NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 20, 2006

China is imposing new restrictions on foreign adoptions, barring applicants who are unmarried, obese, over 50 or who take antidepressants, according to U.S. adoption agencies.

The move comes amid a surge in foreign applications to adopt Chinese children.  The United States is the top destination for children adopted abroad, but the number going to Europe and elsewhere is rising:

  • Among other restrictions, couples must have a Body Mass Index -- a measure of obesity -- of no more than 40 and be aged 30-50, with people up to age 55 considered for children with special needs, according to the agencies.
  • The rules bar parents who take medication for psychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety or have a "severe facial deformity."

Americans adopted 7,906 children from China in 2005, raising the total since 1989 to 48,504, according to the Joint Council on International Children's Services in Alexandria, Va.

A sharp increase in foreign applications for adoption has led to a backlog in approvals, with waiting times rising from six months in early 2005 to as much as 15 months now, according to adoption agencies.

Source: "China tightens rules on foreign adoption," Associated Press/USA Today, December 19, 2006.

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