New guidelines on foreign adoption have won international support, a senior official with the China Centre of Adoption Affairs said on Friday.
The guidelines, which took effect on May 1, gives preference to more "suitable applicants", such as people with stable marriages, sound health and adequate finances.
Applicants should have a Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, of less than 40.
Applicants must be married for at least two years, and those who have been previously divorced, should be currently married for at least five years.
Lu Ying, the center's director, said the guidelines ensure Chinese children are adopted by qualified foreign families.
It also shortens the waiting time of candidate families and relieves their anxiety.
Lu said the centre is still processing applications submitted in November 2005, because of the large number of respondents.
He stressed the new guidelines do not affect applications submitted before May 1.
China's laws, regulations and policies concerning foreign adoptions have not changed, Lu said, referring to the Law of Adoption and the Registration Regulation on Foreign Adoption.
"We continue to hold a positive view toward foreign adoptions," he said.
Lu said the new guidelines have won widespread praise from adoption authorities and agencies abroad.
In a letter to the center, the Adoption Board in Ireland said the new criteria reflect the spirit of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which was signed in 1993.
The top legislature approved the convention in 2005.
The Danish National Board of Adoptions also said that it fully respects Chinese efforts to better the procedure for adoptions.
"The new guidelines are aimed at solving the contradiction between too many applicants and the inadequate number of available children," Lu said.
He said the centre, the only institution authorized to deal with foreign adoptions, has received a soaring number of applications to adopt Chinese children in recent years.
"We will make adjustments to the guidelines as the situation warrants," Lu said.
More than 50,000 Chinese children are believed to have been adopted by foreigners in the past 10 years. The United States tops the list.
Lu said the center will host a 10-day summer camp for Chinese children adopted by American families this month.
(China Daily August 4, 2007)