CHINA WAITING CHILD & SPECIAL FOCUS
The China Waiting Child (CWC) Program was established to help place older children and children faced with particular challenges or conditions into special families. Such children may have conditions like cleft lip and palate, missing digits or hands, club feet, orthopedic problems, congenital heart disease, vision or hearing problems, and other conditions. HIC is one of the agencies selected by the China Center of Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) to find suitable families for Chinese children with such challenges.
As an alternative to the China Adoption Program, the adoption process is the same for both programs up through the submission of the dossier to the CCCWA. Once your dossier is logged in with the CCCWA and a log-in date and log-in number are assigned to you, you are eligible to be considered for children whose files are included in the online CWC list. In some exceptional cases (notably in contexts where children are designated as “Special Focus”), a family can apply for a child on the CWC list first and submit a dossier afterwards. In general, families in this situation should have a completed home study, but exceptions to this general rule can be made.
The children on the CWC list have particular needs or face unique challenges, so this program is well worth considering provided that your family is willing and able to accommodate a child who has such needs or who must confront some particular challenges. In order to be considered for this program, clients must genuinely be able to accommodate a child who faces challenges at least as minor as cleft lip and/or palate, minor limb deformities, some less severe forms of congenital heart disease, and /or Hepatitis B. Families complete a Parent Information and Child Preference (PICP) form to indicate which conditions they can accommodate. If you can accommodate a child whose challenges are more severe, please consider scheduling an appointment with the Asia Program Director to view the CWC list.
The children whose files are included on the CWC list are released to all agencies that participate in the CWC Program. New child files are typically released once a month. Once a child whose needs and challenges are consistent with those indicated on your PICP form has been identified, you will be asked to view the child’s files immediately. If you are reasonably certain that pending a pediatrician’s review, you want to move forward with the adoption, the child’s file will be locked for 72 hours. Since child files are accessible to multiple agencies, another agency can apply a family for the child at any time before the “Apply” button is clicked. It is for this reason that time is of the essence in these situations.
Once your pediatrician has reviewed the child information, you must immediately submit the materials required for your electronic application, including a Rehabilitation and Nurture Plan. These documents will be translated and electronically submitted to the CCCWA.
In general, clients who complete an online application for a child on the CWC list must switch to the China Waiting Child Program. It is therefore generally not possible for clients to retain their log-in date and continue their adoptions through the standard China Program. There is an exception to this general rule, however, which applies when a family decides to adopt a Special Focus child from the CWC list. In such cases, families will have the option of submitting a second dossier and will be able to retain their log-in date and/or complete a second adoption from the CWC list. The proviso in either event is that there be at least one year between child placements.
The CWC Special Focus Program is a program designed to assist children whose files have been on the online CWC list for over two months. HIC can request that the files for some of these “Special Focus” children on the CWC list be exclusively listed with HIC for a three month period. Both families with a log-in date and those who have a completed home study are eligible to adopt children through this program. In cases where the family in question does not have a dossier logged in with the CCCWA, once the child’s file has been logged in, HIC will have six months to submit the family’s adoption dossier and application to the CCCWA. Families in this situation will have to move very quickly through the adoption process in order to meet this deadline.
As long as at least one of the children is designated as a “Special Focus” child, families who are eligible to adopt from China are permitted to adopt two children within one year either simultaneously or successively. They may in various situations apply to adopt a child through the regular China Program as well as a Special Focus child, or they may adopt one non-Special Focus child and one Special Focus child, or two Special Focus children, either simultaneously or successively.
History of Adopting Waiting Children from China
Over the last several years, HIC has been successful in finding homes for older children or children with a variety of challenges and conditions. We owe our success to the many loving and nurturing families that have opened their hearts and their doors to these children. If you think that you are one of these loving and nurturing families, the CWC Program could be your ideal adoption venue.
Who can adopt? The following are the CWC adoption criteria for parents:
- Couples at least 30 years old, and no older than 54 years old
- Generally no more than five 5 children in the family under 18 years.
- A $30,000 minimum income requirement for couples without children
- A requirement of $10,000 per additional family member
- The prospective applicants should be a couple (one male and one female) with a stable marital relationship.
- If both the husband and wife have had no previous marriages, they must be married two years prior to applying. If either the husband or wife has been previously married, they must be married at least five years prior to applying.
- Under certain circumstances, single women are permitted to adopt through the CWC Special Focus Program. Single women are subject to all of the standard requirements for adoption from China in addition to the following:
• Single female applicants must be between 30 and 50 years of age. Applicants over 50 can be accepted as long as the difference in age between the child and the applicant is not more than 45 years.
• Unmarried applicants must provide a certificate of their civil status, such as a divorce decree (if divorced), a death certificate of their former spouse (if widowed), or a signed statement that the applicant is single and is not a homosexual (if never married).
• The family’s annual income must be at least $10,000 per family member, including the prospective adoptee, and the family net assets must be at least $100,000. The applicant must have good health insurance to cover the medical costs of the adopted child.
• Applicants should be experienced in child care or be occupied in child-related fields such as medicine, education, psychology, etc. Ideally, applicants would have experience in caring for children with various kinds of medical challenges.
• There should be no more than two children under the age of 18 in the applicant’s family, and the youngest of these must be 6 years of age or older.
• The home study must address the following topics regarding the applicant: her adoption motive, her reason for being single and attitude toward marriage, specific training for adopting a child with medical challenges, and a detailed rehabilitation and nurture plan.
• Applicants must be willing to appoint mail figures as role models for the adopted child and welcome male friends to join family gatherings.
• If the applicant is in a stable relationship and cohabitating with a male partner, the adoption will be governed by the requirements of married applicants.
These are general guidelines. If you do not meet these criteria we encourage you to talk with us before deciding against adopting a Waiting Child.
Total Length of Time
The total program time varies. If you are matched with a child shortly after completing your home study, the mimimal time frame is approximately 12-18 months (including 2 months for approval by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), all preliminary paperwork, assignment, and travel time) . You can anticipate traveling about 2-3 months after your child placement letter has been accepted.
The average child assignment made through the HIC China Child Waiting Program is as follows:
Children are available from 8 months old.
Boys and girls are available.
Children classified as Waiting Children may have minor conditions such as low birth weight or other problems. Others may have conditions that require surgery such as cleft lip and palate, missing digits or hands, club feet, orthopedic problems, congenital heart disease, vision or hearing problems, and other conditions. Still others may have permanent health considerations. Most orphanages and foster care programs have access to medical care, usually at the orphanage. Children usually receive regular check-ups and vaccinations as needed. Acute care is provided at area hospitals.
For definitions and brief information about conditions that affect some of the waiting children , review a Medical Conditions Glossary.
Nearly all children in China available for international adoption are abandoned, usually in or near the city or village of their birth. Typically, children are relinquished by their birth parents close to time of birth. These children are carefully left in public places where they are sure to be found, such as outside a police station or hospital. When found, the child is brought to an orphanage or police station where the child is taken into custody and cared for. If the police cannot locate the parents, the child will likely become eligible for international adoption. Because child abandonment is illegal, birth parents are careful not to leave any identifying information with the child.
Social Welfare Institutes
Social Welfare Institutes maintain guardianship of children until they are adopted. Some orphanages have foster care systems, while others provide only institutional care.
Adopting more than One Child at a Time
In rare instances twins or siblings are available for assignment. However, the China Center of Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) does not support placing unrelated children at the same time. Therefore, adopting more than 1 child from China usually means going through the China adoption process twice. An exception to this rule can be made if one of the children is adopted through the CWC Special Focus Program.
Information Available About the Child
The CCCWA provides all families with a basic medical report and photograph(s) of the children, and sometimes a growth and development report. Some children are found with a note identifying their name and birth date, which may or may not be indicated in the information provided by the orphanage. While abroad, sometimes families are able to meet orphanage workers or foster family members who cared for and know the child.
Adopting a child with particular challenges takes a very special family that is looking for the unique opportunity to make a difference in a child's life. Adopting a child through the CWC Program takes a family with extra energy, patience, commitment, and love to give. Our CWC Program families have deeply connected with their children and feel grateful for the opportunity to add to their families in this way.
The adopting family and the CWC Program Director work together to find the right match. HIC receives information from the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoptin (CCCWA) through the online system. Once you find a specific child that touches your heart, you will work with the Program Director to begin the paperwork process and to meet all of China's requirements. HIC takes great care in matching the right family with the right child, to ensure a successful placement and to build a loving family.
The application provides us with information about you and your adoptive needs. You are asked to list references, your reasons for wishing to adopt, and the type of child you think would best suit your family. With your approved application, we begin to walk you through the adoption process.
Your home study must be completed by a Hague Agency within your state of residence. HIC will complete the home study for residents of Hawaii. Clients living anywhere other than Hawaii will be advised by HIC of appropriate home study services in their geographic area. HIC will work closely with your home study agency to ensure efficient and appropriate completion of your home study.
Once the home study has been completed, one original copy must be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and one to HIC. Your home study should be submitted to HIC as soon as possible for you to receive HIC approval and for translation purposes. Your final home study report should be kept to 4-5 pages, if possible.
In order to complete an adoption you will need to get approval to immigrate a foreign born child by submitting a Form I-800A (Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a child from a Convention Country). This form will need to be mailed to USCIS along with your completed home study. Approval from USCIS typically takes 1-3 months. HIC will assist you with this process and provide you with forms and instructions.
China Dossier Completion & Submission
While waiting for the USCIS approval you should be preparing the documents required by the CCCWA. A list of the documents needed for your China dossier and all forms and samples will be included in your China Dossier Packet.
HIC provides families with a Home Study Packet, a USCIS Hague Packet, a Dossier Packet, and a CWC Program Packet at appropriate intervals after their formal application has been submitted. These packets are designed to get families through each step of the adoption process.
In addition, HIC maintains an e-mail newsletter and sends out monthly e-mailings. HIC staff members who specialize in various aspects of the adoption process are available by phone or e-mail for consultation and advice to help you complete your application and dossier properly, discuss travel plans, advise you about your child assignment, and explain post-adoption requirements and procedures.
Adoption Parent Training Classes
HIC offers a variety of pre-adoption training and support groups including our Mentor Program, which connects you to a family who has already completed its HIC adoption. HIC follows The Hague mandated 10-hour training requirement, but the CCCWA requires families adopting through China to complete 12 hours of training. HIC encourages all families to complete HIC's adoption preparation course or the online version through Adoption Learning Partners.
Our goal is to get your child into your arms as soon as possible, while ensuring that everything is in place to make for as smooth an adoption as possible. Once your documents are received from China, HIC immediately begins to prepare you for your trip. This process normally takes 2-3 months from the time the paperwork is received. HIC assists families with their travel plans, with the help of a travel agent.
Your Trip To China
The HIC Adoption Team, made up of the China Program Director, the China Facilitator, and a travel agent, arrange and finalize all of your travel plans, appointments, and paperwork requirements. Your facilitator will meet you in the province where your child lives, and walk you through the China adoption process in that province. The team is available to you on a 24-hour basis throughout the entire process and will ensure that all details and concerns are expediently handled.
When you receive your Notice of Travelling to China for Adoption, HIC will send you a China Travel Packet with all of the information, forms, packing lists and other materials you'll need for your adoption travel. You will also have an in-person or teleconference travel meeting with the Program Director for final questions, reminders and instructions prior to your departure.
China's adoption law requires that at least one parent travel to China to complete their child's adoption. While you are in China our China Facilitator will assist you with all phases of your trip, from logistical arrangements to adoption processing. An HIC China facilitator will meet and support you through the entire adoption voyage. Our coordinator is very experienced and is available to our families, 24-hours a day for the duration of the trip abroad. Your stay in China will be approximately 13 days.
Upon your arrival home with your newly adopted child, an HIC Welcome Home Packet will be waiting for you. Our Welcome Home Packet is designed to help you finalize issues such as insuring your child's U.S. citizenship, applying for your child's Social Security Card, and passport, and re-adopting your child in your state of residence, if necessary.
Upon your return home, all families are required to have their home study agency or, a licensed social worker, complete six (6) post-adoption reports at intervals of 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and 5 years after the adoption or until the child reaches the age of 18 (whichever comes first). Unless they are prepared by HIC, copies of all post-adoptionreports must be sent to HIC.
Families who adopt through the China Waiting Child or CWC Special Focus Program must complete a table, “Feedback on the Special Needs Child” and elaborate on the implementation of the Rehabilitation and Nurture Plan during the first year after adoption. Each report must include a total of eight (8) photos.
Other post-adoption resources available to families include HIC's eNews, our monthly HIC e-mail newsletter, access to a variety of local and national adoption resources, and access to the HIC staff members who specialize in various aspects of the adoption process. The latter may be done in person or by phone or email. HIC also offers family's opportunities to network, socialize, participate in fun activities such as Chinese classes and play groups.
- The wait time for a Waiting Child from China is significantly shorter.
- There are boys available for adoption.
- You may choose the child you wish to adopt.
- Children are closely matched to parents/families.
- Clients are able to view child information before accepting a child assignment.
Adopting Family Stories
The Journey through the Labyrinth… Making the Decision
I frequently compare my journey to bring Kevin Matthew ZhaoPan Messner home as a walk through a labyrinth. The journey took so many twists and turns that when I finally got to the end and opened the final door and took one look at Pan, I was sure he was meant to be my son.
As a single mom of a wonderful 7 year old daughter, Mei Ling, I thought long and hard about having a second child. So for several years I scanned the internet for a possible sibling but the timing was never quite right. Mei Ling and I talked for a long time and we decided to pursue this adoption.
Mei Ling and I had discussed what kind of a child we hoped to add to our family. We were open to either a boy or a girl (although I was partial to a boy). I wanted a preschool boy between the ages of 4-6 because of my age. When we got the list, there were 2 boys and 2 girls. The older two were a girl with a repaired cleft lip and a cleft palate, and a little boy with a deformity of the right crus. The other 2 were a little girl with chronic ichthyosis and a little boy with a cleft palate. I was drawn to the 2 boys. I asked my doctor and an orthopedist friend what a crus was. It had to do with the lower leg. I figured it was a small deformity. Well the small deformity turned out to be a missing tibia and a funky little foot in its place just below the knee. I must admit, I stepped back. I wasn’t sure I could handle that need. I thought about my health insurance. I was a little scared…
…Kevin is now walking around on two feet. The surgery went well in Dec and on Jan. 21st he was fitted for a new leg. He adjusted very well and within 3 weeks was walking a balance beam with no help. There is not much this child can’t do. He is almost ready to learn to run and will have some physical therapy for that soon. His prosthetics are like his 4 godfathers. They encourage them and cheer him on. Meanwhile, he has also made great strides at preschool. His English is really improving and he will be ready for kindergarten in August.