Family Finders staff member and adoptive parent Jo Reed loves the fall, a time of year she finds full of opportunity. For those considering international adoption, Jo offers six things you should know about adopting from China, explains the changes we’ve seen in the adoption process, and underscores what hasn’t changed: that there are children who need a families’ love, no matter the season.
“Autumn Thoughts on Adopting From China”
by Jo Reed, WACAP Family Finders Program Manager
Fall is here, the world is shifting, the air is … well, it’s … different. Change is coming. September has always been my favorite month. As a kid I liked school and was always stoked about my bright new notebooks and the smell of yellow pencils; I couldn’t wait to find out who my teachers were and whether my friends would be in my classes. As an adult I still feel that sense of possibility and a new energy, free of the sleepy heat, and am inspired to take on formerly daunting projects.
Are you one of those people who starts thinking about adoption at this time of year? Maybe for you, the other children have been sent off to school so your day is quieter. Or the crisp sky makes you think of family holidays to come, and of your longing for a child, or for another one.
Today my list is about why it’s a great time to start your adoption in China. There have been some changes in China’s adoption process (most of us aren’t crazy about adjusting to changes), and I suspect some families are hesitant to get started. I hope this list will give you the little push you need to jump right in!
- We’re seeing more children on China’s shared list of waiting children than ever before, and more of the kids are waiting longer to be matched.
—Now that China is no longer working with agencies for partnerships with specific orphanages, all of the children eligible for international adoption go directly to the list. This gives all agencies the opportunity to request the files of more children.
- The time frame for your adoption in China will be comparatively short.
—The adoption of a child who is already waiting to be matched with a family is taking about 12 months, from the beginning of the homestudy to bringing the child home.
—If your completed dossier is registered in China to adopt one of the children with milder needs, it will take about 12 months + the time waiting to be matched. The time frame for matching is usually 1–12 months, depending on the needs, age, and gender of the child you hope to adopt.
- Not being matched with a specific child at the beginning doesn’t change the length of your adoption of a child in the Special Focus group.
—Although U.S. Department of State policy now requires your family have a completed homestudy before you can be matched with a certain child; your overall time will still be about 12 months.
- You can now be matched with a child whose file is with any agency at the time your home study is complete.
—Under the Dept. of State guidance, adoption agencies are now required to share information about children they are advocating for with families from any agency, and if your family chooses to adopt the child, his file must be transferred to WACAP.
- WACAP’s Promise Child Grants for waiting children will apply no matter which agency has the child’s file.
—WACAP has always provided grants, attached to the adoptions of specific waiting children with moderate to significant needs. These are based on the child’s age, medical and development concerns, in addition to the family’s income.
—Now children transferred from other agencies to WACAP are also eligible for WACAP grants, depending on the child’s age and significance of the concerns in the child’s file.
- When you adopt any child from China, your impact will be immeasurable, and will last for generations. But there is a way to make an even bigger difference:
—Adopt a boy. Boys wait for families so much longer than girls do, and the majority are never adopted at all. This is where the greatest need lies, and will shorten your wait for your child too!
—-We’re seeing school-aged boys in good health and with manageable needs on the list, and many younger ones with moderate and manageable needs who are waiting longer than in the past.
—Be open to a child with moderate to significant needs. We encourage you to research a wide range of needs, and talk to families with kids who have various concerns. Keep in mind that all medical needs occur in forms that may be very mild to very significant, and everything in between.
—When you know more, you may be surprised that your family does have the resources and willingness to consider loving a child others may have overlooked. While WACAP staff will never encourage anyone to adopt a child with needs they aren’t comfortable with, knowing more about how needs do (or don’t) affect the child’s day to day life often prompts families to consider more possibilities.
Walking at the park in the sunshine, I’m mesmerized by the scruffle scruffle sound of my shooshing through the leaves, to the trees whispering and rustling, and I’m aware I’m waiting for the unexpected, the changes, the new things that fall will offer me. I’m surprised to find the clear silhouette of a nearly bare tree is as striking as it was when it was garlanded in green. Still amazing; still beautiful, just … different.
Like your adoption.
Contact us to learn more about adopting from China, or to learn more about WACAP’s foster care and adoption programs.
About WACAP Family Finders Program Manager Jo Reed:
Jo came to WACAP in 2004 and with her, an unyielding commitment to bringing children and families together. An adoptive parent of two children, Jo is also a daily advocate for every child growing up without permanency. Through her work with WACAP’s Family Finders, she has helped share the stories of thousands of children who needed advocates and a family.