As of January 1, there have been some changes made in Chinese adoptions. On December 5, 2014, the CCCWA (China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption) issued a statement outlining the new rules. There are a couple of changes which could make it easier to adopt from China and another change which makes it easier to manage the post-placement reports after you come home with your child.

While many of China’s stringent requirements are still in place, such as a BMI less than 40, no depression, no blindness, no missing limbs or facial deformities, others have been relaxed. First off, the limit of 5 children in the home in order to adopt has been removed. For those of us with large families, this is good news. Age limits have also been changed. Instead of having an upper age limit, now the younger parent must be no more than 50 years older than the child they are adopting. Income is another area which makes it difficult for families to qualify for China. While China still has the $10,000 per family member rule, there is a little leeway now. If a family does not meet the income requirements, yet they can prove they live above the local standard of living, that income will be acceptable.

Other changes involve post-placement reports. Previously, reports were required up to five years post-placement and had to be written by a social worker. With the new changes, reports are required at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, and 5 years, with a social worker only writing the first three. Parents will be allowed to write the last three reports, saving all of us a bundle of money on fees to our homestudy agency. (I have to admit I cheered when I heard about this one, since we have a 3 year post-placement report coming up in the next couple of months and I wasn’t looking forward to writing the check.)

Why are these changes important? Because they make it just a little bit easier for a family to adopt from China, a country where the need for families for children is great. Let me share some numbers to illustrate what I mean, but first I need to explain a little about how the program is set up.

There are many Social Welfare Institutes (SWI’s) in China and they all have children who need families. (No one is quite sure of the actual number and China does not publish them.) Some of these children have files prepared for international adoption. The numbers I’m going to share are of children who have files and are waiting to be matched with a family. They represent a fraction of the actual number of parentless children.

As of December 10, 2014, the Shared List had the names of 1,962 children on it. To break it down further, that would be 521 girls and 1441 boys. (Please notice high percentage of boys!) Now, the Shared List is only one place that a child’s file can end up. Many agencies have partnership agreements with certain SWI;s and receive files from those orphanages. Plus, children’s files are also given to agencies to find families for. And that is just the United States, other files are sent to agencies in other countries. (One of the new rules deals with how long an agency may keep a child’s file before returning it so a family can try to be found elsewhere.) That 1962 number is just the beginning when you start to add in all the files that are being held elsewhere.

This is why these changes are important. Children need families. All children need families. If these changed make it easier for a child to find that Mommy and Daddy he has been longing for, then these are very good changes indeed.