Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Turning Point in Wait Times

Much has changed in the China adoption community since I posted this article last September (2006). The wait times have continued to increase, showing at this writing no signs of a significant acceleration. In fact, from what we know at this point, wait times are likely to reach 24 months by the end of 2007. I had assumed in September that the Hunan children held during the scandal period would help bring wait times down when they were "released" for adoption in April 2006, but this clearly did not happen. In all likelihood, many of those children were directed to domestic families, resulting in no "catch-up". The declining referral ages of the recently referred children is evidence that the CCAA is consuming what little supply they have.

The changes in requirements to go into affect in May 2007 will not have an impact on wait times until those May families are referred children, which will occur in late 2009 at current rates. Additionally, it seems likely that many families have accelerated their dossier preparation to beat the deadline, resulting in a higher-than-usual number of families in the pipeline between now and May.

There is no positive news in any of this for waiting families.

Brian
April 10, 2007

________________________

I have received many e-mails from waiting parents asking me if I think that the current wait situation is going to continue. Additionally, many ask how much impact the Hunan closure had on the wait times we are experiencing now. Drawing on the statistical data compiled monthly by Ralph Stirling (link), I have drawn out and compiled the referral wait times since the beginning of 2005 through last month, to see if the Hunan story (reported in October 2005) and its attendant closure of adoptions from that Province has had a discernable impact on referral wait times. In other words, were things slowing down before Hunan, or is Hunan the cause of this current slowdown.

Below is the number of days each month of log-in-dates (LID – the date a dossier is logged into the CCAA) until referrals were received for that month.

January 2005 – 180 days
February 2005 – 184 days
March 2005 – 196 days
April 2005 – 203 days
May 2005 – 216 days
June 2005 – 217 days
July 2005 – 201 days
August 2005 – 211 days
September 2005 – 211 days
October 2005 – 223 days
November 2005 – 245 days
December 2005 – 267 days
January 2006 – 275 days
February 2006 – 301 days
March 2006 – 324 days
April 2006 – 340 days
May 2006 – 360 days
June 2006 – 376 days
July 392 – 392 days
August 2006 – 402 days

Expressed graphically, it looks like this:


One can discern two main things: The trend of wait-times was already increasing in early 2005; the Hunan story has had a dramatic impact on wait-times.

What can families expect going forward? If nothing changes with China’s adoption policies, the wait times should decline over the next several months to the yellow trend line. Thus, if the Hunan stoppage had not taken place, one would expect that the wait time right now would be about 250 days. Thus, Hunan has added an additional 150 days to the current wait time. This has taken place over a period of 9 months, and it will take many months for the effect of Hunan coming back online to be fully seen.

But the underlying trend is still up, so we won’t see a return to the 200-day wait times. This is because overall, there are fewer healthy children available for adoption (for more on this, see my blog essay "The Hague Agreement and China's International Adoption Program"). For that reason, it seems likely that China will alter its policies in order to reduce the number of international families that can adopt. Their stated goal is to hold the wait-time at 365 days.

So, for families just now applying, or with dossiers already in China, what can they expect? Obviously it will take a few months for the available Hunan children to be referred. Thus, I believe that we are currently at the longest wait times we will see. Over the next several months we should see a dipping of the wait times. Within 6 months we should be back to the mean-average (yellow line). Any changes China makes to their adoption policy will not have an impact until late next year.

64 comments:

walternatives said...

I believe that the Hunan scandal might be a partial cause for the delays. But I really think that it is the "entry into force" of the Hague Convention that is slowing everything down. It was on 1/1/2006
that the PRC was EIF. Here is a link: http://hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=69
Considering all the the U.S. has to do to become a "Hague Country" I'm very curious as to what the PRC had to do. I don't understand why more people aren't talking about this aspect of the referral slow-down. Your thoughts/research?

Ray said...

Thanks for posting that graph and your analysis, Brian. There does seem to be a discernable "knee" in the trend line that probably corresponds to the Hunan shut down. We are most likely going to be DTC some time in October, so we'll be paying particular attention to these numbers.

Just to show how much they can fluctuate, when we were DTC April 2003 (logged in May 2003), the wait for referral at that time was 13 months, due to China just getting over the SARS crisis. However, we received our referral nine months later, in January 2004. It's hard to predict what will happen.

Research-China.Org said...

I don't believe that China's ratifying of the Hague Agreement has had any impact on the wait times, nor in the adoption process. Since the Hague Agreement is unratified by the U.S. and others, there is no legal ramifications imposed by not obeying its strictures. Additionally, in my interviews with orphanage directors, I have seen no changes imposed by the CCAA as a result of the ratification. At this point, China's ratification has been simply symbolic.

The same applies to the idea that the wait times are increasing due to added responsibilities given the CCAA concerning domestic adoptions. Although technically responsible for all adoptions, both domestic and international, the only discernable impact this has had for orphanages is increased interaction with the local Civil Affairs Offices. The CCAA has little, if any, direct control over domestic adoptions.

Brian

Julie said...

It is my personal opinion that the wait times are NOT just being affected by the FIVE orphanages that have been affected by the Hunan scandal.

The CCAA had been put in charge of domestic adoptions as well - and it has been my opinion all along that this is also contributing to the slow down. I was able to get some confirmation on that fact from an adoption agency director here in the states.

Anonymous said...

Math was not my strong point. Can you explain the yellow line again--is this where you expect wait times to be in 6 months? And wait times are still increasing at that point?

And what is the darker orange line?

Research-China.Org said...

The yellow trend line indicates where wait times would have been had Hunan not been a factor (obviously it is just an educated estimate, there is no way to factor in things like abandonment rates, domestic adoption rates, etc. at any given moment). The orange line is the trend line with Hunan factored in (the line ends where we are right now, so that is the actual impact).

Now that Hunan is resolved (I got my first post-Hunan finding ad request a week or so ago), we should see many more Hunan referrals, and a consequent decline in wait times, towards where it would have been (yellow trend line) is the scandal had never happened.

Brian

Research-China.Org said...

Julie:

The shutdown did not effect just the five orphanages (although those were officially closed) but EVERY orphanage in Hunan, which had their adoptions halted for 4 1/2 months. Thus the entire Province was effectively closed from December 2005 to April 2006, when the process started flowing again.

There certainly has been speculation that the added responsibilities of the CCAA from domestic adoptions has caused man-power bottlenecks, contributing to the slowdown. I have not seen anything to show that this has actually been the case. Domestic adoptions do not processed through the CCAA at this time. Domestic paperwork is not forwarded to the CCAA, so it is difficult to see what added "work" the CCAA is doing regarding domestic adoptions.

In other words, I discount that the domestic adoption program is adding anything to the wait times.

Brian

walternatives said...

Thanks for your reply.

The U.S. is, in fact, in process of ratifying the Hague Adoption Convention and it should be in place by 2007. I'm including pertinent links. NB: spaces should be removed.

For US Hague Implementation FAQ: http://travel.state.gov/family/
adoption/convention/
convention_3026.html

To be Hague compliant, there is so much that U.S. adoption agencies must do; see this State Dept. link: http://travel.state.gov/family/
adoption/convention/
convention_2806.html

The following link shows Advantages and Provisons of the Convention:

http://travel.state.gov/family/
adoption/convention/
convention_2300.html

I can't help but think that if we have to do so much to be a Hague Country, what did China have to do "Establish a set of internationally agreed minimum requirements and procedures uniformly to govern intercountry adoptions in which a child moves from one Convention party country to another" (US State Dept quote)?

Finally, this is a very, very informative link showing recent legislation and regulations with comments from Ethica, "An Ethical Voice for Independent Adoption."

http://www.ethicanet.org/
HagueRegComments.pdf

I think personally think that every American parent in the process of an international adoption would learn so much by reading those Ethica comments.
There was so much that I didn't know when considering IA.

I'm enjoying this dialogue. I'll look forward to reading your reply.

walternatives said...

Brian and Julie,

If more children are being adopted domestically, that equals less children available for adoption, right? So how could less children available for adoption NOT be affecting the referral slow-down? That doesn't make sense to me. Haven't our US agencies been saying that the slow-down is due to there being more dossiers coupled with less "paper-work ready" children available for adoption? Less children is less children. I'm with Julie on this one.

Research-China.Org said...

Walternatives:

Refering you back to the blog essay, the domestic adoption IS having an impact on the IA program, and is partially to blame for the increasing wait times. However, as my Hague Agreement article shows, the PRIMARY cause is the decreasing number of healthy infants being turned into the orphanages.

Thanks for the links to the Hague articles. Those are always appreciated!

Brian

Anonymous said...

Regarding your yellow line trend Brian.....Isn't the apparent upsurge over the last year or two in number of adopting parents in process also a causitive factor (sans Hunan of cousre)? Given the liekly assumption of flat (or slightly declining) levels of paper ready healthy babies in process, I would expect the supply demand balance to be affected here and result in lengthening of wait times.

Seems like there is noticable surge world wide for IA's in the China Program since early 2005, so this has to have an impact on lengthening wait times I would venture to guess.

Research-China.Org said...

Although anecdotally we assume there is an increase in adoptive families, the only firm evidence we have are the visas issued. It will be interesting to see how many total visa are issued in 2006.

Brian

martha said...

I wanted to say thanks for your post and the time you spent compiling your blog data. With an early 06 LID, I wish I had as much confidence in the wait times stabilizing and shortening as you seem to have.

akindofmagick said...

Hiya, Brian,

I am in agreement with you that we are approaching a pendulum point - tho I'm not sure we are there as yet. In my two adoptions from China, I've experienced both swings: seen a 14 month Wait for Referral drop to 8 months, and a 5.5 month Wait extend to 9 months. Both scenarios are fraught with angst... but, truth to tell, this is normative for becoming a parent through adoption, be it international or domestic... and (tho not having personally experienced this) I daresay this scenario is not exactly alien to biological parent-becoming, either.

Thanks for your insight!!

Sheri
-------------------------------------
http://akindofmagick1.blogspot.com

pamiegirlmd said...

Brian,

I am LID 9/9/06. We heard that the partial closing of Russian adoptions (healthy children) also had an impact on China wait times due to the great influx of dossiers being submitted as people transferred their adoption applications to China. Is this true and does your graph reflect that event contributing to the increase in wait times?

Thank you for your invaluable research!

Pam

Research-China.Org said...

It is very difficult to quantify how many families are submitting dossiers. A glance at the Yahoo DTC groups, for example, shows a few large months in July and August 2005, but this is too late to explain the current slowdown. These groups are not scientific, because membership is not random.

It is certainly possible that an increase in applying families is contributing to the slowdown, but absent any definitive data we can't judge how much impact it is having. Solid data does show, however, that the "supply" of healthy children is down, and I believe this is the main component to the slowdown.

Brian

Anonymous said...

All of the information at your website has been really helpful to me in trying to figure out what is going on with international adoption from China. But it's interesting to look at more than just 2005 and 2006 data (as I know you have done Brian in earlier posts) to have a sense of what could have caused the recent changes. If one looks at the number of adoptions to the U.S. each year it goes as follows (only every 2 yrs to save space):

1991: 115
1993: 362
1995: 2153
1997: 3616
1999: 4133
2001: 4723
2003: 6859
2005: 7906

(this is from U.S. State Dept data). No sign there of a slowdown heading into 2005. In fact if we extrapolate the 2003-05 growth to 2006 there would be about 8500 adoptions to the U.S. and about 13000 globally. Instead it will probably be about 60 percent lower than that number. From what I understand Hunan is less than 20 percent of total number of adoptions. So the stoppage there can't produce the kind of 60 percent slowdown that we are observing. Nor can it produce the accelerating trend in wait time increases starting in late 05.

Instead what seems most plausible to me is that there has been a major change in policy. Perhaps because of the increasing male/female ratio, perhaps because of the Beijing Olympics, hard to say I think.

Brian do you agree with this hypothesis? That a policy change is the most plausible driving factor? GDP and other measures of economic well-being have been improving I know but these were improving rapidly from 1991 to 2005 as well. Plus it's not clear that economic well-being is improving nearly as much in the rural areas where most of China's population still lives.

One other question - do you think that on average the 6500-8000 children from China who would have been adopted internationally in 2006 but were not given this sharp break in trend are better off now and will be better off in the future? Obviously difficult to come up with one simple measure of average well-being but I wonder if anyone is trying to track that in a systematic way. Maybe the policy change is a good thing for these children, though I suppose theoretically it could go either way.

Thanks Brian for all of the information on this site - it has been interesting and very helpful.

Research-China.Org said...

I think we can note the following as facts:

1) International adoptions have been increasing year-to-year since IA started in 1992.
2) Wait times have fluctuated over those years. Never, however, has the wait time changed as quickly as it has in the past 8 months.
3) Hunan's adoption processing was halted for 4 1/2 months beginning December 31, 2005. Hunan contributes approximately 20-25% of referrals.

Now, it is possible that China is intentionally "slowing the train" by decreasing the number of children they allow to be referred. However, in the past this has always been done with official announcements, and notification.

For me, all of the facts support the simplest solution -- that Hunan, coupled with a decline in the number of healthy babies, has resulted in a supply crunch. Assertions that the orphanages are "filled" with babies are anecdotal and unscientific. We don't know, for example, whether the children seen in the orphanages are already in process of being adopted, if they are in fact healthy, etc. Unless someone actually interviews the director about each child one can't know their status. Seeing 40 babies in cribs means nothing.

Additionally, if the "filled" orphanages proponents are correct, one has to explain why over 90% of orphanage directors surveyed by a native Chinese woman asking to adopt indicated they had no healthy children available (see my "Hague" blog essay).

People unfamiliar with China (and some who have never even been to China) make baseless and unfounded assessments of why the wait is getting longer. "Anonymous" in the last comment suggests possible alternative explanations. Certainly they are possible. But even his/her comment is constructed on an assertion that has no basis in facts: that this year's adoptions will be down by 60%. There is no data to support that assertion. It is possible, but I feel it unlikely.

Let's assume that the pace of adoptions is the same as last year (7900 adoptions to the U.S.). Let's also assume that the average wait in 2005 was 200 days. 7900 divided by 12 is 658 referrals per month.

Taking 25% for Hunan, let's now shut that Province down. So, after one month there is an unsatisfied "demand" of 164 dossiers (658*.25). This carries over to the next month. Thus, month two has a total demand of 822 dossiers. If the supply remains constant, the wait time will now increase from 200 (baseline) to 249 days. The following month it will increase to 312 days. One can see how a minor interuption in "supply" can have an immediate and profound impact on wait times.

China had a choice when faced with the temporary stoppage in Hunan -- they could increase the number of orphanages supplying the IA program to increase supply, or do nothing. They chose to not overreact, since they knew that Hunan would come back online in a few months.

Time will tell if my thesis is sound. In a month or two we should see a leveling off of the wait times, and a gradual decrease by the end of the year. This, coupled with imminent changes to policy on the part of the CCAA will bring the supply-demand imbalance back in line long-term. But families should realize that this experience shows how thin the supply of healthy babies in China's orphanages really is.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brian for your level-headed approach to posting info about China. Thanks also to all the others that participate in discussion - I always find this dialogue to be thoughtful and thought-provoking.

I don't doubt that referral times have been impacted by multiple factors, not least of which is the Hunan scandal. However, a recent conversation that we had with the director of our provincial government adoption department left me with the feeling that China does not want Hunan to be seen as the ONLY factor. We were told that in November a new director took over at CCAA - and the implications are that this new director is being more strict about regulations (?) or in some other way influencing the amount of IA referrals. The comments were sufficiently vague (!) as befits bureaucratic communication, but seemed to us that we were being given the official party line of the CCAA. References to the Hague signing and the huge influx of dossiers were also offered as part of the official explanation.

Has anyone else been told of new leadership at the CCAA? I admit I'm not sure what to make of that explanation.

Canadian mom-to-be

Research-China.Org said...

I think it is safe to say that China doesn't want Hunan to be having ANY impact on the wait times.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Sorry to everyone that I was not clear on how I arrived at that 60 percent reduction estimate this AM and thanks for your thoughtful response. Here goes:

Exactly twelve months ago the lag between LID and referral was about 6 months. In the last 12 months the CCAA has processed 144 days of log-in dates (thus essentially falling behind by 221 days, or more than 7 months). That's an average of 12 log-in dates per month during this 12-month period. That's 60 percent lower than the 30 per month that would be needed to keep the wait times constant.

I'm not sure what the number per month was right before one year ago, but can't imagine it was too much lower than 30 per month given that LID to referral was around 6 months. So maybe it's a 50-55 percent decline rather than a 60 percent decline.

Of course this isn't perfect because we don't know the number of LIDs on each date during that 144-day period but I think 144 is a sufficiently large number of days to suggest that it could not be simply because there are a lot of LIDs in a certain month.

To keep wait times constant, the CCAA needs to increase number of log-in dates processed per month by 150 percent (from average of 12 to 30). Certainly possible but that would be a big increase. I certainly hope that there is a large increase and I know many others who visit this site do as well.

And to answer the Canadian Mom to be I have heard the same thing about the change in CCAA leadership.

grace'smom said...

Brian said- "Domestic adoptions do not processed through the CCAA at this time. Domestic paperwork is not forwarded to the CCAA, so it is difficult to see what added "work" the CCAA is doing regarding domestic adoptions."

I have a friend who is native Chinese and adopting domestically in Beijing. She told me that all her paperwork went through the new office of domestic adoptions at the CCAA in the spring and she just got her referral from Guangdong.

So perhaps the CCAA is now processing the domestic adoptions now also.

Mary Beth said...

Dear Brian,

We are about to submit our dossier to China - our goal is to submit by 10/31/06. In light of your research and hopes for a decline in wait times next year, how long do you expect our wait time to be? Will we benefit from the projected decline? I was wondering if 12 months will be realistic for us.

Thank you very much.

Mary Beth

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Nice work as usual. I cannot help but think that the CCCA has an unoffcial IA quota per year.

I have not seen the statistics that show the number of people with dossiers in China that are being processed - Perhaps that is why some of the agencies are stating assume up to two years - maybe they know that they have X number of dossiers in the process and they have been told by the CCCA that IA adoptions has peaked (for any number of reasons) and simple math says the painfull wait time increases.

Research-China.Org said...

Regarding domestic adoptions and the CCAA:

I again checked with some directors in China, and they confirm that domestic adoptions DO NOT get any processing by the CCAA. They are handled locally with the Civil Affairs Office. Perhaps Grace's Mom's friend was married to a foreigner, which would constitute an international adoption, or perhaps Beijing residents are required to process through the CCAA, but the transfer of jurisdiction for domestic adoptions is in name only, and is having no impact on wait times.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brian for your work. In 2003-2004, the waittime went from 15 months to 6 months very quickly. We started out thinking 12 months, and then ended up being 7 months. It was a fun ride. To get to that point, CCAA referred 45 days at a time. Do you see this happening again? Otherwise, how would they get it down to 12 months unless they did over 30 days at a time? What are your thoughts on this?

Research-China.Org said...

Of course they will speed up the wait times (starting this month, I think), but I don't think they have the desire, or the ability, to get it much below 12 months.

Brian

Emily said...

Brian, what is your take on the length of the current batch of referrals (18 days)? It was my understanding that this time period was "light" on number of dossiers, so I'm not sure that the increase in number of days is telling us anything about what is to come.

Anonymous said...

Hello Brian,
I would be grateful to hear your thoughts on the most recent set of referrals (i.e. to August 9). Do you think this represents an increase in the amount of referrals that CCAA is doing or is it possible that there were fewer LIDs during the period from July 22-August 9? Secondly, do you think that the increased interest in the WC and SN programs will result in fewer NSN referrals simply because there is only a finite amount of manpower available to process referrals every month? (Sorry if you have already answered this question somewhere else, I can't really remember a distinct statement about it).
Thanks!

Research-China.Org said...

I am not certain anyone knows if a period is "heavy" or "light", since no one publishes the number of dossiers logged in on any given date. Other website speculate based on horribly unscientific "polls", but these are basically worthless for any analysis.

I think the recent referral batch is a turn in the right direction, but we will have to see if it sets a new trend. A good indicator will be the number of Hunan babies in this batch, which we should see in the next few days.

If a significant number of families switched to SN children, it is possible for a bottleneck to occur, but I don't think manpower at the CCAA is a significant constraint at this point.

Brian

E said...

You said:
The shutdown did not effect just the five orphanages (although those were officially closed) but EVERY orphanage in Hunan, which had their adoptions halted for 4 1/2 months. Thus the entire Province was effectively closed from December 2005 to April 2006, when the process started flowing again.

and ...
Hunan's adoption processing was halted for 4 1/2 months beginning December 31, 2005. Hunan contributes approximately 20-25% of referrals.

This is not true. And I cannot understand why so many rumor and speculative sites about Chinese adoption are trafficking in patently false statements. We received a referral on Jan. 25, 2006, for a child from Hunan. We met her March 28.
People in emotionally vulnerable states come to your site for reliable, factual information to help them through a very difficult time, and I've consistently seen things here that are embroidered, fabricated and just plain false. Why do you do this? Who are you serving by repeating inaccurate information?

Research-China.Org said...

To E:

Perhaps you have not been following my other essays, so I will clarify things for you.

In December 2005, the CCAA halted the submission of new dossiers from the orphanages in all of Hunan to the CCAA. The files were held at the Civil Affairs offices in each city. Thus, only children whose paperwork had been submitted prior to the end of December 2005 to the CCAA were processed. For that reason children from Hunan were indeed referred from January through this month, but in ever decreasing numbers as those in-process dossiers diminished. As the number of "in-process" children fell, the wait-time increased accordingly. Imagine it as a sink of water. You can shut off the tap, but water still flows out of the drain for a while as the backlog is used up.

In April 2006 the CCAA concluded its "investigation" and the held dossiers were permitted to be forwarded to the CCAA. These children, found in late December 2005 and January 2006, are now being referred this month.

Thus, the CCAA halted processing of new children for international adoption for almost five months, from January to May 2006.

A final word: This site does not spread rumors or misinformation. Everything I write is based on hard data or personal interviews with knowledgable people in China.

Brian

KellyMarie said...

Hi, I am new. I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments, I have learned so much. My question is.. How long does it take the CCAA to log your dossier? Our DTC was September 19th 2006?
Thanks!
Kelly

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this essay. I truly hope that your predictions are correct. It is some of the best news that those of thus in the waiting game have heard in a while.

Do you know if there were a lot of Hunan babies in this latest batch of referrals? Also, what is your guess as to when the wait may go back to 12 months? Dec? Jan? Perhaps earlier? With an early 2006 LID, I would love to see the timeframe go back to 12 months as quickly as possible, but since the wait has been getting longer for a year now, it is hard to believe it might actually start to really go back down.

Thanks!

Research-China.Org said...

There were many, many Hunan referrals this last batch, and I expect there to be even more next time. The next few months will determine the direction of wait-times, whether they head lower or continue higher. If they continue higher, and it becomes apparent that Hunan has little impact on wait times, I think it will be safe to say that China will have to do something significant to reduce the number of families that are able to adopt from China.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Do you think there is a possiblity that wait times could reach 24 months, as some (including, apparently, some agencies) are now speculating? Wouldn't that be unprecedented wait times for China internation adoption? I would think that keeping up with the USA refiled paperwork alone would make that a nightmare for the CCAA. Your thoughts?

Research-China.Org said...

No, I don't think they will head that high. I know of some people who are saying they will, but China will intervene to bring the number of families down befor that happens, I think.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Since there were many, many Hunan referrals in this last batch, do you think the CCAA referring 18 days is a step in the right direction or just more of the same that we've been seeing? They have referred 18 days before and then dropped down to 5, 7, 9 days again. Do you think they'll start referring whole months again? ever?

Thanks so much for your insight.

Research-China.Org said...

I think the batches should get larger, but it will take some requirements changes to push it down to 12 months or less. I do expect restrictions to be announced int he next month or so, but what they will be is a guess.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Hello , First of all, sorry but I am spanish and my english isn´t very good, I would like to know your personal opinion about:

1- Is really true in the last batch had been many childrens fron Hunan , How many in comparation with others months?
there are 20-25% from hunnan in the last batch?

2- what is a good time for us .
ccaa 06-06-2006 ..18 months wait time would be ok??

THANK YOU!! FROM SPAIN Many people here read every day your blog...mainly now becouse all people are very very sad thinking in 2 years until our referral

Research-China.Org said...

Welcome readers from Spain!! As I already posted, there has been a noticible increase in Hunan referrals from last batch, but not back up to speed yet. Next month will tell us more. Also, I don't see wait-times increasing to 24 months, as I believe the CCAA will take steps to prevent that from happening.

Brian

J said...

Brian,
Have you heard any word on whether the CCAA is working to get more orphanages approved for the IA program?

Also, I have heard that the central government did not approve CCAA's proposed new restrictions. Have you heard anything about this?

Could this be why the CCAA is now telling some countries that the wait may be 24 months, because their attempt to limit adoption applications failed???

Joanne

Research-China.Org said...

J:

I see new orphanages being added all the time. The interesting thing is that many directors indicated to us when we surveyed them early this year that any orphanage that wants to be part of the international adoption program can be. I have not been able to verify the process for participation though.

I haven't heard anything about the Government rejecting the CCAA's restrictions, but if they continue to run full-throttle that would create a situation where a 24 month wait becomes possible. I still think that is unlikely.

Brian

Anonymous said...

"but China will intervene to bring the number of families down befor that happens"

brian- what exactly is this statement based on?

Research-China.Org said...

My belief that China will impose restrictions is based on the CCAA's repeated statements that their intent is to hold the wait time to 12 months.

Anonymous said...

Brian,
Love your blog, thanks for all your work. I'm just curious, when you say CCAA has stated they want a wait timeframe of 12 mos, where does that come from? Have you read it? And, when have they last said that?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

brian...many people in spain, holland, etc have been sending information about 18-24 wait time....so much time,

all the people are very sad...I am trying to believe another thing...please tell us something

Anonymous said...

Brian, is it normal for the CCAA not to give information. It seems that no one really knows what the time frame will do and I find it hard to believe that an organization like the CCAA would not make a statement that lets people know what is happening. And I understand the whole, no paper ready babies and more dossiers. As someone with a business back ground, you can look at the number of finding ads being placed by orphanages and get an idea of how many children will be available 3 to 6 months out and then give estimates based on that.

I know when the time frame got long several years ago they put in place a limit on dossier until they got caught up. Do you know how long the wait was increasing before they made their statement?

Just trying to understand why we are not given better information on referral time lines.

Thanks for you thoughts,
HR

Research-China.Org said...

It is certainly a puzzling time. The CCAA has been very tight-lipped, and for that reason I have been convinced the problem was temporary. They obviously didn't want to say that Hunan, or other factors, was having a detrimental impact on the wait times.

The next cycle of referrals will tell us a lot. If their batch-size is around the same number as in previous months (less than a month's worth of dossiers) then I think we can look for some serious underlying issues -- too many dossiers verses the number of children. This will be a serious and long-term problem, not one that is short like Hunan referrals.

I still believe that wait-times will come down a little in the next few months, but also that some restrictions will be announced in the next month or so.

Brian

gf said...

Thanks for addressing the wait.

"They obviously didn't want to say that Hunan, or other factors, was having a detrimental impact on the wait times."
I wonder --could one of these unspoken "other factors" be the skyrocketing increase in birth defects due to rampant pollution?

That's something even out of the CCAA's control, and which I can see, for many political reasons, being downplayed -- yet which would have a deeply felt & long-term effect on NSN adoptions. Would also cause a scramble as officials attempted to deal with such a serious and perhaps unforseen issue.

(& could this be why the CCAA announced, last May, its new futire focus on IA SN adoptions?)

I'm very curious to know if fetal and infant abnormalities linked to pollution is of concern in China, and to whom? Is it being openly addressed by CCAA workers? Here in North America, the Chinese government recently made ONE official press statement (internationally) acknowledging this issue, but even then seemed to downplay the problem and utterly ignored enviro'l pollutants as the cause. I wonder: What is being said in newspapers & informally in your province or region in China?

So much attention in the overseas IA community has been on Hunan, but I see the wild explosion in pollution-related fetal abnormalities as having a far longer effect on the NSN adoptive community inside and outside China.

Just wondering what you're seeing and thinking. Useful to hear another perspective.

- a waiting parent

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Although you seem to have great connections in China, what do you make of the rumors that the wait times are increasing because of the CCAA taking over for domestic adoptions. One website (RQ) says that Jane Liedke has said that in some of her talks. What do you think?

Research-China.Org said...

I think that Jane (if she really said such a thing) relies too heavily on "official" sources that are obviously trying to paint as good a picture on this situation as possible.

The fact is, I have spoken with countless orphanages, and to-date not a single one has indicated any involvement of the CCAA in domestic adoptions. Not a single orphanage director has noted any changes in procedure over the past few years. But, nearly every director has indicated they are finding fewer babies. So, Jane and RQ and others can continue preaching that this is not a "baby supply" problem, but that point is lost on nearly every director I speak to.

Brian

Research-China.Org said...

China has a serious pollution problem, and undoubtedly this is impacting infant mortality and health. I know of no studies on this subject (readers?), but I don't think it is a viable explanation for the slowdown, since those kinds of problems tend to creep up slowly.

Brian

Anonymous said...

After reading all your blog with interest, I wonder if we might say that the things should improve in a few months?

I read lately that you say that there are less babies. then can they lower the waiting time anyway ?
do you think that shortly there might be quotas fot the dossieres like 2001 ??

thank you for all your help, I

Research-China.Org said...

Yes, to solve the wait problem China must impose restrictions on the number of families that can adopt.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brian, for your insights. I have made it a policy not to look on the blogs that seem to be all about rumors. You always have a solid foundation for your comments and I appreciate it even when it is not what I want to hear.

I understand that "the wait" has been as long as it is now in prior history. How did CCAA get back to the shorter referral times?

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,

I realize that the dates on these postings stop in October so perhaps things have not been updated? Here we are at the beginning of 2007 and wait times have only increased. Our agency is telling us we can expect to wait close to 2 years, although they are of course not specific. Our LID is 11/06. We are wondering if we should route our energies elsewhere. I know you cannot answer that question, but we are afraid that the wait times will continue even with the new restrictions since it really does seem to be a supply-demand issue. Any thought? Appreciate all your info as we all trod through these waiting times with so little reliable sources of info. Yours is the most thought-provoking and fact-based site I have seen, by far.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brian,

Its now February 2007, can you give your opinion of where you see the wait times going as of now.

Thank you.

Research-China.Org said...

I expect wait times to continue to increase for a while as the pre-new requirement families rush to get their paperwork submitted. By the end of the year or early next year, it should begin coming down.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Dear Brian,

In light of the opening of the Human orphanages, would there be some kind of decrease of wait times between the Sept 05 - Nov.06 referral wait times,not including the rush that's going to take place between Dec 06 to May 07.

Also, would it be possible to update your wait times graph?

Thank you so much!

Research-China.Org said...

Wait-times are impacted by two components -- available children and adopting parents. It seems that the number of seeking families has more than offset the increased number of available children coming from Hunan.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Could you provide us with your thoughts about how the "mad rush" to turn in paperwork before the new changes take effect in May will negatively or positively affect the wait times? We have a log in date of December 05 and can't imagine how the CCAA will keep up not only with their current massive baglog of dossiers and process the mass of incoming dossiers...the ones hoping to beat the deadline. Is it possible that the CCAA will want to get through some of the current backlog before it gets worse, and sets them back even more? We understand that it is a supply and demand issue, but we also know that it is an issue of getting the children whom are ready to be referred, paper ready. That would mean a lot more time on their part. But isn't it logical?

Research-China.Org said...

I think that wait-times will increase from this point as families do rush to beat the deadline. The age-at-referral data shows that the children are already being referred at historically low ages, so I don't see any room for improvement there.

Good luck!

Brian

Anonymous said...

A few questions...just out of curiosity, is the CCAA still encouraging more orphanages to be involved in IA program? And now that the Hunan orphanage has reopened why hasn't this helped to decrease the wait time, or at least keep it from increasing? There is so much we don't know, so much that seems unclear and somewhat political. If the CCAA could see (say, mid 2005) that the number of children available was decreasing...because it certainly did not happen overnight, then why didn't they place limits on how many dossiers agencies sent them (especially at the end of 2005). It all just doesn't make sense. Also, didn't the agencies know that the number of children available was decreasing (just as they now are fully aware that there are not enough children to match the families who are waiting). Why wouldn't the agencies themselves place a limit on the number of dossiers sent to China. It seems like somewhere along the way this could have been prevented...by someone. How on Earth did a backlog of 30,000+ dossiers happen without anyone seeing that it was going to be a potential problem? It seems to me that the CCAA might of needed a reason to make drastic changes to who can adopt from China. They needed a good reason in place, that reason being a huge backlog and wait time. Without this logical reason in place they would have been faulted for wanting to make such changes. The adoption community would want an explanation as to why, and now CCAA can provide them with a good one. It is just a thought...and I apologize if it seems somewhat accusatory. I know CCAA is a wonderful organization with super people working very hard, but it is difficult to believe that they didn't know this was going to happen. They had to see it coming: less abandonments, less implementation of the one child policy, and an increase in domestic adoptions does not account for the large number of waiting families. The Hunan scandal was the only unforseeable event. The others I just mentioned happened gradually. I apologize in advance if these questions were answered clearly in your essays and blogs. I do not expect for you to reiterate.