Friday, February 01, 2008

2007 Orphanage Submissions

With families anxiously wondering if wait times will be falling anytime soon, it might do well to look at the orphanage submissions for 2007. Although one can only estimate the demand side of the equation (DTC group memberships, agency surveys, etc.), the supply side -- the number of children submitted to the CCAA for adoption -- can be determined with certainty. The first step in the paperwork for submission is the publication of a newspaper "finding ad", and analyzing these ads gives a clear picture of trends for the next six to eight months. While some may hold the view that the orphanages are not submitting the files for all of their children, there is no evidence that this is the case. In fact, in all my interactions with the orphanages I visit and the directors I interview, I have never seen a single adoptable child that had not had her paperwork submitted.

As I have posted elsewhere, 2006 saw more than 10,000 files submitted to the CCAA from the nineteen main Provinces involved in international adoption. Individually, these Provinces submitted the following number of files in 2006:

Anhui -- 468
Chongqing -- 838
Fujian -- 161
Gansu -- 177
Guangdong -- 1935
Guangxi -- 901
Guizhou -- 184
Henan -- 196
Hubei -- 665
Hunan -- 955
Jiangsu -- 337
Jiangxi -- 2401
Liaoning -- 293
Inner Mongolia -- 95
Shaanxi -- 193
Shanxi -- 249
Sichuan -- 114
Yunnan -- 346
Zhejiang -- 113

The top four Provinces, Guangdong, Hunan Jiangxi and Guangxi, accounted for 6,192 submissions in 2006, or nearly 60% of the total.


Fifteen of these Provinces saw declines in submissions in 2007, including all of the top four. Individually, the Provinces submitted the following number of files to the CCAA in 2007, and the percentage in parenthesis indicates the increase or decrease from 2006:

Anhui -- 303 (-35%)
Chongqing -- 587 (-30%)
Fujian -- 166 (3%)
Gansu -- 152 (-14%)
Guangdong -- 1387 (-28%)
Guangxi -- 592 (-34%)
Guizhou -- 180 (-2%)
Henan -- 207 (6%)
Hubei -- 501 (-25%)
Hunan -- 600 (-37%)
Jiangsu -- 577 (71%)
Jiangxi -- 1970 (-18%)
Liaoning -- 352 (20%)
Inner Mongolia -- 69 (-27%)
Shaanxi -- 112 (-42%)
Shanxi -- 146 (-42%)
Sichuan -- 97 (-15%)
Yunnan -- 290 (-16%)
Zhejiang -- 149 (32%)

Five Provinces saw increases: Fujian, Henan, Jiangsu, Liaoning and Zhejiang. Collectively, these five Provinces increased their submissions by an additional 351 files from 2006 to 2007. These increases, however, had little impact on the massive decline from the remaining Provinces, which saw submissions fall 1,969 from 2006 to 2007. Taken together, submissions fell 22% across China last year.

Thus, the number of adoptable children continues to fall, a trend that began in earnest in 2003.

The immediate future of the wait time is determined by the number of files being received at the CCAA each month. So far in 2008, referals have been received by families who submitted their dossiers in December 2005, and they were matched with children whose paperwork was started in May and June 2007. Thus, the near-term outlook is for smaller referral batches, since July submissions are the second-lowest of the year, and the next five months' average is below the average of the entire year. Referrals will be extremely slow in the next few months as we approach the referral of children whose paperwork was submitted in October 2007. These children should be referred around May or June 2008.

The supply-side of the equation is bleak, but what about the "demand" side, the number of families waiting to be referred a child? How does that look over the next few months? Anecdotal evidence from agencies suggests demand through 2008 will remain strong, with no appreciative reduction in demand occurring until the May 2007 referrals are made (dossiers submitted in April 2007, the last batch before the new adoptions regulations took affect). One non-scientific demand indicator is the number of families in the DTC groups for each month. As one can see from the graph, demand in these groups makes a dramatic decline following April 2007 as the new regulations were implimented.

The recent staff reductions at the CCAA is another indicator of the future. Last week it was announced that most of the CCAA's "contract" employees were let go, including those involved in dossier review and the Waiting Child program. While some see this as strictly a cost reduction action, against the backdrop of decreasing supply it is almost certainly a rational business decision -- fewer people are needed to process the incoming number of files from the orphanages. This is clear evidence that things will not be improving in the foreseeable future.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any information on the number of families who have dropped out becasue of the long wait? I know some websites are posting a significant number of families pulling out....how do we get the read facts/numbers?

Another question- are finding adds placed after the CCAA paperwork has been sent or before?

Thanks!

Research-China.Org said...

I too have seen the speculation, but nothing solid. Agencies don't want the attrition rate to be made known, because it reflects poorly on the program, etc.

The ads are published before the child's paperwork is sent to the CCAA.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Why a reduction of staff for the SN program if China wants a shift from the NSN program to the SN program?

Research-China.Org said...

I don't really know what was behind the lay-offs, other than it indicates a long-term workload reduction. I don't think it necessarily indicates a shift in focus in any meaningful way.

Brian

Marie said...

Brian, I see that Jiangxi province is now the largest source of referrals, having outstripped the Guangdong province significantly in 2007. Why do you think there are so many children available in Jiangxi? My youngest daughter is from Nanchang, so I am wondering about this.

Research-China.Org said...

Marie:

There are several reasons why abandonments are decreasing in Guangdong faster than Jiangxi. The primary reasons is that Guangdong as a Province is becoming more affluent much faster than Jiangxi, which is very much a rural Province. Thus, families in Guangdong are able to pay the fees associated with having an extra child easier than those in Jiangxi.

Second, attitudes in Guangdong are much more progressive than in Jiangxi.

Lastly, most families in Guangdong understand the financial value attached to children, and this are less likely to simply abandon a child.

Brian

k2 said...

I'm still a little fuzzy on which regions are and are not participants in the international adoption program. Do the provinces and autonomous regions you didn't list: Hainan, Hebei,Heilongjiang, Jilin, Qinghai, Shandong, Ningxia, Xinjiang and Uygur part of the program? And won't implementation of the Hauge Treaty bring all government orphanages into the program?

Also, you listed information Chongqing but not Beijing, Shanghai, Macau or Tianjin. I know that Hong Kong has its own program, but I thought that Beijing was part of the international adoption program. Is that incorrect?

Thanks for clearing this up for me. I appreciate it.

Research-China.Org said...

K2:

All of the Provinces you listed do participate in the IA program, but at such low levels as to be irrelevant to an analysis of this size. That is why they were excluded. Provinces that do fewer than about 90 adoptions per year were excluded, such as Jilin, Ningxia, etc.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I have read and heard that rual china is kind of like the old wild west - and don't cross the local sheriff.

Could Jiangxi ( where my daughter is from) have more strict enforcement of the rules which contributes to the numbers ?

I heard that Fuzhou is down about 50% in the number of children placed in the last year.

NE

Anonymous said...

After watching "China's stolen children" and now understanding how the black market seems to be influencing the demand for children, could the decline that is seen be related to this new demand for children?
Could it be that the economy and the decline of children not necessarily be a good sign, but one that points towards a different direction that the "unwanted children of China" are headed into?
Rather than simply abandon a child and take the legal risks, would a family not be better off finding a local trafficker to sell the child to another family?
Do you really think that the numbers that we are seeing truly represent a decline or rather a change in where the kids are going?

Research-China.Org said...

The decline is comprised of several components -- improved economics that allow families to keep over-quota children; decreasing traditionalism that is eating away at the cultural impulse to prefer a male over a female child; and an increasing market in "baby brokers". These brokers range from village match-makers who locate families needing children, to full-scale traffickers that transport children to other areas of China for purchase and adoption.

All of these forces are playing a significant role in the declining abandonments.

It can no longer be rationally maintained that abandonments are not declining (in the sense that children are left to be found).

It can also not be rationally maintained that the healthy children that are brought to the orphanages are not adopted. Within weeks of finding their finding ads are published and their files are sent to the CCAA.

Families that believe that there is some conspiracy to hold back files, or that there are hidden pockets of adoptable children hiding somewhere are in denial, and not looking at the evidence with an open mind.

Brian

Amy said...

I really think that the hand writing is on the wall here, China does not have the need that it once did you IA. This is painful and frustrating for those waiting but it is the case at this point. I would love for my daughter to have a Chinese sister but that is just not going to happen. A sad reality but there it is.

Anonymous said...

Your data is interesting and is clearly based on your tracking finding ads in local chinese papers. You are assuming that all of these babies will have files sent to the CCAA right? So two questions 1) How do you know all of these files are sent to the CCAA and 2) How do you know you have found all the finding ads there are available in the provinces? I suspect you may have found a lot of these, but I doubt all of them. What data do you rely on to back up the statement that the number of finding ads reflect total files sent to the CCAA
3) Have you done any data analysis to show that the two appear related?

Research-China.Org said...

Although there is no direct confirmation that children who have had ads placed have their files sent to the CCAA, the cost of placing an ad (450 yuan) makes it unlikely an orphanage would publish one if they weren't forwarding the paperwork. It is the high cost that discourages orphanages from publishing an ad until the SN child is ready for adoption, and for that reason many SN children have their ads printed months or even years after they were found.

We track each orphanage's finding ads, and if we missed any ads we would be able to see it as a break in the "pattern" of the orphanages. We would also see it when a family requested an ad and we couldn't find it. Given those two pieces of evidence, we know we have 99% or more of the finding ads.

Now, finding ads are placed in different papers (usually) for domestic adoptions. So, if domestic adoption rates are increasing, you would see a decline in IA adoptions even if abandonment rates were steady. Thus, falling IA rates does not prove falling abandonment rates.

However, there is substantial evidence that abandonment rates are falling, which I have detailed elsewhere.

It grows increasingly likely that the adoption of NSN children will end soon. The question is only if China will continue their program with SN children, or end it all together.

Brian

Anonymous said...

If only a small percentage of children in state care are adopted oversea or domestically in the past why are rates of submission of childrens' files to the CCAA dropping now? It seems that the rates of submissions would remain steady and that woudl mean less chidren left in state care to grow up in the orphanages. I see files of older, healthy children all of the time that have been in state care since they were babies.

I am also wondering about the SN program. Since only about 30 agencies all over the world are now allowed to have SN lists at the present will this hurt the program? I have to wonder about the number of SN kids that will be left to languish in orphanages.

Research-China.Org said...

I think we need to look at it this way:

In the past (pre-2001) domestic adoption inside China was limited to only those couples who had no children. In 2001, the law was amended to allow families with one child to adopt a second child. This dramatically increased the domestic demand, and now about 50% of all domestic adoptions are to couples with a grown child already.

Additionally, increased financial resources have allowed more families to adopt.

Although older children are referred, seldom are they NSN, except in those rare cases where they were abandoned at an older age.

If anyone knows of an older, SNS child (over 2) that has been referred in the last two years, I would love to hear about it. All the cases that I have investigated involved children from disrupted adoptions (the first referral match fell through for one reason or another) or were for children abandoned at a late age.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian, you give many reasons for the declining abandonment rate, but I wonder if increasing access to ultrasound resulting in sex-selective abortion is a large component? I guess the only way to know would be to have the actual gender-imbalance statistics for each province. I wonder if in those provinces which have shown less female abandonment, there has been a rise in male:female gender inequality?
And what about female infanticide? Do you think this may be contributing to the decline in healthy abandoned-to-be-found baby girls?
Grazie

Anonymous said...

Brian
You write:
It grows increasingly likely that the adoption of NSN children will end soon. The question is only if China will continue their program with SN children, or end it all together.

This is a large statement. While we are waiting, when do you think this will go into effect? Do you think dossiers LID will rcv' a referral but that at a certain point they will not accept dossiers?

Thank you in advance

Research-China.Org said...

Of course ultrasound is having an impact on the birth of unwanted girls, but I doubt the effect is large. It would be fascinating to see accurate gender ratio statistics, but that is not possible, largely because the government itself doesn't get valid information.

As far as how the program will end, it is impossible to know exactly when it will occur. Should another baby-trafficking scandal be revealed, and the world once more have its attention drawn in a negative way to the China program, it seems likely that dramatic changes could occur. Additionally, as the backlog declines over the next year or two, it might be felt that the program could be modified.

In any case, I firmly feel that China will honor the petitions of those who have already applied.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I am start to question the direction CCAA is taking with their SN program. With only 30 agencies currently participating, and the most recent list had children with moderate to severe SN, it seems to point to a different direction. I guess like the rest of the China program, we shall wait and see where that direction takes us. Very frustrating!

Anonymous said...

Brian, do you think that there are more SN's kids being abandond compared to NSN's kids? I have been in an orphange that had a large amount of SN's kids and very few NSN's babies. I have to wonder if there are more birth defects happening now because of all the pollution, and so there are more children born with SN's then there was maybe 10 years ago.

Research-China.Org said...

Yes, the number of SN children born in China is rising rapidly due to pollution. Last year, China's National Population and Family Planning Commission said that birth defects had risen 40% since 2001, now accounting for 4 to 6% of all births.

What is interesting to me, however, is that so few of the 2 to 3 million children born with visible defects end up in the orphanages!

Brian

Anonymous said...

"So far in 2008, referals have been received by families who submitted their dossiers in December 2005, and they were matched with children whose paperwork was started in May and June 2007."

Maybe, but our agency just received proposals for children whose medicals were dated Dec07.

And about CCAA laying off staff ... hasn't CCAA implemented an on-line system that is streamlining the process?

You have been known to say that SWIs prefer to adopt internationally, but I've been told recently by someone on the "inside" that SWIs actually prefer domestic adoption because the paperwork is easier & quicker and children are adopted out of the SWI faster. I've also been told that couples who meet the domestic adoption requirements in China are actually adopting within months, not years.

Wonder why the two very different stories?

Research-China.Org said...

Medical reports are not the first step to submission, and the medical reports are filed out several times from the time a child is brought tot he orphanage until they are adopted. The first official step for international adoption is the publication of the finding ad, which I use as the first step. No doubt all of the ads for your agencies referrals were published months earlier than the medical report.

I have never said that all directors prefer international adoption, but the majority do. It is true that the process for domestic adoption is much different than for international (see my blog essay on domestic adoption inside China for a detailed treatment of that process). Technically, as soon as the adoptive family inside China gains the adoption certificate from the family planning they can appear at the orphanage and walk out with their child.

The main incentive for orphanages to adopt internationally is, of course, the money. Although families inside China might chose adoption, not many can afford to pay the equivalent of $3,000 US. Since directors are largely responsible to raise the funds needed to operate their Social Welfare Institute, the incentive is to place the children where the cash flow will be maximized. Usually, that is with international families.

Brian

Chrissy said...

Is there any info on Hebei? Do they post finding ads as well? Just wondering becuase two of my younger sisters are from Hebei.

Research-China.Org said...

Chrissy:

Hebei publishes ads like the other Provinces, but the adoption rates from Hebei are too low to include.

Brian

Kristine said...

Brian

"Lastly, most families in Guangdong understand the financial value attached to children, and this are less likely to simply abandon a child."

Your statement above says it all now, doesn't it. I wonder how many people really understand the statement. Before the orphanage directors seemed to prefer IA due to the huge $ from IA. Now the birth parents seem to have seen the light or dollar signs and are jumping on the bandwagon and are realizing "the financial value" attached to their children. Such a shame isn't it.

Let's hope the work of some dedicated people can end the unethical behaviours of many people.

Kristine

Anonymous said...

Dear Brian, the Hunan scandal was one of the reasons why we preferred to choose the SN-program for our second adoption. Unfortunately, our agency has no waiting child program, so our file was initially sent NSN and we sent a LOI requesting a direct SN-matching a couple of weeks later. So far we have had no confirmation at all from China that our file is now considered SN. I feel very uncomfortable by the hurdles in the SN-procedure. Does the CCAA has second thoughts about the SN-procedure and do they want to discourage it? Their unpredictable policy gives us the feeling that we are claiming a child, while that’s the last thing we want. Very frustrating…
Terry, Belgium

Research-China.Org said...

Terry:

I totally understand your frustration. I would ask your agency of government representative to petition directly with the CCAA for confirmation that you are in the SN program. Other than that, you can only wait. You have done as much as you can. I don't understand some of the actions of the CCAA either.

Brian

Anonymous said...

As far as birth defects, my perfect NSN daughter from Chongqing has at least 3 of them. She will have an operation to correct two of them next month. I'm sure this is common among NSN babies.
Grazie

Anonymous said...

Brian,
Do you think we could just wake up one day and the CCAA will state that all dossiers in the system will now only be for the SN program and that the NSN program will be gone? We started paperwork for #3, but pulled out due to a potential 4-5 year wait for the NSN program.

Lynn

Research-China.Org said...

Lynn:

I doubt it would happen as abruptly as that. It might be that NSN families begin getting more and more referrals for repaired SNs, and that will be the new normality. But when the backlog through May 2007 is referred, I would expect a change to be made.

Brian

Anonymous said...

In terms of waiting times, etc. I am wondering if you have any information on whether the CCAA logs in files over the weekend? That is - are weekend days included in the LIDs that are assigned to families? In essence if they are referring 8 LIDs as in the past referral is it possibly really only 6 days with actually folks logged in and the other two days the office was closed & had no files logged in on those days. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Alison said...

I, too, wonder how many APs drop out once their dossier is in China due to the long wait, and because they have to continue to pay additional money for updates, etc. Will the US gov't change some of their requirements so that people don't have to pay more and more? Also, I wonder who is still signing up for Chinese adoption? The extreme wait and uncertainty must drive most people away. I assume that the people who stay in are parents with another child from China who desire a sibling of the same race. Also, I do know that major American agencies who deal specifically in Chinese adoption have had layoffs. For all those people waiting, I hope that the program continues, but I have my doubts...

Anonymous said...

I understand that the wait time is long right now and isn't going to get much better in the near term.

But - there are also 20,000people waiting in line for a still viable NSN program of 4500 +/-children a year.

At 4500 children a year or even if it dropped to 2800 children a year it would still be one of the top two largest IA programs in the world.

I think the prediction of a complete demise of the program is a bit premature - but I also agree that to enter into this program right now, unless you are set up to wait 4 years, is not worth the uncertanty.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Do you have any information on the orphanages not currently involved with IA beginning to refer children for IA? I understand that a limited number of orphanages are in the IA program currently and that soon, all orphanages will be referring for IA.

Research-China.Org said...

Although orphanages are being added all the time, they are almost always small facilities that bring little to the "pool". In talking with new orphanages and those not in the program, there is not much incentive to go through the facility upgrades, and additional investments required to become an IA facility. It seems unblikely that significant numbers will come from this area.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I've seen a number of older, healthy children on the 'hard to match' SN wait lists. In most cases, their stories indicate early abandonment but they've been in foster care for a number of years and are now back at the orphanage. Why do you think these healthy kids were not adopted prior to now?

Also, you asked about older (than age 2) NSN referrals. Our agency recently received a referral batch where 10 out of 11 children were older than requested and in most cases between ages 3-5. I thought this was going to indicate a new trend but subsequent referrals went back to around 12-14 mos.

Research-China.Org said...

I am unable to speculate why these children were referred so late, but if you can provide more specific information I can investigate. 10 out of 11 is fascinating, and I would love to see what happened.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the Provincial Finding Ads dad for your chart and will you post an updated chart around August?

Anonymous said...

Brian, our LID is September 2007,
we are very scared due to de long wait, whne do you think that we could be match?

Thanks

Research-China.Org said...

There are too many uncertainties that would change any projection. To be honest, I am not certain the program will be in place over a year from now. I hope things work out for you, although the road will be long and uncertain.

Good luck!

Brian

Cyndi said...

Do you have any info on the number DTC for the remainder of 2007? We are LID 12/25/07 and I am curious as to the number of folks between us and those in your chart already. Thanks!

Research-China.Org said...

I will be writing another overview for 2008 in January, but demand seems to be fairly light between August and December 2007. August 2007's DTC membership stands at 38 families, and there are no DTC groups for September through November 2007. As we approach these months no doubt groups will form, but I expect nothing unusual in these groups.

By the end of December 2008 the wait will stand at 34 months, nearly perfectly matching my prediction in September 2007 that wait times would stand at 36 months by the end of 2008. I don't believe any acceleration in wait times is imminent.

All the best!!!!

Brian