After my husband and I applied to our agency, we started the home study process to adopt our child from China. As many of you can attest, the home study is not as bad as you might think (but that is for another post).
During our first home visit, my social worker asked me how long I thought the entire process would take. I was somewhat naive and responded “I think it will take 18 – 24 months from start to finish”. “You will probably wait 4 – 5 years for a referral of a non-special needs (NSN) child,” said my social worker. “Wow! That’s a long time,” both my husband and I exclaimed. “Why is it such a long wait?”, I asked. Unfortunately, she did not have a clear answer for us.
Adoptions from China peaked in 2005. 7,903 children were placed into forever families within the United States. In 2009, only 3,001 children were placed into U.S. families. According to the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA), they have matched children with families whose dossiers were logged in through May 23, 2006. They have reviewed the dossiers of families logged in through November 30, 2009. So if you start doing the math, families waited 4 1/2 years to be matched with their child.
There are many rumors circulating as to the cause of the reduction in international adoptions. Some speculate that the 2008 Olympics in Beijing casted an unfavorable light on international adoptions in China. Others believe more Chinese families are adopting domestically and/or the one child policy is not enforced as strictly as it once was.
Whatever the actual reason for the reduction in the NSN program, many families have decided not to wait the 4 – 5 years. Some families have switched to other countries, like South Korea, Ethopia, and Russia. But a large amount of families have decided to remain with China - just changed to China’s Special Needs (SN) program. Families can be matched with a child much quicker than the traditional NSN program. If families are open to various conditions and/or gender, the wait time can be drastically reduced to a few months (the SN program will be looked at in greater depth in the upcoming weeks).