Want to adopt a baby in China? Better hurry.

I have three friends who’ve adopted Chinese baby girls. Now it seems the government’s worried there aren’t enough babies to go around, so they’ll be implementing new restrictions:

China plans to tighten rules on foreign adoptions, barring people who are single, obese, older than 50 or who fail to meet certain benchmarks in financial, physical or psychological health from adopting Chinese children, according to adoption agencies in the United States.

The restrictions are in response to an enormous spike in applications by foreigners, which has far exceeded the number of available babies, said leaders of American adoption agencies who were briefed by Chinese officials earlier this month.

The new regulations, which have not yet been formally announced by the government-run China Center of Adoption Affairs, or C.C.A.A., are expected to take effect on May 1, 2007, and have raised concern and anxiety among prospective adoptive parents in this country….

The guidelines include a requirement that applicants have a body-mass index of less than 40, no criminal record, a high school diploma and be free of certain health problems like AIDS and cancer. Couples must have been married for at least two years and have had no more than two divorces between them. If either spouse was previously divorced, the couple cannot apply until they have been married for at least five years.

In addition, adoptive parents must have a net worth of at least $80,000 and income of at least $10,000 per person in the household, including the prospective adoptive child.

I’m going to reserve judgment. According to the article, South Korea has even more stringent adoption requirements for foreigners, and many in the “adoption industry” say the new restrictions won’t make much of a diference. Still, it was sad reading the article’s interviews with mothers who have been rejected, one because she uses a wheelchair. One father was rejected because he takes the antidepressant Zoloft. There’s no question there need to be eligibility requirements, but some of these definitely seem rather random.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

Random? That seems like kind of an odd description. Bizarre seems more like it.

The marriage requirement seems to be targeted same-sex couples trying to adopt. It’s just a way to do so without explicitly stating it as such. However, the article didn’t say whether the marriage had to be between a man and a woman…

The psychiatric concerns are a no-brainer. Why the hell would you want send a kid off to some home to live with a possible maniac?

Obesity? If you can’t even take care of yourself, who’s to say you’d take better care of a child?

Hell, I even can even see where they’re going with the age requirement, but I just don’t get the “facial deformity” thing. I’m baffled.

December 20, 2006 @ 3:02 pm | Comment

When two friends of mine adopted a few years ago, they had asked for infant but were persuaded to take a one-year-old after being told by the social worker, “That child needs you more,” explaining that most adoptive couples wanted babies. I wonder if these restrictions apply to older children.

December 20, 2006 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

Given that you need to be married in China to have a baby (or cop a massive fine – around 70,000 RMB) – and pregnant women are snatched off the street and taken to a hospital where they need to prove they have permission to be pregnant or have the pregnancy terminated on the spot – it’s a wonder that the government has taken so long to bring adoption policies up to the same rigorous standard…

December 21, 2006 @ 8:34 am | Comment

it’s a wonder that the government has taken so long to bring adoption policies up to the same rigorous standard…

Apples and oranges. China’s one child policy is aimed at slowing population growth. Its revision of adoption regulations is a reflection of supply and demand tipping in favor of Chinese infants.

December 21, 2006 @ 9:48 am | Comment

Right on the mark, Sonagai.

Also, I’ll say that while I’m not in favor of the means by which the Chinese government goes about enforcing the “One-Child” policy, I will acknowledge that over-population is the single greatest threat to the nation and I believe that is why the government enforces this policy so crudely.

December 21, 2006 @ 11:33 am | Comment

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