WACAP’s China Adoption Supervisor and Hague Compliance Manager, Elizabeth Rose, discusses this week’s news from China:
Perhaps you’ve heard about China’s recent decision to end their “one-child policy?” It has been an interesting topic of discussion in our offices this morning and across the internet. Though this is certainly a complex issue, and one that will certainly have an impact much more broad than within the scope of intercountry adoption, we at WACAP want to discuss what this decision might mean for children, and for US families thinking of intercountry adoption.
1. This decision is a positive step for families and children in China. At WACAP, we are thrilled for Chinese families who now have more freedom in this area. Regulations that work to preserve and strengthen birth families are wonderful. We can all hope that this change indicates progress towards lifting all limitations on family size.
2. China’s decision to allow two children per couple, based on our experience at WACAP, will not have a significant impact on intercountry adoption from this country. When it comes to intercountry adoption, we no longer see the healthy younger children needing placement. The children for whom we advocate are those who have always been a part of the world’s orphan crisis: they are older or have some form of identified medical or developmental need. Over the past five years, WACAP has placed over 600 of China’s children in permanent families. These adoptions, however, did not occur due to China’s one-child rule: only 3% were infants with no known “special need.” 80% of these children had identified medical diagnoses, and 14% experienced developmental delays. Another 4% were older, with an average age of 12.
If you are considering intercountry adoption and are wondering about today’s headlines and what they mean for adoption from China, let me encourage you. We are actively recruiting families for over 220 waiting children from China.
- Their average age is 7 ½ years old.
- Almost 70% of them are boys.
- Most have special needs.
Their most significant need, however, is a family. Today’s announcement is good news. Be happy for the benefit to China’s families, but don’t be discouraged about adoption. There are children who continue to need families like you.