Monday, August 11, 2008

Wait Time Prognosis for 2009

With the Olympics in full-swing, waiting families are anxiously wondering if referrals will accelerate once the world's attention passes from China. An analysis of orphanage submissions in October 2007 showed that orphanage submissions in 2007 allowed us to predict increasing wait times, as submissions from the largest Provinces participating in the international program saw significant declines from 2006 to 2007.

A comparison of submissions of Chongqing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, and Jiangsu, and Jiangxi Provinces for the first six months of 2008 shows submission rates continuing a downward trend.

As I have pointed out in a prior analysis, submission rates are higher in the last six months of the year as compared to the first six months. This is a reflection of the higher abandonment rates experienced by most orphanages in October-January of each year. For example, the six Provinces analyzed in this article saw 2,753 submissions from January through June 2007, a number which increased to 2,960 for July through December 2007, a 7.5% increase.

Thus, for purposes of this analysis, we will compare January through June in each year, rather than the previous six months.

Collectively, the six primary Provinces submitted 2,624 files in the first six months of 2008, a decrease of 5% from the first six months of 2007 (2,753). Individually, however, half of the Provinces saw increases: Guangdong, Guangxi and Jiangsu. Taken together, these three Provinces submitted 153 more files in the first six months of 2008 than in the first six months of 2007.

This increase was not enough to offset the declines in the other three Provinces -- Chongqing, Hunan and Jiangxi. Collectively, these three Provinces submitted 224 fewer children in the first six months of 2008 than in the same period in 2007. The greatest decrease was seen in Chongqing, which saw submissions fall 38% in one year.

It is widely believed that China received an increasing number of applications between January 2006 (the current month for which referrals are now being assigned) and May 2007 when the new restrictions were made effective. Thus, with an increasing "demand" and falling "supply" over the next six months, waiting families should not expect any appreciable speed-up in referrals.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your research, I always look forward to your articles even if I don't always like the truth they reveal.

With my wife and I are LID 3/21/06 we are going to push through with our adoption of our first child. The disappointment for us is that a 2nd adoption from China is something we won't have the stomach to wait for.

So my question to you is: What other countries would you recommend for us to adopt from for #2, which probably won't be for a couple of years?

I know this is a speculative question but your educated guess is better then most.


Research-China.Org said...


I am really not in a position to recommend another program. I still firmly believe in the SN portion of the China program, but don't know if that part will be available in a year or so either.

As far as other countries, I am not familiar enough to offer advice, as most that I look at are experiencing corruption problems as well.

Good luck in your upcoming adoption!


to sing and to dance said...

Im in the Yahoo March, April, May 2007 DTC groups, and there are huge number of PAPs that either dropped out or opted to go SN for those months. It would be interesting to know the percentages of PAPs that are no longer waiting due to this, and how that would effect those of us still waiting.
I have a feeling it's significant.

josie said...


What is your take on the reasons for higher abandonment in the October-Jan period? Our daughter was abandoned in that period, and I am now wondering what this trend might signify?



Research-China.Org said...

Readers interested in the abandonment patterns (gender, age, location, timing, etc.) can read my "Trees in the Forest" series of articles detailing these patterns:


Anonymous said...

What have you heard about this? I received this update from my agency:

Dear colleague,

According to our information, CCAA is working very hard to open up 2 province for internationa adoption: Guizhou and Henan. These 2 province have huge popolution, reletively poor living standard and were lurkwarm towards international adoption in the past. This effort, plus the increase of donation, will shorten the waiting time for our families, or at least that is what CCAA hopes for.

Thoughts? I know even if it's true- it doesn't mean a speed up anytime soon.

Research-China.Org said...

I'm not sure what your agency means, but both those Provinces have been active in the IA program since at least 2000.

There are no hidden pockets of babies, contrary to some assertions.


Anonymous said...

Why do you believe that the SN program may close in the near future?

Research-China.Org said...

I think there are several indicators that China is preparing to end the NSN adoption program. I am not sure that they would continue a SN-only program, since culturally there are several problems with that kind of program for China. It will be interesting to watch the changes that are made over the next six months or so, but I do believe that dramatic changes are being anticipated.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your great blog!
What do you mean by your comment about the SN program: "culturally there are several problems with that kind of program for China" ?

Anonymous said...


I appreciate all of the research that you do and your willingness to share the information.

You are more strongly asserting in your comments here than you have in the past that the CCAA is quickly on the path to shutting down the NSN program. You've in the past stated that you believe that those who have a LID who wait out this long wait will receive a referral. Have you changed this belief?

This is obviously a particularly painful thought for those of us who have been waiting for years since LID.

Thank you for your help.

Research-China.Org said...

I still firmly believe that waiting families will receive referrals, but China is taking steps to resolve the wait problem. The current "shared list" is, I believe, an attempt to reduce the backlog of NSN families in anticipation of a closure. Agencies are being strongly urged to move families from the NSN program.

Additionally, there is little doubt that the current baby-buying and trafficking programs will not go unnoticed. One big expose' on these problems will bring significant pressure on China to change or end their program.

But I do believe that China will not close the program with families waiting. They will stop accepting dossiers, and find children for those in line.


Anonymous said...

Brian, if China's IA corruption is exposed then why would CCAA have the opportunity to continue the program and complete adoptions for those still waiting?
I do not see how this is ethical or realistic.

Research-China.Org said...

Well, the tip of the proverbial iceberg was exposed in Hunan, and nothing really changed after that. It is possible that changes might be made, or assurances given, and things go on as usual. It is impossible to predict how receiving countries might react to allegations of wide-spread corruption. I am confident that China would want to continue the program, but receiving countries might terminate the agreements. In that case, it is possible that waiting families would not be allowed to complete their adoptions, but again if past experience is any guide, this would not happen.


skillmanmom said...

Thank you for your comments.As an adoptive parent of 4 children from China, how do we discuss with our children the evolving news reports about "buying and selling of children from China" ? If this is the tip of the iceberg, should our children understand this also? Your thoughts appreciated.

Research-China.Org said...


I think adoptive parents must delineate what they "know" from what they "suppose". We are given a "history" of our child when we adopt: birth date, finding date, location, etc. This should serve as the basis for our child's history.

Now, suppose my daughter's orphanage is found to be trafficking children. Do I change my story to my daughter about her history? Not unless I find evidence that she in particular was trafficked.

Let's say she was found at the police station. I go there and ask the staff if they remember a child being found. No one does, and no record is obtained verifying the story. Now I would tell my daughter that the orphanage said she was found at the police station, but that I haven't been able to verify that story.

I go a step further. I visit the orphanage and ask for a copy of her police report. The director tells me they don't have one, or that he can't get a copy (it is in her orphanage file). Now I am starting to seriously question her story, and tell her that I was told she was found at the police station, but that I wonder if that is true.

That is as far as most families will be able to go. Unless you have SPECIFIC information that shows she was trafficked, I would not bring it up. If she one day asks about it, then we can have a full-blown discussion about it.


Anonymous said...

China used to be a SN program only at one time, so why not now?


Research-China.Org said...

China has never been a strictly SN program -- there was a time when second adoptions were required to be SN, but first adoptions have always been unrestricted.

It is possible for China to evolve into a SN program only, but there is concern that the same corruption and problems that currently plague the NSN program will migrate into the SN program. I am reluctant to fully support any program without substantial changes and safeguards.


Anonymous said...

Brian, do you keep data of how many boy / girl finding ads were submitted in the above mentioned time period?

Research-China.Org said...


You ask a great question, and one I wanted to wait until later to get into. The boy/girl ratio shows some peculiar changes in 2008 when compared to 2006, the last time I systematically analyzed it (

Five of the six Provinces have seen substantial changes in the ratios of boys verses girls adopted.

Chongqing's ratio climbed from 10% boys in 2006 to 32% so far this year.

Guangdong's ratio climbed from 8% boys in 2006 to 21% so far this year.

Guangxi went from 12% to 18%, and

Hunan soared from 8% to 26%.

Jiangsu is the only Province that saw a decreasing ratio, declining from 64% in 2006 to 46% so far in 2008.

Jiangxi doubled from 4% to 8%.

For all Provinces, the raw total number of boys submitted was 610 boys, on pace to more than double the total number submitted in all of 2006 (549).

There are several possible explanations for this change in ratios. One might be that as sexual mores in China change, more single women are having unwanted children, which will increase the ratio (natural ratio would be nearly 50%).

Another possible explanation is that incentive programs are equalizing the ratio by encouraging birth families to relinquish children in greater parity than would otherwise occur.

At the end of the year we will look to see if the ratios are consistent across China, or if specific orphanages are skewing the totals.

Overall, the number of boys being submitted for adoption is increasing significantly.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response on the boy / girl ratio. I have received a NSN boy from China within the past two years. I know in to our corner of the world, many many more beautiful little boys have been arriving since then. Our guide told us that in the area we adopted from the most likely reason for NSN boy abandonments was specifically the young single mom reason.

Marianne pour "les cousines de Xuwen" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Research-China.Org said...

The Chinese have a long history of downplaying the number and issues with the Special Needs children in their system. They, in many respects, hide these children from adoptive families and the world.

For that reason, I am reluctant to believe that China would be willing to go to an all-SN program out of fear that the world might feel that they are "exporting their problem children," or some expression like that. In a desire to appear as a first-world country, there is a good reason to belief that China wouldn't want a SN-program only.

I truly hope I am wrong about that however.


Teri A. said...

I find your comments about the sexual morals in China changing due to its increasing exposure to western and modern culture, very interesting. It will be even more interesting to watch this evolve and how it impacts their social welare system. In the US, we see wide spread unwanted pregnancies, mostly by teens, and if that happens in China, with the One Child Policy, and the restriction on not being given a birth permit for the one child until you are married, and that only happening when the couple are both over 18 I believe, an increase of underage pregnancies will either increase abortions, or abandonements, or likely both.

Should be interesting to see how China handles it.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering where you guess the wait might "cap out". Do you think a speed up is inevitable BEFORE May 2007? We are logged in March of 2007 (so have been waiting 26 months). I just can't see China continuing to do 4 days a month of referrals? People who started this process in their mid-40s (not us, but so many people do)will be in their early 50s by the time they are done if this doesn't cap off here sometime soon--I can't believe that China would find this desirable for the children.


Research-China.Org said...

Generally speaking, I don't see a speed-up until May 2007 at the earliest, if even then. A speed-up would indicate referring more than a month's dossiers in a month (as opposed to slowing down more slowly). I don't think we will see a month's worth of DTCs for a long time.

A caveat: The increase in the orphanage donation seems to be resulting in more kids being found, so that can have an impact, but I don't see it being large enough to bring a speed-up.