Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fewer Children for Adoption?

Yesterday I read an online article from CNN that carried the headline: Fewer children up for adoption in China. You can read the article at this link.

While generally an accurate story that fewer Americans are finalizing adoptions each year from China, I couldn't help but finish the article with a feeling of frustration. The reality is that there are thousands of children who need homes from China who have a special need, and those of us who follow adoption agency lists know that every month far too many children's files go back to China "unchosen". I read posts online all the time from parents who have seen a child's file or picture with an agency and who then plead for someone to please consider adopting that child before they lose their chance. That part of the story isn't often communicated publicly to the world.

I think one of the reasons that more and more children on waiting children lists do not find families is because of the growing feeling that China is no longer a good option for international adoption. While it is true that adoption through the non special needs path has slowed to 5 years, the special needs path to adoption is still a wonderful way to form a family, often in under a year. I am writing this, of course, as a mom who knows that calling the non special needs path the "healthy" path to adoption isn't always accurate. My son TJ, adopted through the waiting child path due to a limb difference, is as healthy as a horse and hasn't been sick in years.

I think the thing that bothers me the most with articles such as the one above is that they portray special needs adoption as a second choice. I wish more national newspapers and media outlets would promote special needs adoption for exactly what it is....a wonderful choice which blesses both the child and the parents. There are so many great children on waiting child lists who are waiting to be chosen TODAY. Perhaps if that positive message was communicated better through the media, we wouldn't have to hear yet again, "the child's file was sent back without finding a family. "

What are your thoughts?



  1. I so agree. Chinese adoption is so ridiculously complicated that even adoptive families can't understand it (the blog always reminds me of this), but the news reports it like they know everything, and they give a really 2-D picture of everything. =/

    At least that article wasn't as bad as this:

  2. "Special Needs" is such a scary phrase, but when applied to children available to adopt from China, it can be such a wide range of things. I never understood how minor some of the needs are until we looked into the program as a way to adopt a non-infant.

    Having adopted both non-special needs and special needs, I can honestly say we got much more information on our "special needs" daughter and because of that information, were quickly able to say yes, that's our child. Her special needs required no medical intervention beyond some initial health assessments. She has been home for over 16 months and those in the NSN path still face a wait of years.

  3. Could not agree more. Cannot imagine life without our special blessing. My saying is this: "Our S is not special needs but is JUST SPECIAL!" We are *hoping* to be paperchasing again very soon for another special child who is on our agency's list! HE is older. I wish more people knew that many of the waiting children don't even have special medical needs, but are just harder to place b/c of their age. They deserve the love of a family too!!!

  4. I totally agree Amy. I have 2 children adopted with special needs, one from hong kong and one from within australia but also chinese ethnicity-and i wouldn't have it any other way! i am currently at Hope in Beijing and all these babies/children need mum's and dad's so desperately-and i wonder why it is that so many aren't 'chosen'.i think informing people so they have more understanding of what 'special needs' means, and that it's not as scary as it sounds-maybe things will gradually change?

  5. I could not agree more! We have just adopted our son from the "SN" China program and couldn't be happier! We knew we were going that route from the very beginning after doing research and seeing the need for homes. I hope to add another child (would be our 4th) someday and will-without hesitation-go the "SN" route again. We brought home our son within one year of applying. Every child deserves a family!