Can I adopt a Child from China?
Historically, an adoption from China has generally been less difficult and less expensive than adopting a child from many other countries. Please be aware that the process in China may have changed since this page was updated.
Adopting from China generally takes 24-36 months. Although children of all ages are available, the average age of children at the time they are adopted is 8-15 months old. The following information can help you if you are considering adopting a child from China.
What is the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA)?
Since 1996 when the Chinese government established the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA), the central authority which oversees the adoption of every Chinese child, the Chinese program has been one of the most popular international adoption programs.
The popularity of child adoption from China appears to be due to several factors including:
- unlike many other countries that have suspended and altered their adoption process frequently, the process in China has been relatively steady since it started;
- the Chinese adoption process is very predictable since all orphanages and adoption agencies working in China must be registered with and approved by the CCAA;
- there are no hidden costs or fees in China and the fees quoted are accurate and very reasonable compared to other countries;
- no black market activity or bribery associated with adoption has ever been reported in China;
- the Chinese people are very positive and supportive of Chinese orphans being adopted by citizens of other countries. The Chinese people treat families who are visiting China to complete an adoption with respect and graciousness;
- travel to China, unlike many other parts of the world, is relatively safe for foreign travelers. The Chinese government is very support of international travelers and they do everything they can to ensure that international travelers can visit China without worrying about safety;
- the status of every child available for adoption in China is carefully screened by the CCAA. Accordingly, there is no concern that a birth parent or a birth parent’s family will try to seek custody of a Chinese child at the time of referral, during finalization of the adoption, or in the future; and
- only one trip is required to adopt from China. This trip is approximately 10-12 days in length and, if both parents travel to China, the adoption of your child is completed while you are in China making it unnecessary to re-adopt the child in the United States or any other countries which recognize international adoption. If only one parent travels than re-adoption of the child will be necessary.
Who Can Adopt a Child from China?
Married couples are able to adopt Chinese children. Single parent adoptions, common in the past, are no longer possible unless you are adopting a special needs child.
Married Couples must be between 30 and 50 years of age. Both adoptive parents must be at least 30 years of age when your dossier is logged in to the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA). If adopting a special needs child, both must be between the ages of 30 and 55.
A family’s joint income must be at least $10,000 per household member, including the adopted child (e.g., a family of 3 including the adopted child needs to have an income of at least $30,000.). The family must have a net worth (assets vs liabilities) of at least $80,000.
Couple must be married two years or more. If either the husband or the wife has been divorced than the couple must be married for at least five years. If both have been divorced, it is still five years. Spouses cannot be divorced more than two times.
Maximum Number of Children in the Home:
Couples with up to four minor children living in their home may adopt from China.
Health Requirements for Adoptive Parents:
Couples wishing to adopt from China must be healthy. If either spouse has a medical condition please contact our office for more information. Special medical conditions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis with our Chinese Program Coordinator. If either spouse is currently taking, or has taken within the past two years, any medication(s) to treat depression, anxiety, mania, neurosis or any other mental disorder the CCAA will not approve them for a China adoption. Adoptive parents must each have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 40%. There are several other medical exclusions.
At least one of the adoptive parents must be a U.S. Citizen in order for our agency to assist you with an adoption from China. Families hoping to adopt must also meet the eligibility requirements of China, the requirements of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services of the United States (BCIS) and the laws of their state of residence.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, for anyone with a criminal record to adopt from China.
How Long Does the Child Adoption Process Take in China?
At the present time families are waiting between 15 and 24 months for a referral from China. Based on this referral time it will take the average family over two years to complete a Chinese adoption from the time you start your Home Study process until your child is home.
What is the Process Involved in a China Child Adoption?
When completing an international adoption, including and an adoption from China, there are some basic steps that are involved with completing every international adoption.
The first step is to decide what country you wish to adopt from. When choosing the country please make sure that you meet all of the requirements before proceeding.
The second step is to identify a licensed child placement agency in your state of residence that will complete your home study for the country you have chosen to adopt from, including China. This step is very important. China, and most other countries which do international adoptions, look for very specific information in a home study document and the countries want the information in a very specific format within the document. Failure to include all of the required information, or failure to have your information in the proper format in your home study, will cause delays in your adoption process.
The third step in any international adoption, including adoption from China, is to choose your international placement agency. In many cases your home study agency and your international placement agency will be the same agency but in some cases families will use one agency to do their home study and one agency to complete their international placement.
The fourth step in the international adoption process is to complete your international dossier. Your international dossier is a set of all the documents required by the U.S. and Chinese governments to complete an international adoption.
The fifth step involves submission of you dossier documents to China by your international placement agency.
The sixth step is the referral and acceptance of a referral of a child to you by the CCAA. Once a family has accepted a referral, the adoptive family will travel to China to finalize and complete their adoption.
The final step in adoption of a child from China occurs after you return home with your child. The Chinese government requires a series of post-placement, or follow-up, reports from families who adopt from China. Your international placement agency and your home study agency will advise and assist you with the post-placement process.
The U.S. Department of State website link International Adoption form China provides further guidance for U.S. citizens who are interested in adopting a child in China and applying for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States.
Who are the Children Available from China?
Both boys and girls are available for adoption from China although many more girls than boys are adoptable. INS Immigration Statistics for 2003 indicated that 95% of the adopted children were girls with 49% under one year of age and 48% between 1-4 years of age. In addition to healthy children, children with special needs are also available for adoption.
The children who are available for adoption range in age from 3 months to 13 years, but the average age of the child at the time a child comes home is usually between 8 months and 15 months old. The Chinese government is typically very good about referring exactly what a family requests.
The health of Chinese orphans is exceptional when compared to orphans from other underdeveloped countries. Most, if not all, children who are adopted internationally suffer from developmental delays. Chinese orphans are no exception, but because most of the Chinese population lives a very simple life. Therefore, many health conditions seen in children adopted from other countries such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is seldom, if ever, seen in China. All the Chinese children who are available for adoption are living in orphanages or other state institutions at the time of their referral. However, since most of the adopted children are babies between the ages of 8-15 months old, the issues of bonding and attachment are not as large with Chinese orphans as they are with orphans of other countries.
Can We Adopt More than One Child from China?
The Chinese government only allows families to adopt one child at a time from China. Families must start the process over, from the beginning, to adopt a second child from China
What Type of Travel is Involved in a China Child Adoption?
Families only need to travel to China one time to complete an international adoption. It is best if both parents travel but an adoption can be completed if only one parent is able to travel. Typical round trip travel time to China is 10-14 days.
What is the Total China Child Adoption Costs Including Travel?
Adoption from China is very reasonable when compared to most other countries. Adopting families should expect the adoption process to cost approximately $18,000 to $26,000, including travel. Fees may vary slightly depending on the province in China where your child is from.