International Adoption China / International Adoption China

International Child Adoption from China Overview

This is a general overview of the adoption process for China.

Child Adoption From China

With 22 provinces, four municipalities, four autonomous regions, a long and proud history, and with the world's highest population of almost 1.5 billion people, China is indeed a land rich in cultural heritage and tradition.

 In 1979, China implemented its well-publicized one-child policy in an effort to control its population growth. Although successful in helping to curb the population growth, the policy reinforced the practice of abandoning newborn girls.  In the early 1990's, China enacted a National Adoption Law, allowing foreign citizens to adopt Chinese infants and children under a format of strict regulations. By 1995, Americans alone had adopted over 2,000 Chinese girls, and by 1998 over 4,000 girls had been adopted from China.  By 2002 this number had reached 5000 and by 2003 it was over 6000.  Today, China remains one of the most popular countries for families seeking international adoption.

In 1996 the Chinese government established the China Center of Adoption Affairs, the central authority overseeing all China adoptions.  The CCAA is responsible for providing a stable and structured adoption process for adoptive parents. Through the CCAA, China has established a relatively stable way of working with international adoptive families. Unlike other foreign countries that shut down or suspend their adoption program from time to time, China has kept the adoption program relatively steady and stable which helps explain why china has been, and remains. one of the top three choices for U.S. families considering an international adoption.  They are able to maintain this stability due to the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA), who oversees all Chinese adoptions. Orphanages and adoption agencies alike must be approved by and registered with the CCAA in order to place children in adoptive homes.

The people of China have been, and continue to be, responsive to orphans being adopted by United States citizens, and the Chinese authorities appear to make every effort to refer the type of child requested by the adopting parent or family.  The native Chinese people treat adoptive parents with graciousness and respect and the Chinese government does not even discriminate against families in the military.

There are four steps for adopting in most foreign countries, including China. The first step is to complete your dossier. A dossier is the set of documents required by the U.S. and Chinese governments for adoption. Preparing a dossier, on average, takes between 2-4 months. The U.S. based agency helping the adopting family should provide the forms needed for the dossier and assist the adopting family in completing these documents.  Many of the documents will need to be notarized, certified, and authenticated.  Notarization is done at the local level, certification at the state level, and authentication at the federal level.  Your U.S. based agency can help you with all of these.

The second step of the adoption process involves submission of the dossier to China by your U.S. based agency. Once your dossier has been submitted and registered with the CCAA, you have officially begun the adoption proceedings as far as China is concerned. After this step, it is a matter of waiting for the Chinese government to provide a referral. Currently, families typically wait approximately 36-48 months for a child referral from the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs.

The third step is the acceptance of a referral. When a child referral is made, the CCAA will usually provide a photo or photos, limited medical information, the child's name, the child's age or birth date, and the name of the orphanage or province where the child resides. With this information, families either accept or reject the referral sent to them by the CCAA.

When a referral is accepted, the adoptive family will take the fourth step and travel to China to complete their adoption. Once a family has accepted the referral of a child, it is usually 4-8 weeks before the family travels to China to pick up their child and finalize their adoption.  Unlike other countries requiring multiple visits to the child's birth country, China completes the adoption in only one visit.  As soon as the family arrives in China and meets their child, the child remains with them throughout the rest of their visit to China.  A Chinese child is not separated from her/his new parents after she/he is placed in their arms. While an adopting family is in China, the final Chinese adoption paperwork is completed while the family is still in the child's province.  Once this paperwork is complete, the Chinese Government officially recognizes an adoption as a valid, completed adoption. Once a family has completed all of the paperwork for the Chinese government in the child's province, the new family travels to the US Consulate in Guangzhou where they complete the final steps necessary to finalize the adoption for the United States Government and obtain their child's visa for travel to the United States. The process in both your child's province and at the US Consulate is usually completed in approximately 10-15 days.  Once a family has completed these steps, and obtained a U.S. visa for their child, the family can leave China and return home to the U.S.

After you return to the United States, your U.S. agency will provide post placement support to assist you with your adoption transition. Two post placement reports must be submitted by your Home Study agency to satisfy CCAA requirements. Your adoption agency will provide necessary information to you concerning how to validate your finalized adoption through your local court, enable your adopted Chinese child to receive a U.S. birth certificate from your state, and obtain her/his Social Security card and citizenship, if necessary.