Adopt from China

(Last updated 03/14)

The Children
Most of the children available for adoption in China are girls that have usually been found in a public place and brought to an orphanage. China's one-child policy and the strong desire for a son bind many parents in China. 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.
Chinese orphanages are simple, clean facilities, and do their best to provide good basic care for the children. Most of the children waiting for adoption in China are infant girls. There are also many children that are older or have medical conditions, including boys.

Placement Resources
You can learn more about adoptions from China from an agency with a placement program in that country.  Here are a couple to consider: Wide Horizons for Children, and Children's Home Society of Minnesota.

Family adopts from China

Video Transcript

Mom: "When we planned to adopt we originally were thinking a healthy toddler. I don't think anyone goes into adoption planning on adopting a child with some kind of medical issue. When we found the China Waiting Child Program, which is a special needs program, we sort of stopped and took a look at the resources we had available to us. There were so many kids with minor correctable issues going on, or even long-term but still minor issues and here we were with so many resources in front of us with so much to give, living in a city with some of the best hospitals in the world, and it just made sense that if anyone should be adopting a child with some kind of medical need, it should be us. 

"So our son that we adopted has a unilateral cleft lip and palate. His lip was repaired in China and when he came home we had the palate repaired and the lip revised. So right now he was in a year of speech therapy and he's doing great, he could probably finish but we are just continuing to go along just to give him an extra boost. He will have another surgery when he's school-aged to finally complete everything. If you met him, you would definitely not characterize him as any kind of special need other than a scar on his lip."
Dad: "He has no problems talking, talking a lot."
Mom: "So it was a scary idea, 'special needs' is just such a scary term, but when you look at what those needs really are, it seems like such a no-brainer."

"So we recieved our referral 12 days afer our paperwork was logged in China, and I was at work and the phone rang and it was our agency's area code. And our agency never called us, they always emailed, so I knew it was something big, and I picked up the phone and it was Tony. I had never met him before but I'll never forget his name. He told us that he had a file he wanted us to look at of a little boy who was nine months old with cleft lip and palate in China and did we want him to email us the information. Immediately I said yes. So I opened my email up at work and there was our little boy. There were four pictures and pages and pages of medical information. And so I tried to surprise Tom at home, but I didn't know Tony had tried to call him too, so it wasn't a huge surprise."
Dad: "A strange man had left a voice message to call him back."
Mom: "And so we looked at the paperwork in detail because it was nice there was a lot of information."
Dad: "There was."
Mom: "And we decided that night that we knew we were going to accept the referral, but before we submitted our formal letter of intent, we did send it to an international doctor who confirmed with us that everything looked great and she had no hesitations for us either.

"So six months after we recieved our referral, we travelled to China to meet Ben and adopt him. We met him in the Civil Affairs office of the capital of the province he is from. And so we were together with about four or five other families from our agency and probably 15 other families. So there was a group of about 20 of us parents all waiting for our kids to all come in from all over the province to meet their parents. We were the very last ones because he came from four hours away, so we had to experience everyone else getting their kids and the whole range of emotions that their kids were displaying, from tears to tantrums to total compliance and happiness. And so Ben came last."
Dad: "He did."
Mom: "I was so afraid I wouldn't recognize him for some strange reason, but his nanny came and handed him over to me. And he was perfect. He didn't cry, he didn't smile either. I was probably really scary. I held him. But yeah, it was totally awesome. I was so terrified he was going to cry but he was great. It was wonderful.

"He really had a great adjustment. The first few minutes in O'Hare, he was nervous and I thought it must smell different. China smelled different when we were there and it must smell and sound so different. He was really freaked out. We just held him and didn't let anyone else hold him. But once we were home, within a week once jet lag was finally over, we just sort of settled in as a family and it was just like he had always been with us.

"So Ben is full of energy."
Dad: "He is full of energy."
Mom: "He loves to laugh."
Dad: "Yeah, too smart for his own good."
Mom: "So smart. He is funny. I guess we never really thought, 'Oh what will our child be like, what will his personality be like?' You're thinking of all these other silly things like 'How old will he be? How will his medical need be?' But 'Who is he?' was something we never really thought about. But here we got this totally wild, spunky, fun, silly kid. He's so laid back and so easygoing and so full of fun. Six months at home, he actually was six months ahead of his age for understanding English as if he was born in the United States. So it was just like he took off without a pause.

"It was funny because his lip was repaired through an organization called Love Without Boundaries. After we were home they found us and they said 'Listen, we did your son's lip and we have reports about him and photos of him from when he was in China.' So they sent them to us, it was this amazing gift. But it talked all about him before we knew him, and it was our Ben. He's taking toys from other children and showing people he's boss. He's trying to make people giggle. And so it was really cool to see that that was him then and this is him now. It's just Ben. It's who he's always been."
Dad: "He really gets along. It's interesting. He's sociable. He's like a little politician. Like convincing people to do things for him."
Mom: "He actually goes to school two days a week and the teacher said, 'I can't tell you how many parents ask about Ben or where he is or how often he's in class, because all the kids talk about him when they come home.' There he is, just trying to make himself everyone's best friend, always wanting to be the center of everything."