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  China to rule out singles, over-50s, obese
Family Helper editor

(Dec. 21, 2006)    Foreign adoption applications are now arriving in China at the rate of 2,000 a month. The government-run China Centre for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) is overwhelmed by the recent surge in applications -- there are not enough orphans available to meet the demand. To keep the numbers down CCAA has plans to restrict who can adopt Chinese orphans.

Canadian and U.S. adoption agencies learned of the tighter rules at a Dec. 8, 2006 meeting with CCAA in Beijing, according to The Globe and Mail (Toronto) of Dec. 20, 2006.


CCAA hasn't confirmed the details yet, but adoption agencies are reporting that the following changes will apply as of May 1, 2007:

-- No single people or common-law couples. Only people married at least two years will be eligible to adopt. (Previously, single foreigners could adopt.) They must have had no more than two divorces between them. If either spouse was previously divorced, the couple cannot apply until they have been married for at least five years. (The rule of five years for a second marriage could mean that by the time a couple has been married for five years they will be over 50.)

-- No-one over 50. Couples must be aged 30 to 50, or up to 55 if adopting a child with special needs. (Before, as long as one parent was under 55, the couple could adopt.)

-- No "morbidly obese" people. Applicants must have a Body Mass Index of under 40. (32 to 40 is considered obese, and over 40 is morbidly obese).

-- No psychiatric conditions. Applications are not accepted from those who take medication for psychiatric conditions, including depression and anxiety.

-- Financial benchmark. Parents-to-be must have a net worth of at least US$80,000 and an annual income of at least US$10,000 per person in the household, including the prospective adopted child.

The New York Times reported on Dec. 20, 2006 that U.S. adoption agencies are telling would-be adopters they likely would be approved, if they had already started the adoption process, and if they send in all their paperwork by May 1. As for new applications, some agencies have already begun rejecting applicants who don't meet the new criteria.

CCAA has announced that it will try to increase the number of children available for couples who do qualify by creating a new charity called Blue Sky to improve conditions in orphanages.

A major reason that Chinese babies are available for adoption is China's two-decade-old population control measure known as the "one-child policy." Most Chinese children adopted abroad are girls. They are placed in orphanages by couples who, bound by rules limiting most urban families to one child, want to try for a son.

China is popular with prospective adoptive parents because its adoption system is well organized and efficient, and because Chinese orphans are generally well cared for and noted for being healthy when adopted.

China is the top source country for foreign adoptions in Canada. For statistics on the leading 25 countries, see International Statistics for Canada.

For the history of adoption in China, see Country News.

For more on adoption in China, see We Adopted From China ... You Can, Too!. See also Canadian Guide to Intercountry Adoption

For resources on China adoption, see Adoption Resource Central, Country-specific Resources.

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Updated Sept. 7, 2007

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