Adopting from China: A Bump in the Road

As anyone who follows international adoptions already knows, China released unexpected changes to their adoption requirements on the 6th of July. The new regulations became effective immediately. One of the new regulations precluded our family from adopting from China.

We started the process earlier this year. Here is more about our first steps on the road to adoption.

To share something personal. The day we found out that the new regulations would preclude us was one of the hardest days in recent years. So much emotion goes into an adoption and to have it yanked away in an instant was crushing. We spent the day in tears, all of us. As an adoptive parent you think of your adopted child as yours– even now before we even know what she is like or who she is. She’s out there somewhere. She’s our daughter’s sister. She’s part of our family. To suddenly find out she’s never coming home was almost too much.

In desperation, we called and emailed our adoption agency in the USA. They were swamped with similar correspondence but did finally get in touch with us. “Hang tight,” was their suggestion. They promised to petition on our behalf and reach out to China for more information.

The regulation that precluded us was the new youngest child rule. The youngest child in the home must now be three. Previously, there was no youngest child rule. Many other Hague signatory countries have similar rules so China is tightening up its requirements. Still, the timing and lack of grace period was surprising to our adoption agency.

I emailed and called friends and contacts in China to better understand the origin of the new regulations. No one knew anything substantial. More correspondence with our agency revealed that they were had people in China, petitioning for waivers for families like ours who were already well into the adoption process.

We waited 14 grueling and painful days, but this morning at 2:30am we got an email from our adoption agency that China has agreed to grandfather our case in under the old regulations!

Thank you China, and thank you to our adoption agency for petitioning on our behalf. After two weeks of pain and anxiety, we’re only back where we started but now we’re elated to be there!

With that painful bump in the road behind us, we are now ready to be paired with a child. Basically, China takes a look at our dossier and takes a look at the kids they have in orphanages and institutions and they try to find kids that match. When they do, they’ll send information on the child to us and we’ll determine if that fits our needs. Essentially, they do their best to make a good fit, and we do our best to stay open minded and not get an image in our head of a specific person. You don’t know the most important things about a person from a picture or a medical summary. What they will like, their personality, their interests… all of those important things can’t be documented. That’s the adventure.

As with our two lovely kids, we’ll find out who our adopted daughter is as she grows and lives with us.

So, the adventure continues and we’re all the more thankful to be on the road to adopting from China.

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