China has been offering its adoption program consistently since 1992. The program is recognized by a majority in the adoption community as one of the premier adoption programs in the history of international adoptions. The Chinese government and its adoption branch, the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) are continuously improving the program, while seeking to improve the lives of those children destined to remain in China. China requires all agencies directly placing children from China to be nonprofit and state licensed. HIC is one of the adoption agencies in the United States that has a direct relationship with the CCCWA.
HIC was one of the first American adoption agencies to bring orphaned children home from China, when that country opened its doors to international adoption in 1992. Since then we at HIC have united over 400 Chinese children with American parents. Prospective China clients should be aware of special circumstances that apply to the China Program. Please see the General Information Packet for further information.
History of Adoption
In 1972, in order to control the population problem in China, the Family Planning Commission of China implemented the One-Child Policy, which limits each family in an urban area to one child and those living in a rural area to two. Additionally, China has a historical and social emphasis on the importance of having a male child because a son is responsible for taking care of his parents as they age (Zhong nan, qing nü 重 男輕女). This is even more pragmatic in rural areas, where a male child may be helpful in terms of the family’s livelihood. Though China is working to change this belief system, many families still favor a male child. Because of the value placed on male children and the implementation of the One-Child Policy, many Chinese girls are surrendered and in need of loving homes.
Who can adopt? China has revised its requirements for adoptive parents as follows:
- Married heterosexual couples 30-49 years old are eligible to adopt from China.
- Parents must be married for 2 years. If divorced, they must be in their current marriage for at least 5 years.
- Single adults are not able to adopt in China. Under certain circumstances, single women are permitted to adopt through the CWC Special Focus Program.
- Clients with Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40 are not eligible to adopt in China.
- Homosexual adults are not eligible to adopt in China.
- Adults with cancer or other long-term illnesses are not eligible to adopt.
- Families with 4 or more children in the home are not eligible to adopt.
- Adults with a criminal record are not eligible to adopt.
- Adults taking psychotropic medication are not eligible to adopt.
- There is a general $30,000 minimum income requirement for couples without children and a requirement of $10,000 per additional family member. Families must have assets valued at at least $80,000.
These are general guidelines, but by no means a complete list of all requirements. If you do not meet these criteria we encourage you to talk with us before deciding against adopting in China.
Total Length of Time
The total program time is approximately 5+ years (including 2 months for approval by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), all preliminary paperwork, assignment, and travel time). Please see the General Information Packet for the latest information regarding China wait times. 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 Program is as follows:
Most adopting parents request a child as young as possible. China does not assign children younger than 6 months of age. Most children placed through the HIC China program are between the ages of 8 and 18 months at time of placement.
For prospective parents between the ages of 30 and 44, the average ages of the youngest child assignments (referrals) are between 8 and 18 months. Prospective parents 45 years and older have an increased possibility of receiving a child 18 months or older.
China allows prospective parents to adopt only one child at a time unless the child is a twin, which is rare, or if the family is adopting one of the children through the CWC Special Focus Program. Nearly all children assigned are girls. Families wanting to adopt boys or more than 1 child at a time are encouraged to consider other country programs.
Most children are left without any personal identifying information (birth date and name unknown).
China is known for having relatively healthy children (by international adoption standards). But even children considered healthy by international standards generally have experienced some malnutrition and/or developmental delay. Children live either in an orphanage or with a foster family in a program run by an orphanage or local social welfare institute, or supported by a private agency.
Nearly all children in China available for international adoption are relinquished, 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.
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 one 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
Upon assignment of a child, you will receive a package that includes the child’s photo, brief medical report, and sometimes a growth and development report from the CCCWA. Documents will be provided to you in original form (Chinese) with an English translation. Once you accept your child assignment, HIC will express mail your acceptance letter to the CCCWA. You will travel approximately 2-3 months after your acceptance letter is received.
Once you have committed to the idea of adopting internationally, there are several steps that need to be taken early in the process. The HIC staff will walk you through the entire process to make sure everything is in order throughout the adoption process and especially when you travel to pick up your child in China.
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.
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 child assignment information is received, HIC immediately begins to prepare you for your trip to China. This process normally takes 2-3 months from the time the assignment 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.
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.
Welcome Home Packet
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.
- China offers one of the most steady and stable international adoption programs available.
- The travel experience is pleasant and enjoyable, since the travel time is short (approximately 13 days).
- China is an industrialized country with many amenities, and HIC has the best adoption team to facilitate your adoption needs.
- Though the health of children adopted internationally can never be guaranteed, China is known for having relatively healthy children.
- The program is run by dedicated staff, who are experienced with all of the requirements and demands.
Adopting Family Stories
“It was a wonderful experience for me to travel to China to pickup my daughter. I felt safe and confident at all times. I liked being in a group and have kept in contact with other families. Our guide was wonderful. She walked us through every aspect of the adoption. I could have never done it alone.”
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii
“Throughout the entire adoption process, from our initial inquiries about adoption, until we brought our daughter home from China, the staff of Hawaii International Child was always informative, organized, and quick to respond to our questions and concerns, helpful and friendly. Their support, care, and concern made us feel relaxed, confident and secure each step of the way. Once we decided to adopt our best decision was to adopt through HIC.”
Doreen Blas/Kirk Drygas
“My adoption experience was wonderful – the staff at HIC was great and supportive through the ups and downs of adopting from China, when they were changing the rules. The result is my beautiful daughter Marissa who continues to delight (and challenge) me.”
Kappa, Kauai, Hawaii
For newspapers, weather, information on China click on the links below.