Fewer Chinese children available for adoption in US

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It is becoming increasingly difficult for American couples to adopt a Chinese baby because the number of available children is diminishing despite soaring interest, a senior US official told China Daily on Wednesday.

Fewer Chinese children available for adoption in US

A woman from the United States with her newly-adopted son, Tang Jian, in Suining city, Sichuan province. [File photo]

More than 3,000 children from China were adopted in the United States last year, the largest number among all countries, but the figure has fallen dramatically from nearly 8,000 in 2005, according to data from the US Department of State.

The reasons are, said Michele Thoren Bond, deputy assistant secretary of state for overseas citizens, there are fewer children in China who need to be adopted, more Chinese families are adopting these children, and fewer unwanted children are being born.

"But the interest in the possibility of adopting a Chinese child has not gone down," she said.

Typically, inter-country adoption procedures take about three-and-a-half years. Now it may take even longer, and applicant families face more paperwork and higher standards after the Chinese government imposed changes in qualifications for prospective parents.

"They were simply trying to reduce the pool of well-qualified people who were applying to adopt. They had many more than they could vet and many more than they needed," she said at the National Adoption Day briefing on Nov 20.

But Bond does not worry about the shrinking number of available Chinese children.

"It is very important to remember that in adoption, we are not finding a child for a family but looking for a good family for each child," she said.

"Our ultimate hope is that each child grows up in a family, not in an orphanage or an institution."

If more and more Chinese families adopt Chinese children and fewer babies are left to foreign families, "the fact that the numbers are going down is not necessarily a bad thing".

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