Adopting from China

HIH MThe China Adoption Program is an excellent option for many adoptive families.  The China adoption program is well-established and has been a regular part of Hand In Hand’s work for over 20 years.

The China adoption program was started in 1992 by MaryLee Fahrenbrink Lane, the founder and Executive Director of Hand In Hand. MaryLee was referred to Dr. Hong Hai Yang, who was at the time the pediatrics doctor for the Health and Welfare Institute of Nanjing, China. Dr. Hong became the Chinese coordinator for the agency. His acceptance by the Chinese Civil Affairs and Justice Ministries was a tribute to his work with orphans and care of all ages of children at the Welfare Institute.

China’s one-child policy and the strong desire for a healthy son bind many parents in China, as sons are responsible for caring for their parents in their old age and for carrying on the family name. Birthparents confront this difficult situation by leaving the children they cannot care for in a safe public place where they will be found quickly, China Adoption Bwith the intention that the child will be taken care of. For many birthparents, this seems to be the only real choice, as violating China’s one-child policy can mean serious penalties and fines imposed on the family.

Children with medical needs, including many boys, are often left where they will be found and have their medical needs addressed.  Hand In Hand actively advocates for families for waiting boys and girls with special needs on our advocacy blog, and there is always a need for families for the many waiting boys in China:

Hand In Hand receives referrals to the China adoption program for children in orphanages all over China. Estimates are well over one million children who await a home and family to call their own. Our overall experience with these orphanages has been positive. Most are simple but clean, and do their best to provide good basic care for the children. In some cases, children are raised with nearby foster families.

China Adoption Program Director is Vickie Truelove in the Indiana Office.

Types of Children Available

  • Children aged 6 months to 13 years old
  • Girls and Boys
  • Mostly children with mild to moderate medical conditions.

Travel Requirements

  • One parent must travel to China
  • Length of stay is approximately 10 to 14 days

Time Frames

  • Dossier Submission to Match – 5+ years for “regular” program matches; 12-18 months for special needs matches.
  • Match to Placement – 4 to 6 months

Types of Families Accepted

  • Couples married at least two years; if either spouse was previously divorced, current marriage must be at least five years
  • Single women may apply to adopt; see December 2014 rules below for more details
  • Both spouses must be 30 years old to adopt from China; no more than 50 years between the age of the younger spouse and child; no more than 45 years between the age of a single mother and child
  • Adoptive parents must be in good health; see below for more details
  • Adoptive parents must hold high school diploma or greater education, or equivalent technical or vocational education
  • Families with children at home acceptable; for single parents, the number of children under 18 years old in the family should be less than 3 and the youngest one should have reached 6 years old

Special Focus Program and Waiting Children

See Hand In Hand’s Waiting Child Program Page for information about adopting Special Focus Children from China.

Also, see Hand In Hand’s KidsWait Blog for profiles of children currently waiting in China.

Note that applicants seeking to adopt a special needs child will be assessed on a case-to-case basis.  Children on the Special Focus list are considered special needs, even if the need is their age.


New China Eligibility Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents

Issued December 5, 2014

  •  PAPs (prospective adoptive parents) who are a couple of one male and one female with a stable marital relationship, or a single female with no homosexual tendency may adopt a child from China.
  • The PAPs should reach the age of 30.  When a couple adopts together and the age of the younger party is over 50, the age different between the younger party and the adoptee should be no more than 50 years.  The age difference between a single adoptive mother and the adoptee should be no more than 45 years.
  • In an adoption by a couple, the PAPs should have a stable marital relationship.  If both parties do not have any previous marriages, their length of marriage should have reached two years; if either party has previous marriages (no more than two), the length of their current marriage should have reached five years.
  • The PAPs should be physically and mentally fit, without any of the following conditions:
    • Intellectual disability;
    • HIV positive or infectious disease that is actively contagious;
    • Schizophrenia;
    • Mental disorder, such as mania, anxiety, phobia, depression, obsession, etc.; in the adoption by a couple, if they have such illness with minor symptom and are under good control by taking a small dose of medicine, they will be exempt from this limitation;
    • Binocular blindness, binocular low vision or monocular blindness with no ocular prosthesis;
    • Binaural hearing loss or language function loss; PAPs who adopt children with identical conditions, or with one party of a couple completely healthy will be exempt from this limitation;
    • Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limb, paralysis or deformation; severe facial deformation;
    • Diseases that require long-term treatment such as malignant tumors, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.; In the adoption by a couple, if one party is completely healthy and the other suffers any of such diseases but is under good control after treatment, they will be exempt from this limitation;
    • Vital organ transplant within 10 years; In the adoption by a couple, if one party is completely healthy and the other party had organ transplant within 10 years but recovered to a normal daily life, they will be exempt from this limitation;
  • BMI not greater than 40

  • The PAPs should have received senior high school education or above, or vocational and technical skills education of the same level.
  • The PAPs (at least one party of a couple in a couple adoption) should have stable occupation and income.  The per-capita annual income of a family including the prospective adoptee should reach $10,000, and the family net worth should reach $80,000.  When calculating the family per-capita annual income in an adoption by a single parent, the number of family members used should be one more than the actual family member number after adoption, and the family net worth should reach $100,000.  For PAPs who family per capita annual income and family net worth does not meet the requirements of the preceding paragraph but is above the local average living standards, the limitation can be relaxed accordingly if they can provide valid certification.
  • The PAPs should have enough time and energy to take care of the minors in the family, including the prospective adoptee.  As for adoption by a single parent, the number of children under 18 years old in the family should be less than 3 and the youngest one should have reached 6 years old.
  • The PAPs should have no record of criminal penalties, have good moral characters, honorable behaviors and abide by laws and regulations, without any of the following circumstances:

    • Have had a history of domestic violence, sex abuse, abandonment/abuse of children (even if they were not arrested or convicted);
    • Have had a history of taking drugs including opium, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, smokable methamphetamine and etc.;
    • Have had a history of alcohol abuse but have stopped drinking for less than 10 years.
    • Adoption application will be given due consideration when the PAPs have had less than 3 (including 3) criminal records with minor violations and no severe outcomes, and the time for correction has reached 10 years; or have had less than 5 (including 5) records of traffic law violation with no severe outcomes.
  • The PAPs should have received pre-adoption training, expecting to provide a loving home for the orphaned and disable children through adoption and to satisfy the needs of healthy development of the adoptees.  To have a proper cognition of inter-country adoption, PAPs should be mentally fully prepared for the possible risks occurred from inter-country adoption, and the conditions of the adoptee’s potential illness, developmental delay, post-placement adjustment and etc.
  • The age limitation or the calculation of age that states in this regulation should be dated from the log-in-date when the adoption application dossier was registered by CCCWA.
  • Priority Rules in the Review of Inter-country Adoption Application Dossiers by CCAA implemented as of May 1, 2007 and the Notice on the Adoption of Special Focus Children by Single Adoptive Mother issued on March 11, 2011 will be annulled as of January 1, 2015.

About China

chinaChina is a wonderfully diverse country, full of history, amazing sights, wonderful food and warm, welcoming people. Not surprisingly, however, it is different from the United States in every conceivable way (including having opposite days and nights). Time for families to adjust to the time change and initial culture shock is specifically built into the two-week trip.

China is home to 1.29 billion people – over 20% of the world’s population. The capital of China is Beijing and the official language is Mandarin, with dialects spoken in different areas.

China offers a rich and varied history and culture and historic sightseeing opportunities, such as the Great Wall.