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Patience urged on quake orphan adoptions
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People wishing to adopt quake orphans should remain patient while the authorities make every possible effort to reunite children separated from their parents, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday.

"The process of adopting earthquake orphans will start in accordance with laws after the situation in disaster areas stabilizes and the children's status is confirmed," the ministry said in a press statement.

"At the moment, we are trying our best to reunite children with their parents before we register any of them as orphans."

The ministry said it hopes to avoid situation where parents come to claim their children, but find out that they have already been adopted.

The ministry expressed its gratitude to foreigners who are eager to adopt Chinese orphans but said they also need to wait.

According to the ministry, family reunions are happening every day in quake areas.

In the city of Mianyang, for example, the number of unattended children was 1,697 on May 22. But a day later, this figure fell to 494.

Meanwhile, the ministry pointed out there may be more people willing to adopt than earthquake orphans available for adoption.

The ministry, the only government department in charge of adoption affairs, stressed that it had yet to authorize any organizations or people to start arranging adoptions.

In addition, the ministry pledged more financial support for children's welfare institutions and would encourage the public to support these efforts.

The government will also do more to support the elderly and disabled people who lost their relatives in the quake, the ministry said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2008)

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