Who Can Adopt from China

Busy Wangfujing Street in Beijing, .

Adoption between the United States and China is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from China, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, China also has the following requirements:


China does not require that prospective adoptive parents reside in China for a specified period prior to completing an adoption. However, in order to finalize an adoption, at least one adopting parent must travel to China to execute the required documents in person before the appropriate Chinese authorities. If only one member of an adopting married couple travels to China, that person must have in his/her possession a power of attorney from the other spouse, notarized and authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington or one of the Chinese Consulates General elsewhere in the United States.

Age of Adopting Parents

Both parents must be between the ages of 30 and 50. Those couples who apply to adopt a special needs child must be between the ages of 30 and 55.


Chinese law only permits intercountry adoption by married couples, defined as one man and one woman. They must adopt the child jointly. In addition, they must have been married at least two years; if either person has previously divorced, the couple must have been married at least five years. No more than two divorces are allowed. Single Females may now adopt special needs children from China. See our most recent adoption notice for details.


At least one member of the couple must have stable employment and the family's annual income must equal at least $10,000 for each family member in the household (including the child to be adopted). Annual income excludes welfare, pensions, unemployment insurance, and government subsidies. The total value of the family's assets must be at least $80,000. Both prospective parents must be high school graduates or have vocational training equivalent to a high school education.


Both partners must be physically and mentally fit, with none of the following conditions:

  • AIDS;
  • Mental disability;
  • Infectious disease that is actively contagious;
  • Blind in either eye;
  • Hearing loss in both ears or loss of language function (those adopting children with hearing or language function loss are exempted from this requirement);
  • Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limbs, paralysis or deformation;
  • Severe facial deformation;
  • Severe diseases that require long-term treatment and that may affect life expectancy, including malignant tumors, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, etc;
  • Major organ transplant within ten years;
  • Schizophrenia;
  • Severe mental disorders requiring medication for more than two years, including depression, mania, or anxiety neurosis; and
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more


The family must have fewer than five children under the age of 18, and the youngest is at least one year old (those adopting special needs children are exempted from this requirement). Neither partner may have a significant criminal record, and both must have a history of honorable behavior and good moral character with no evidence of:

  • Domestic violence, sexual abuse, abandonment or abuse of children;
  • Use of narcotics or any potentially addictive medication prescribed for mental illness;
  • Alcohol abuse, unless the individual can show she/he has been sober for at least ten years.

NOTE: Applications from persons with past criminal records will be considered on a case-by-case basis if the individual has fewer than three minor criminal convictions (none in the last ten years) and fewer than five minor traffic violations.

The prospective parents must demonstrate the ability to provide a safe family environment capable of meeting the needs of an orphaned child and providing for her/his development, and an understanding of the special risks (including potential diseases, developmental delays, and post-placement maladjustment) that could come with inter-country adoption.

Prospective adoptive parents must provide an adoption application letter that makes clear the willingness to allow post-placement follow-ups and provide post-placement reports as required. (Compliance with post-placement and post-adoption reports is extremely important for continued close cooperation on adoption between the United States and China.)

In each instance above where a specific age or time span is cited, it will be computed from the time that the CCCWA officially logs the adoption application documents.

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