming increasingly more difficult for China to supply.

If viewed through the prism of simple supply-demand models, the events of the last 12 months become understandable. Often as waiting families we focus on each months referals, feverishly projecting the past to try and ascertain the future (one website has projected the wait time for a family submitting their paperwork today at 2 1/2 years!). By stepping back, we can see the larger picture, and see how the steps being taken by China will impact how adoptions are done. With most of China's orphanages now in modern, third-generation facilities, the "need" for monies derived from the IA program is diminishing. It still exists, and for that reason the IA program will continue. But we must realize that it is China's right, and perogative, to alter the program as they see fit to insure the life-long well-being of her children.


Anonymous said...

Brian, do you think the upcoming Beijing Olympics in '08 have any impact on the issues right now?

Lori Melton said...

Thank you for that insight Brian. But I would like to add that Special Needs children are most often healthy. Some have physical differences that make them ineligible for the traditional program ie missing fingers, toes or limbs, crossed eyes, albinism, etc. Some are simply older. Some have had "issues" that have been corrected, like cleft lips or heart conditions, but are still ineligible. Some have conditions like heart conditions that can be easily corrected. My daughter has a hole in her heart that has not required surgery and my son has a large mole on his face. Both are healthy.

Thanks again, Lori Melton

dianne said...

Now Brian this is the post i've been waiting for you to post,it says it all,well writen,and thanks for sharing your views once again.

LID Dec./05

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to distill this information. It is quite sobering as we scramble to get our home study submitted ASAP as I am 52 years old.

Steve T

Anonymous said...

Brian, thanks for your perspective. That makes things clearer for me.
My question now is - do you believe the new restrictions will be retroactively applied those already LID or only applied to new files once the restrictions are officially announced?

Ray said...

Thus, China is taking further actions to bring things into line.

Well, they certainly can't make the paperwork more burdensome.

Cheryl said...

I guess then the best thing is for us waiting families is for us to wish for some kind of event that causes many people to be close together for a period of time increasing the chances for unplanned births and thus increases in the amount of kiddos available for adoption. I say this in all honesty since statistics show thatpopulations increase when things like that happen.- perhaps a few power outtages might spur on a few new babies available for adoption- not that I will be the one to go over there and pull some plugs- but if the wait continues, it sounds like a good idea. (we have waited 10 mos so far and our friends who did the paper chase with us decided to adopt a special needs child and are in Guangzhou right now with her).

Sewhopeful22 said...

Thank you so much! I have scoured the web over the last few months trying to find facts. I joined a few forums in my information hunt and am disappointed to find so much speculation and negativity.

Hasn't there also been a trend the last few years where a larger amount of dossiers are sent in the summer months therefore those months find a longer wait time?

LID 3/22/06
Waiting for Hope... literally

Anonymous said...

I can agree with most of your points except that there do seem to be plenty of children needing homes in orphanges that don't paticipate in IA. The director of our agency was recently in China as a guest of CCAA and wrote about his experience seeing many children in orphanges which saddened him. It was upsetting to him that these orphanages did not paticipate in IA when they had so many children.

Joyce and Jeff said...

WOW!!!! Just what I needed to hear...logical and to the point. I'm tired of all the doomsday stuff. I'm one of the poor people who went to that website and saw the 2 1/2 year wait and it really discouraged me. I really APPRECIATE this post. Thanks,

Anonymous said...

"I guess then the best thing is for us waiting families is for us to wish for some kind of event that causes many people to be close together for a period of time increasing the chances for unplanned births and thus increases in the amount of kiddos available for adoption. "

Are you kidding? I sincerely hope you'll go back and think about what you so glibly put forth. We aren't talking about breeding pure bred dogs. Wow. Horrifying.

Anonymous said...

Brian, I would like to comment about what you have said about the CCAA's desire for families to adopt waiting children. We are currently logged into the WC program and are awaiting a match directly from the CCAA. If orphanages truly are "bursting at the seams" with WC, then why are the wait times from LID to referral slowing down for this program as well? In previous years, I have heard that the wait for referral in this program could be as little as 2-3 months. I now know families in the WC program who have been logged in for 6 months, with no indication of receiving a referral anytime soon.

Research-China.Org said...

It is my understanding that the DTC wait for SN children is months shorter. As to why the wait is as long as it is? Who knows?


Carol said...

I was wondering when you would post this - as all of the yahoo boards are truly "screaming" not just a buzz...

I was one of the lucky singles - I just came home with my daughter last Dec 05-and truly plan to have my second daughter come from China. I am not gay - and yes I did have to write the letter - it seems CRAZY that China (or any country) would stop adoptions from singles - on the thought that 2 parents are better than one - well couldn't the argument that a family that makes $100K a year can provide better than a family that makes $40k - so why not eliminate the lower wage earners...just thinking out load. My point ( and there is one) is that chidlren are in many orphanages in China - that need parents who love them and can provide for them. As a single, I have a GREAT support system from my parents, other family and friends. They are ALWAYS there to lend a hand. My daughter has more love than most children - and the fact that she is absent a father - sure I wish she had a dad - but she has soooo many wonderful male role - models. (God father, uncles, grandfather, friends etc) It takes a village and I sure count on mine!

I truly pray that China does not make a decision on close the single program...there are soooo many sad faces that need families and MANY single people who would love to grow their family! I could go on and on...but I know you are but a vessel of information cast out to gather and transport to foreign lands.
Thanks for letting me stand on my soapbox.
Carol M
dd Kimberly - family day 121205

Anonymous said...

i am not believing that someone actually suggested that we hope for opportunities for asians to pro-create so there would be "kiddos" to adopt. how incredibly insensative...and idiotic...what a lack of respect for these birthmothers and the difficult journey that they must take for us to meet our daughters...that post is a disgrace to waiting families...

Anonymous said...

Ikes! Cheryl! The men and women of China do not exist for the sole purpose of birthing babies for westerners to adopt. Have a little sensitivity.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brian,

Historically, I have heard that Adoptive parents in other countries who are Chinese descent of 1st or 2nd generation get expedited processing. Does this have any baring on the longer wait for everyone else? What is the current wait for these individuals anyway compared to the rest of us?

Research-China.Org said...

Families of Chinese heritage do get expedited referrals, but how much quicker it is I don't know. Perhaps a reader can post that information.

The anonymous poster whose director visited an orphanage with lots of children should read my Hague Agreement blog article. Although I hear plenty of these anecdotal stories, I have yet to see or talk to an orphanage that fits this scenario. When investigated, I have found that the children they do have are SN, and those healthy babies present have already had their paperwork forwarded to the CCAA for adoption. If someone can provide the name and city of an orphanage that has healthy, unadopted children, I would love to investigate that.


PS -- I don't know any more than all of you as to what the final changes will be, or when they will be made applicable to families. I discount the probability that dramatic changes will be made retroactive to families already DTC, but it is certainly possible.

If I had the ear of the CCAA, I would strongly suggest moving singles and other "problem" families (in the eyes of the CCAA) to the SN program, rather than preventing them from adopting altogether. Like many who have posted, I firmly believe that there are many thousands of children who truly need homes, and should be given an opportunity to be adopted.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Cheryl, I'm absolutely appalled by your comment. Wishing for parents to make "mistakes" so that you can benefit??

How about wishing for things in China to change so that people are not pressured to give up their babies? How about wishing for improved status and equality for women in China? How about wishing for orphans to find homes and acceptance in their own community?

Those are the things I wish for - even if it would mean China closing its doors to international adoption and my losing the opportunity to adopt a child from China.

Beth Mcchesney said...

Thanks for this post, Brian. Thought provoking as usual. Would Agencies working with China ever be allowed to implement a really thorough sensitivity traning/cultural awareness for a-parents as a requirement? --As the Mom of two daughters from China, I see now how woefully prepared I was to take our children from their Chinese bithright and then ask them to assimilate into our own predominately white culture. I know nothing, really,of race in the US, and while trying to learn how to assimalate another culture into our home now, would have loved more dialogue. That seems scary for some--but so essential for our children, and like something Chinese officials would want for the children?

Anonymous said...

The current wait for expedited families is 6-7 months or 1/2 the wait for nonexpedited families. I'm not sure if this is calculated or just by chance.


Anonymous said...

Brian,thank you for this insight. As a family with a 2/17/06 LID I have been watching this long wait unfold since 11/05. However, I was not award of the IA program in China prior to that so it's nice to read your insight. You mentioned that China has continued to bring new orphanages on board in the IA program. Do you have any numbers on how many new orphanages have been added since 11/05? Also, how many more orphanages in Hunan still need to get back on board?


Research-China.Org said...

Dear Joanne:

Thanks for providing the current wait time for expedited families. I have wanted to do a study on the "invitation" program of new orphanages, but it is complicated by the fact that some of the new orphanages are "start-ups", meaning newly created orphanages, and some are established. To accurately chart it, I will need to find out which category each new orphanage belongs to.

All of the Hunan orphanages were off-line. Up until this month, the only referrals coming from Hunan were a small number of children whose paperwork was already on file with the CCAA in December. These referrals have been declining over the past few months. We received confirmation that the first post-scandal child was referred this month, so that means Hunan referrals should ramp back up in the next month or so.


Teresa said...

Anonymous 8/27/2006 7:46 PM said...
"We are currently logged into the WC program and are awaiting a match directly from the CCAA. If orphanages truly are "bursting at the seams" with WC, then why are the wait times from LID to referral slowing down for this program as well? In previous years, I have heard that the wait for referral in this program could be as little as 2-3 months. I now know families in the WC program who have been logged in for 6 months, with no indication of receiving a referral anytime soon."

There is a difference between how you have applied to adopt a SN child from China and the WC program.

With the WC program, you pre-ID a child who is listed with a particular adoption agency, petition specifically for that child, await pre-approval to adopt that particular child, then submit your dossier to China and await final approval to adopt that child, which comes in the form of a travel approval. This usually arrives in 2-3 months of submitting the dossier. There is a separate unit of the CCAA which handles these pre-ID'd children's adoptions.

When you request to adopt a SN child with no pre-ID, you go "into the hopper" with all the other NSN dossiers submitted in the same time frame as yours and await a referral, which is not necessarily an expedited referral.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brian. May I ask, is there a reason that China would prefer the wait times to hover at around 14-15 months as opposed to 2 and a half years? I mean, is there a point, for CHina, where longer and longer wait times become problematic for them, not just for us?

Anonymous said...

I was in China with a gay couple adopting--against China's policy. It wasn't up to me to "out" them, but regardless of how one feels about the restriction (or other restrictions, for that matter), going against China's requirements can only hurt everyone. I would hate for the singles program to be shut down because of people who ignore China's requirements. As it was, they were already taking a precious singles spot. I don't like to think they (and others likewise disrespecting China's rules) were contributing to the shut down of all singles adopting.
On another matter, I hope all Hunan SWIs open back up for adoption since it's not the babies' fault that the scandal took place. They need homes, too. Brian, do you think the older babies caught in the scandal will be adopted or will they be considered too old now to be adopted and just miss out on their families? It will be interesting to see if there are older babies coming out of Hunan province in the coming months.

Research-China.Org said...

China has stated that their goal is to keep the referral wait time at 12 months. I think the 2 1/2 year projection is extremely flawed, given the variables at play right now. It might take a while, however, for referral wait times to be brought back to 12 months. I don't think they will go much higher than they are now.

All indications is that the children held up in Hunan are going to be referred. I do think many of them also were adopted domestically, since the orphanages were prevented from adopting them internationally for 4 months.


Anonymous said...

Brian... I am so thankful that I happened on to your site. You post facts and not the "over the top" speculations and general hysteria that I have found on so many other adoption sites. Comments from your readers are usually insiteful and logical. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...


I think that you should do your research before making comments about the WC program. There is indeed a WC program at the CCAA. One is able to request a match directly from them without choosing a child off of a SN list. In this case the file is submitted to the WC department directly and does NOT wait in the same "line" as the NSN files (assuming that the agency involved understands the process and submits all of the required paperwork). The wait for this program IS expedited, but has been slowing down in recent months.

Laura said...

We received a NSN referral at the end of July for an 11 month old from Hunan. Her paperwork probably went to the CCAA in late April or May, so I think she is certainly a post-Hunan re-opening baby.

Brian found her finding-ad for us! Thanks Brian!

Laura D.

Teresa said...

Anonymous 8/28/2006 11:37 AM,
I think you should re-read my post. I didn't say there wasn't such a program with the CCAA (requesting to be matched with a SN child); I said that the program worked differently than the program that has come to be known as the Waiting Child program (requesting a pre-ID'd child). Further, it's been my experience that SN requests can and do process with the NSN requests, and they are not always expedited.


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that you had the gall to suggest that the people of China have some kind of mishap get together so they can birth more babies for us! I am totally appalled. They are not subjects in your own sick fertility experiment! These are human beings here! Every adoption comes from a loss to a woman and her family! Your insensitivity astounds me. I pray your adopted child never hears things like that come from you. Absolutely outrageous!

If there are fewer healthy children being abandoned in China, that is a good thing, even if it means we all have longer to wait. That is positive for the children and for the world in general. People should be allowed to keep their children. People should be allowed access to safe birth control so they can plan their families accordingly.

"In a perfect world, no child would ever have to be in an orphanage."


Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,
Just heard today that new restrictions will not affect people alreaddy logged in.
This agency got a lotoff phone calls from worried people, so they phoned to the ccaa last friday. after the CCAA will release the new restrictions, agency will have a few months to work towards this new restricions.

Gr Grace

Anonymous said...


It is my understanding that the terms SN and WC are used interchangibly by agencies and the CCAA. It is also my understanding (as explained to me by my agency) that there are three seperate and distinct "streams" at the CCAA: the NSN stream, the WC (or SN, if you choose) stream, and the expedited due to Chinese discent stream. As previously mentioned, if an agency is experienced with the WC stream, then the process of being matched with a WC directly from the CCAA SHOULD be expedited. The only reason that I could think of where this might not be the case would be in a situation where a dossier is submitted to the CCAA without a written request from the agency stating that the family has requested a WC.

Brian, do you have any comments about this?

Research-China.Org said...

There are three ways to adopt a child from China:

1) Non-Special Needs -- A family submits a dossier in which they request a healthy child. This is the way the majority of families process their adoption.

2) Special Needs -- A family submits their dossier with a letter indicating their desire to adopt a child with a special need. The do not know who their child is until they receive a referral. The wait time is very similar to the wait for a Non-Special Needs child. Few families go this way, as far as I've seen, because if a family is willing to adopt a child with special needs, they generally opt for the Waiting Child program.

3) Waiting Child -- To participate in the WC program, a family contacts an adoption agency that has WC files assigned from the CCAA. They are then granted access to the agency's listings (which are password protected), and can peruse the files and determine if one of the children is a match with the family. The family then completes a dossier, along with a letter identifying THAT SPECIFIC CHILD as the one you want to adopt. The agency then sends the CCAA a "letter of intent" on behalf of the family. The CCAA, if approval is granted, sends the agency a pre-approval notification. The family then submits their dossier, upon which final referral is granted. Pre-approval takes about 6-8 weeks, and dossier approval takes about 3 months (total 5 months if family is right on track). If the dossier is approved, travel approval is sent, and the family is able to travel immediately.

If a family is really on top of things, they can save many months wait by participating in the WC program (utilizing a dossier preparation service such as "Journey of Love Dossier Service [] can also shave months off of your process time).

Hope that helps clarify terminology.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for you post on predicting the future of China adoption. It is a mostly positive outlook and I hope it is proved correct (in regards to a 12 month wait time - not to singles being prevented from adopting!!).

In relation to previous posts about SN and NSN adoptions. I am one of those people who is requesting the referral of a SN child matched by CCAA. Our agency has included a letter requesting our application be expedited - and this request is based on the document "Provisional Regulations and Requirements by CCAA for Foreign Adoption Organizations
doing Adoption with China" which is on the CCAA site, posted:October 9, 2005. This document states that there are 3 reasons why a file can be expedited.

It states: "The process of handling adoption application documents may be expedited if the adoption applicant meets one of the following conditions:

(1) The adoption applicant applies for adopting disabled children or children of over six years of age;
(2) The two parties or one party of the adoption applicant is foreign Chinese;
(3) The adoption applicant has been working or studying in China and has been continuously residing in China for at more than one year."

We are presuming that by disabled children the CCAA are referring to SN children.

Our agency expects that our application will be expedited - but how much shorter our wait time will be they can not guess. Our agency is the only one in our country and they do not have a WC program.

Any comments on this would be appreciated.

Jane (New Zealand).

Anonymous said...

What a great blog. My wife and I are waiting for our referral (LID January 06) and welcome the insight provided by everyone. I especially appreciate the clarification of the special needs program as this may be an option if we elect to adopt another child after our intial adoption is completed. It is nice to hear that this is, at least partially, truly an issue related to a decrease in supply rather than an artificial constraint imposed by China. Thanks everyone for your comments.

Anonymous said...

"But we must realize that it is China's right, and perogative, to alter the program as they see fit to insure the life-long well-being of her children."

Are you suggesting that single parents are incapable of providing for the "Life-long well being" of their children? I realize that China has every right to decide on the rules for IA program, but as the single mom to 5 children, 4 adopted through the WCP from China (by my choice, not due to "single spot restrictions"), I find this comment incredulous. There are hundreds, if not thousands of single parents that have adopted through both the traditional and the WCP that are fabulous parents and have the necessary support systems to raise happy, healthy, well adjusted children both as birthparents and adoptive parents.

And to suggest that any parent that doesn't fit into the "perfect parent" (married, higher income, no health problems, 30-50 yrs old, not overweight, etc) be sent over to the WCP is just as ridiculous. In my mind, you are saying, as well as the CCAA, that the children adopted through the WCP don't deserve or need the best possible parents. OF course this is said tongue in cheek, as I believe singles and married couples can and do make wonderful parents to children from either program.

The WCP should not be used as a vehicle for faster adoptions, or for parents the CCAA does not deem "perfect". The children in the WCP deserve to be adopted by parents that WANT to parent a WC, not by parents that are forced into that program. I, personally, have turned down singles spots because I knew I wanted to adopt a waiting child. Do you know how many families that want to adopt a waiting child have not been able to due to families switching to the WCP for a quicker adoption? It is truly heartbreaking in my mind, that families are only switching to get their adoption done faster.

I feel fortunate that I took the leap, and adopted my son in August of this year. I already had four children, and was not sure if I wanted to adopt again. I cannot imagine my life without this little guy. He is my fourth adoption through the WCP. I have 2 sons and 2 daughters adopted from China. I have a daughter and a son with a limb difference, a son with a urogenital need that has been corrected, and a daughter with a heart issue. I feel that each of these children are in the home they were meant to be in. Each has their own story of how they came into our family, and each is as special and unique as the next.

If we want to talk about the children that are truly missing out, let's talk about the boys. Do you know that in the WCP, it is almost always the boys that are left on the WCP lists? Why are there so many people adopting girls through the WCP, but the boys stay on lists for months, and many of their files are returned? Maybe a new "rule" from the CCAA could change the destiny of all the boys that wait for their forever families.

Kelly-single mama to 5

Research-China.Org said...

To Kelly:

I am not in the position to judge anyone's ability to parent, nor do I do so. I am simply stating that in CHINA'S opinion, children generally should be raised by a two-parent household. Do I agree? No, since I adopted Meigon as a single dad.

Of course single parents can do a great job raising children. Of course families that make less than $40,000 can do a great job raising children. Of course, of course, of course!! But, China feels differently in this regard, and since they are in charge of finding the best homes possible (in their minds) for the children, they have the right to impliment additional restrictions. We might (and probably) won't agree with them, but it is their right.


Anonymous said...

I hope you weren't serious. If you were, then you live up to the awful Western enthocentric selfish first world piss-poor attitude that people are having babies, and abandoning them, just to meet your chiffon-colored track house middle suburbia next to Wal Mart needs. Please, go adopt a ladybug instead.


Research-China.Org said...

I think we have beaten up Cheryl enough. Her comments were insane, but let's stick to the topic at hand.



S. said...

I had a question. Some sites track referrals and in which province the children were born. It seems that almost all of the children are from SWI's in southern and central China. I have seen VERY few children from provinces in the northeast and northwest. Do those provinces have SWI's that participate in the IA program? Would you know any reason why there are not many children adopted from those areas?

Research-China.Org said...

China's population centers hug teh eastern coast areas, and relatively few people live in the western provinces. There are orphanages that participate in the IA program in almost every province, but with fewer people there are fewer children.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the straight talk. While this is a very emotional subject for all, it is important to remember that IA is a "business" of sorts - It is not all warm and fuzzy or PC.

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on the families that are of Chinese Descent. I am not sure I agree with that because a couple that we are LID with are both of Chinese descent and they are waiting just as long as we are.

Brian said...

My wife is ethnic Chinese and a citizen of Singapore. We asked to be expedited because of her ethnicity not knowing if it would be accepted. It was, but we didn't know it until we recieved a surprise phone call from our agency saying that our referral had arrived. Our wait from LID to referral was 4 months and 18 days. We were LID 10/10/05.

As to the post of other Chinese couples not being expedited, my wife and I know of two couples. In the first couple the wife is an immigrant from China and the husband is Chinese from Malaysia. But they recieved their referral during the time when the wait was already 6 months anyway.

The other couple we met in the airport as we were travelling to China to recieve our daughter this past spring. They were an interracial couple like my wife and I. The wife was ethnic Chinese but born in the USA.

We would love to know what made the difference in getting our dossier expedited when others have not been. The one thought I have is that we not only submitted my wife's birth certificate which lists her father's race as Chinese, but we also sent a copy of her Singapore identity card which lists her race as Chinese as well. So we had two official state issued documents declaring her race.

Brian - but not the author of this blog ;)

Anonymous said...

In order for adoptive parents of Chinese descent to qualify for expedited processing, they must meet the following criteria:

1) They must be NO MORE than 2nd generation Chinese. If one is an immigrant from China, their place of birth is reflected in the dossier. If one is born in the United States, but parents are from China, this is reflected on the birth certificates. 3rd generation and beyond do not have China as a place of origin reflected on their official documents.

2) They must request for expedited processing in the letter to CCAA along with request from the agency as well. Otherwise, their dossier gets channeled through the system like all of us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much to the person who wrote this:

"The WCP should not be used as a vehicle for faster adoptions, or for parents the CCAA does not deem "perfect". The children in the WCP deserve to be adopted by parents that WANT to parent a WC, not by parents that are forced into that program."


As the parent of two children adopted through the Waiting Child program (one of whom I gave up a singles slot for), I couldn't agree more whole-heartedly.

It upsets me to think of people taking part in the WC program just for quicker waits or because that was what they "qualified" for.

If a person goes into the WC program with that kind of outlook, I fear they will always view their child, no matter how much loved, as 'not quite what they really wanted.' And that would be awful for the child.

Only go into the waiting child program if it is truly your desire to parent a child with some kind of special need!

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Brian for your thoughtful postings. I always look forward to a new post on your site. Also, thanks to all those posting information about being expedited due to Chinese ancestry. Does anyone have experience and/or advice for us: We qualify to be expedited but, apparently, at log-in our file was put in with the non-Chinese heritage track. I could have handled the long wait much better if we had not been taken for a rollercoaster ride on unfounded promises. Now our agency just says "Give up, you can't switch into the expedited track because it didn't happen right at the beginning". I understand that the CCAA is reluctant to change anything for us because they are receiving many requests for switching to WC/SN due to the lengthening wait. I realize it reflects badly on me to be so impatient, but if it were possible to still be expedited I would jump at that opportunity (although in the rest of my life, I'm not usually a queue-jumper!). This would be our first child, the first child for the oldest son of a Chinese family (all born in China). Should we indeed give up and accept an 18 month wait when we could have gotten our referral already?

wishful Canadian mom
LID Nov 2005

Anonymous said...

Dear Brian,

If an pre-adoptive mother becomes pregnant during the wait after the family's dossier is logged in China, can you please comment on how CCAA handles a situation like this. I know it depends on many variables, but I would like to know general info.

Anonymous said...


thanks for your take on things. I've been interested to read some of the comments that people have made. I have to disagree with the "we've bashed Cheryl enough" post. If her comment was meant to be humorous it was in poor taste, and if not I hope someone is able to help her understand that what she said was wrong in so many ways.

I know that people have been hearing about how they may stop singles from adopting and set weight and wage restrictions, but I don't think that this will have a huge impact on timelines. What I do think will have an impact is to stop people who have LIDs in the NSN program from switching to the SN program.

I know that will cause a scream or two of "doesn't she think these SN children should be adopted?" but the fact is people have to understand how much work they cause when they start to play with the process after they've started. Everyone cries foul when CCAA makes up rules, but they don't seem to mind bending them when it suits their purposes. People seem to have been switching programs to speed up their referral. That's not to say it's wrong to want a child faster, or that these children don't need homes, but once you're in the process you need to think of what you're doing by switching. I think everyone's seen the pictures of the files at CCAA. Now tell me how they think their files get out of one huge stack into another program without a person physically getting up to search for them. That person who may have in the past been doing Log ins or reviews or matches. Yes there seems to be an agreement that there is a shortage of paper ready NSN babies, but there is also a surfeit of people who are switching programs.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir
What country have you been visiting?
I say this because friends been to china this year and have witnessed a city orphanage that had western input. To put it mildly it was like hell on earth. Babies were fed rarely there was one nanny to at least thirty children and babies while the other nannies disapeared for a two and half hour lunch break. the children were treated by the majority of nannies (there were six)with the air they were some how second class, as a previous poster said these children often only had mild things wrong such as cleft lip or heart problems.Non IA swi's can,it seems ,have very different standards & a kind of institutionalised lack of care/cruelty.Western input in cash terms is only one way of improving the childrens lot, my strongly held opinion is that the best option is that they be removed.This being achieved either through more orphanages becoming IA,facilitation of domestic fostering or closure & reopening under new management.

Eileen said...

I recently talked with a colleague who has lived for quite a long period of time in China. He was most recently involved in helping with improvements in their justice system. Anyway, in speaking with people there, he got an interesting take on Chinese adoption. Yes, they are happy that these children are finding homes, but they also feel like their country has "lost face" in the eyes of the international community because there has been so much attention on the plight of abandonded girls. They don't want other countries to think that they can't take care of their own. The slow-down, I've heard, is in part because they are trying very hard to get their in-country adoption program going, which would be a wonderful thing. Also, if not as many children are coming out of China, the situation may not seem so serious to the international community. Who knows. I do sincerely hope the slow-down is because there are fewer girls being abandonded.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Eileen. In 1990 less than 100 kids were adopted from China to the US. Last year it was nearly 8,000; estimated 12,000 worldwide. You can't stay on a track like this, and still be a Hague adoption convention ratifier, and expect to evade scrutiny. (Given that the Hague specifically defines IA to different-race parents, which is most of China/US IA, as the absolute last resort after domestic adoption and IA to same-race parents.)

the Olympics will also be a point of scrutiny as adoption stories during that time are, I think, inevitable given the way the media like to think they are providing the "big picture."

By regulating and encouraging domestic adoption China can, to a degree, mitigate any accusations that IA has morphed from a child-welfare effort to a child-export effort. (Considering the amount of money that changes hands, the latter charge is bound to be raised.)

It is hard to view things this way as a parent or prospective parent with only the best, loving, intentions at heart. But some portion of the "outside world" (outside the circle of IA) does indeed interpret events just this way. It is very hard on the prospective APs who signed on expecting one kind of timeframe, and being presented with this grossly inflated timeframe. But I think Brian's contention (that China will not just let IA expand/inflate indefinitely and that a pullback is inevitable) is right on the money, and consistent with both CCAA's actions and anecdotal reports.


Anonymous said...

Julie is right on in her comments.

Anonymous said...

Regarding expedites for 1st or 2nd generation Chinese born...

My wife and I were LID of 10/26/05. My wife is a first generation immigrant from China. We received our referral on 2/27/06. Man were we caught off-guard by the speed of the expedite, especially watching the lengthing times! So that put us with an expedited referral of just over 4 months.

Oh, and our baby was a referral from a Hunan orphanage, with a baby dossier dated in November of 2005, so one of the last before the freeze in that province.

So this class of expedite does indeed happen, but in fairnes our agency cautioned us that it is most often an expedite of about 2 months improvment (compared to the assumed old rates of 6-8 months for a non-expedite referral) and is NOT guaranteed.

Great post and analysis Brian! Much more sane and well thought out then so much of the "rumor mill" circulating in other channels. You actually put context behind what is happening and that is valuable for all waiting parents, even if the result is a bit bitter-sweet in terms of the waiting periods at present. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Brian - Thank you for your interesting perspective. I have a question that relates to the start of the slodown. Correct me if I am remembering incorrectly, but was China referring full months until Nov 05 when they started referring half months? Seems strang there would be a significant drop in just one month vs. a steady decline. If the Hunan stoppage accounts for 25% of the referrals, how does that alone explain the slowdown since it seems there is more than a 25% drop? And if shortage of children available due to decreased abandonments (which would be great), wouldn't you expect a steady decline in the number of referrals vs. a dramatic drop from Oct to Nov 05?
Again, please correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember the slow down happening quite suddenly. Thanks for your insight!


terrible speller said...

Ok, so I just found your blog. Huge Huge thanks for doing all this research. My husband and I begin our home study in 2 days for our Chinese adoption. I have am having a hard time deciding between adopting a toddller and an infant. After reading many of your articles, with the foreign demands as high as they are, seems like older toddlers would be a rare find. Do you think this is true? Also if you request a special needs child how severe is the need. We could handle clefts and minor defects but Cerebral Palsy is something our home and life style cannot manage. I would be completely open to special needs if I knew what generally they were. Can you help me? Thanks.

Research-China.Org said...

Generally speaking, healthy toddlers will be hard to find, primarily because the children are almost always found and adopted as infants. Some children are found as older children, and you might be able to adopt one of those.

Special Needs range from a large birthmark, minor cleft pallet, a sixth finger, to much more severe problems such as heart issues, emotional or mental issues, etc. In your letter of introduction to the CCAA, which will be submitted as part of your dossier, you can specify what issues you are willing to deal with.

Good luck!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information. I have been told of the extended wait period but I was told that the reason for this slow down was due to CCAA moving their office and other international adoption countries have closed their doors to foreign adoptions thus causing the bigger agencies to funnel their clients to China. Well whatever the case may be, the wait is so well worth it. We were fortunately a part of the 6 month assignments back in 2004 and we are now waiting on our 2nd child. Good luck to all of the families waiting out there. You won't believe how lucky you are until you hold that little baby.

Anonymous said...

The post was informative. My DH and I are in the wait and worried as we are older parents but I am hopeful that there are really fewer children in China to adopt. The fewer orphans in the world the better. I still pray for a daughter- but also a daughter that would otherwise be an orphan.

Anonymous said...

Brian, not trying to discredit your research, but I have noticed that the longer the wait times for non-SM children, the older the children seem to be at referral. Is this just my observation on a small scale or is this happening regularly? If it is happening regularly, that would lead me to believe there is somewhat of a "paper" slowdown. Let me know what your research has shown. Thanks.

Research-China.Org said...

Actually, the age has been faling over the past several months, but well within historical norms. One can track the ages of the children at referral at the following site:

This is a good example of what happens when one takes small samples and tries to determine what is going on.


Anonymous said...

Your article is very informative, but outdated. Is there anyway you would consider a follow up artucle. We in the China adoption waiting line are all hurting, worried and frustrated. It would be so wonderful to have some idea of what is going on now in 2008.

Research-China.Org said...

I will probably address this topic in the next month or so once I have my numbers from 2007 available.


Anonymous said...

Yikes...I was really surprised by your comment about power outages these moms can increase production. These are children not just objects. People are so caught up in getting what they want they forget there are alot of emotions on all sides that go into this adoption. As as a mom of a 7 yr old daughter (adopted at 10 mos) I was disgusted with your comment