Adoption From China: Background information when reading The Fortunes

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The Fortunes

by Peter Ho Davies

The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies X
The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2016, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2017, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Adoption From China

Print Review

In The Fortunes, one of the main characters is adopting a baby from China. The U.S. Department of State reports that a total of 76,026 children were brought from China to the USA through adoption between 1999 and 2015. Of these, 87.1% were female and 12.9% male – a result of China's historical one-child policy and the frequent abandonment of girls at orphanages. Although China is still among the most popular for inter-country adoption into the United States, the frequency of adoption from another country has declined significantly from its peak in 2004.

Adoption from China International adoptions are controlled by the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption – the Hague Adoption Convention for short. Married couples or single women hoping to adopt from China must first be pre-approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security. They also have to meet China's specific eligibility requirements for prospective parents:

  • aged between 30 and 50
  • married two years or longer, with no more than two divorces in the past
  • at least one member of the couple employed, with a salary of at least $10,000 for each household member
  • total assets of $80,000 or more
  • fewer than five children under 18
  • at least one member of the couple must come to China in person to complete the paperwork

Disqualification can be based on the criminal background or poor health of the prospective adopters. For instance, mental illness, AIDS, blindness, deafness, life-threatening disease, severe obesity, and history of domestic violence or substance abuse are all disqualifying factors.

According to the terms of the Hague Adoption Convention, China must attempt to place children within its borders before making them available for international adoption. This means that, increasingly, those Chinese children offered for international adoption are likely to have special needs. The waiting list to adopt a healthy child from China can be as long as five or six years. On the other hand, Waiting Children programs, for kids who are waiting to be adopted, seek to place special needs and older orphans – in China children can only be adopted up to the age of 13.

Prospective parents have to go through an adoption service provider, such as an agency or attorney, that has been accredited by both the USA and China. The China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption provides a list of their licensed agencies. Submitting an application for adoption takes four to six months, and the time between approval and the chance to travel to China to complete the adoption is two to three months. The total costs of an international adoption can be in the range of $20,000 to $25,000.

Picture from AdoptAbroad

Article by Rebecca Foster

This article was originally published in September 2016, and has been updated for the September 2017 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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