Family Helper > Adoption > China

We Adopted
From China
... You Can, Too!

Parents tell how they did it

By Robin Hilborn

Second edition, 2006
$12 / ISBN 0-9733470-6-6


Chalke on China   [Chalke]
Cost, time and documents
Statistics - Adoptions from China, 1995-2004
Why people choose China
The cost of China
Why Chinese girls were abandoned   [Edelsward]
A brief history of adoption in China
Once the journey is done ...   [Maslen]
Convince your parents   [Cusipag]
Study shows healthy children

Mei Lan moves to Pickering   [Andrews]
A second daughter from China   [Wilson]
Our China doll   [Leclair]
To China and back (plus one)   [Hladkyj]
Packing list
What about baby formula?

Canadian adoption agencies for China
Canadian support groups for China
Web sites, email lists, articles, newsletters, videos
Readers' choice: top books on China

How to order We Adopted From China ... You Can, Too!

If you are thinking of adopting from China, this account of how four Canadian families did it will show you the path to success. Robin Hilborn, together with a group of expert contributors, explains the entire process -- the agencies you can use, their fees, and the time it will take. The list of books on China is extensive. Here is all you need to know to decide for China and to choose the agency to help you. (See below for an excerpt.)

To order one copy, fill in this form and tuck in an envelope with your cheque. Send to: 220 Summerhill Rd., Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada.

Please send me one copy of We Adopted From China ... You Can, Too! (#47) I enclose a $12 cheque to "Robin Hilborn".
  Street address:

Price in Canada is Can$12. In the U.S., US$12. Elsewhere, US$18. Sorry, no credit cards.
Robin Hilborn is publisher of the Family Helper series.

We Adopted From China (#47) is also available at a discount ($9) when you order four or more titles from the Family Helper series. See the form at Family Helper, and choose the editions you'd like to order.


From the Introduction
By Robin Hilborn

All you need to know

Welcome to the second edition of "We Adopted From China ... You Can, Too!" Since the first edition in 1999, some things have changed, others have not. I've kept the best from the first edition, with updates to be sure, and added new material.

If you are thinking of adopting from China, you'll find here basically all you need to know to make a decision in favour of China. And more than that, you'll be able to choose an agency to help you, a support group where you can meet other adoptive parents, and sources of information from web sites to newsletters to books.

At the heart is an account of how four Canadian families found the path to success. The entire process is explained -- the time, the cost, the documents you need -- right down to what to pack for your trip-of-a-lifetime, and the best baby formula.

One new extra is a history of adoption in China, plus ten years of statistics so you can see how the numbers have grown ... 1,000 families a year can't be wrong!

I'd like to thank Doug Chalke for a thoughtful postscript to his article, warning that changes are coming and "adoptions from China may not last much more than another decade." I'd also like to acknowledge Martha Maslen for granting permission to use the Children's Bridge cost breakdown, and for her revision to "Once the journey is done" to reflect the fact that our kids will encounter racism, not might. And finally, thanks to Andrew Hladkyj for permission to reprint from his web site his day-by-day experience of adopting in China.

Remember that resources on China adoption are evolving -- for the latest, check "Adoption Resource Central - Countries". It's at the Family Helper web site, at

From "Chalke on China"
   [Douglas Chalke of Sunrise Family Services Society explains the process, the children available and the new policy for adopting from China]


On the third floor of a modest office building in downtown Beijing are located the offices of the China Centre of Adoption Affairs. We are meeting with the director of the Chinese Foreign Adoption Program, who displays a sophisticated level of knowledge of the British Columbia adoption system. An impressive feat, when you consider that he administers adoption programs from 12 countries.

At the end of the boardroom are displayed the flags of the 12, including Canada, the U.S., England, Ireland, Spain and the Scandinavian countries.

On the walls are plaques, testimonials and photographs attesting to many years of adoption programs. After meeting the staff, many of whom speak English, we were shown around their offices, which were decorated with many photographs of children now living in one of the 12 program countries. The staff described how they try to match children available to characteristics in the adopting family.

While in China we met many adopting parents from Canada, the U.S. and Norway. We also travelled with a group of ten families from B.C. who were in China to pick up their newly adopted children. Groups stay together throughout, accompanied by an expert who lines up hotels and transport and helps with any difficulties (such as medical care in the middle of the night for a child with an infected ear).

It did not take long for the B.C. families to receive their children. By the afternoon of the second day we were at an orphanage in the south of China where some of the families received their children. Over the next two days the rest received their babies from other orphanages in the south.

Next stop for the group was Beijing, for the babies to get a medical exam from a doctor designated by the Canadian Embassy. Then the Embassy completed the paperwork and issued visas for the children to enter Canada. Parents and children could then come home directly to British Columbia.

In the few days it took to complete the paperwork in Beijing the adopting parents got to know their children and also did a little sightseeing at the Great Wall and other tourist attractions. The total stay in China is about two weeks.

Before going to China you must register with an adoption agency and have a homestudy completed by a professional social worker. This takes about three months. Once the initial requirements are completed, the agency sends the homestudy to the China Adoption Centre. The child is then matched to your family and a proposal is sent back from the China Adoption Centre to the adoption agency. This takes about seven months. You then review the proposal and your acceptance is sent back to China. You usually travel to China within the following two months to pick up your child.

[Douglas Chalke goes on to describe the children available and the new policy for adopting from China]

How to order We Adopted From China


1995 -- Adoption Helper magazine received an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario, "in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the adoption community of Ontario."
1997 -- Jennifer Smart, editor of Post-adoption Helper, received an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario for her work on behalf of adoption causes.
2001 -- Robin Hilborn, editor of Adoption Helper, received an Adoption Activist Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children for "dedicated work in making adoption information more accessible and providing materials for post-adoptive support".

Robin Hilborn edits and publishes Family Helper, which began as Adoption Helper in 1990. Write to him at

Infertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree
Contact: Robin Hilborn,
220 Summerhill Rd., Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
Copyright 2009 Robin Hilborn. All rights reserved
Updated   Apr. 13, 2009

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