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  May 1: nine new adoption rules start in China
Family Helper editor

(May 1, 2007)    As of today, adopting from China has become harder. The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has confirmed the new restrictions, as outlined in Family Helper's Dec. 21, 2006 article "China to rule out singles, over-50s, obese". The nine new eligibility rules apply to all applications which CCAA gets after May 1, 2007 from foreigners wishing to adopt from China.

China has experienced an unprecedented foreign demand for its orphaned children ... and does not have enough children eligible for adoption to meet the demand. The system has slowed to the point that prospective adopters who send an application to China must wait 15 or 16 months before being proposed a child.

The new rules will mean fewer applications and will also allow China to pick more highly qualified parents-to-be, according to CCAA director Xing Kaimin. In a Dec. 25, 2006 article in China Daily he said, "We want to pick the most qualified so that our children can grow up in even better conditions," noting there are fewer abandoned or orphaned children because of social progress.

Here are the CCAA regulations, as quoted by the U.S. State Dept. on April 27, 2007.

Adoption is limited to married couples, made up of a man and a woman, who fit the following criteria:

1. They must have been married at least two years. If either person has previously divorced, the couple must have been married at least five years. No more than two divorces are allowed.

2. Both partners must be between the ages of 30 and 50. Those couples who apply to adopt a special needs child must be between the ages of 30 and 55.

3. Both partners must be physically and mentally fit, with none of the following conditions:
a. AIDS;
b. Mental disability;
c. Infectious disease that is actively contagious;
d. Blind in either eye;
e. Hearing loss in both ears or loss of language function (those adopting children with hearing or language function loss are exempted from this requirement);
f. Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limbs, paralysis or deformation;
g. Severe facial deformation;
h. Severe diseases that require long-term treatment and that may affect life expectancy, including malignant tumors, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, etc;
i. Major organ transplant within ten years;
j. Schizophrenia;
k. Severe mental disorders requiring medication for more than two years, including depression, mania, or anxiety neurosis;
l. Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more.

4. At least one member of the couple must have stable employment. The total value of family assets must be at least $80,000. The family's annual income equals at least $10,000 for each family member in the household (including the child to be adopted). Annual income excludes welfare, pensions, unemployment insurance, government subsidies and the like.

5. Both prospective parents must be high school graduates or have vocational training equivalent to a high school education.

6. The family must have fewer than five children under the age of 18, and the youngest is at least one year old (those adopting special needs children are exempted from this requirement).

7. Neither partner may have a significant criminal record, and both must have a history of honorable behavior and good moral character with no evidence of:
a. Domestic violence, sexual abuse, abandonment or abuse of children;
b. Use of narcotics or any potentially addictive medication prescribed for mental illness;
c. Alcohol abuse, unless the individual can show she/he has been sober for at least ten years.

Note: Applications from persons with past criminal records will be considered on a case-by-case basis if the individual has fewer than three minor criminal convictions (none in the last ten years) and fewer than five minor traffic violations.

8. The prospective parents must demonstrate the ability to provide a warm family environment capable of meeting the needs of an orphaned child and providing for her/his development, and an understanding of the special risks (including potential diseases, developmental delays, and post-placement maladjustment) that could come with inter-country adoption.

9. The couple must provide an adoption application letter that makes clear the applicants' willingness to allow post-placement follow-ups and provide post-placement reports as required.

Note: In each instance above where a specific age or time span is cited, it will be computed from the time that the CCAA officially logs the adoption application documents.

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

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

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

Adoption in China is covered in these Family Helper publications: We Adopted From China ... You Can, Too! and Canadian Guide to Intercountry Adoption.

Body Mass Index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. To find yours, see Calculate your Body Mass Index,

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"From Family Helper,"



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Updated Sept. 7, 2007

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