May 02, 2007

Nine months down and no word of a speed-up

Today we cross the nine month mark in the adoption wait. I have been asked MANY times what is causing the slowdown? I found some information on another site that I think helps explain it a little bit.

Information borrowed from Lanterns and Lotus Blossoms

This is information from the recent Joint Council on International Children's Services regarding the China adoption program. The information is straight forward and to the point. It's not directly from the horse's mouth (CCAA), but it is a compilation from a meeting of many agencies working in China.

  1. There are currently 25,000 dossiers at the CCAA that have been processed and are waiting to be matched with referrals.
  2. There are only 400-700 kids' files being sent to the CCAA each month. The CCAA has to wait on these files to be sent to them from the Department of Civil Affairs in each province, and the Dept. of Civil Affairs must wait on the files to be sent to them from each respective orphanage.
  3. The backlog is thus caused because there are more dossiers waiting for referrals than there are available children's files being sent to the CCAA.
  4. Orphanages must file a tremendous amount of paperwork in order to register one child for adoption. The paperwork is being done, but not fast enough to keep the waiting period less than 18 months.
  5. There are no longer specific orphanages that can send children's files to Civil Affairs and then to the CCAA, any orphanage in China is now permitted to send files to the CCAA.
  6. The Chinese government is working to register more children for adoption (who are deemed abandoned children and thus legally available for adoption).
  7. Regarding the new regulations that will go into effect on May 1st, 2007, China made the decision to implement much stricter regulations because they want to decrease the wait for referrals. They talked through many different ways to decrease the waiting time, and they decided to tighten up the regulations to accomplish their goal. They do not desire to cease adoptions altogether.
  8. The CCAA has confirmed that the 2008 Olympics in Beijing will not affect the adoption process at all.
  9. The new regulations going into effect on May 1st are not retroactive. This means that no dossier sent to the CCAA andarriving there before May 1st will be reviewed according to the new guidelines, however, the CCAA has already begun reviewing dossiers with much more caution. It has recently become commonplace (amongst all agencies working with the CCAA) for the CCAA to request additional documentation regarding finances, medical conditions, and various other items in the dossier.
  10. How long will the waiting times for referrals of non-special needs children extend to? The CCAA refuses to predict waiting times of any kind. Any timeframe given to any agency is approximate and cannot be guaranteed.
  11. How many staff personnel are working at the CCAA? There are approximately 60 staff members currently at the CCAA.
  12. Dossiers submitted after May 1st will be under very strict review according to the given guidelines.
  13. Regarding the Waiting Child Program, the CCAA will be implementing an online administration program for each agency in the near future instead of sending out new lists. They stated that this would begin in February of 2007, but it has not begun yet. (#s 13-16 below are all regarding the Waiting Child Program)
  14. Most agencies are seeing a waiting time (after dossier is logged in AND Letter of Intent is submitted) for the Letter of Seeking Confirmation of Adopter to be 3-4 months. If additional information is requested by the CCAA for the dossier, this will present a slight delay in issuing the Letter of Seeking Confirmation of Adopter. The delay could be approximately one to two months.
  15. After the Letter of Seeking Confirmation of Adopter is signed and sent back to the CCAA, the Travel Approval should be issued within 1-3 weeks.
  16. Can families find a waiting child on a different agency's list(than the agency they submitted their dossier to the CCAA through)and pursue adopting that child? The CCAA has changed their policy and will no longer allow any family to switch agencies for the purpose of adopting a waiting child after a dossier is submitted through one agency.
  17. The waiting time is getting longer and longer. Can we pursue an adoption domestically or through another country as we wait for our referral? The CCAA will not allow any simultaneous adoptions, i.e.the pursuit of another international adoption while your dossier is in China or the pursuit of a domestic adoption while your dossier is in China. If the CCAA finds out that a family is doing this while their dossier is in China, the family risks having their dossier rejected and sent back to their placing agency.
  18. The Blue Sky Project is a new initiative started by the CCAA that will help build more orphanages and remodel existing ones. Information about this can be found on the CCAA's website (