Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from the Sheltons! Lee, Dawn, June and Abby

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Press on Chinese Adoption from CNN

    BEIJING, China (AP) -- China is imposing new restrictions on foreign adoptions, barring applicants who are unmarried, obese, over 50 or who take antidepressants, according to U.S. adoption agencies.

    The restrictions are meant to limit adoptions to "only the most qualified families," said the Web site of one agency, Harrah's Adoption International Mission in Spring, Texas.

    The agency said China has pledged to try to make more children available to those who qualify.

    The move comes amid a surge in foreign applications to adopt Chinese children. The United States is the No. 1 destination for children adopted abroad, but the number going to Europe and elsewhere is rising.

    An employee of the government-run China Center of Adoption Affairs, the agency that oversees foreign adoptions, said it has issued new guidelines but refused to confirm the details released by the American agencies. He wouldn't give his name.
People are asking us if these changes will affect us and the answer is no. For two reasons: One is that those who already have their LIDs (log-in dates) will be grandfathered in. Our LID is 3-13-06 so we are ok. Second, even if we weren't grandfathered in, we would still qualify. So, no worries! Please don't feel sorry for us regarding the wait. We are doing fine, in fact, better now than a few months ago. It is hard, yes, but we have total peace. We wish the same peace for other waiting families.

We will wait on the CCAA, but will not worry since REALLY we are waiting on the LORD.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

NY Times Article on Chinese Adoption

China Tightens Adoption Rules for Foreigners
The New York Times
Published: December 20, 2006

China plans to tighten rules on foreign adoptions, barring people who are single, obese, older than 50 or who fail to meet certain benchmarks in financial, physical or psychological health from adopting Chinese children, according to adoption agencies in the United States.

The restrictions are in response to an enormous spike in applications by foreigners, which has far exceeded the number of available babies, said leaders of American adoption agencies who were briefed by Chinese officials earlier this month.

The new regulations, which have not yet been formally announced by the government-run China Center of Adoption Affairs, or C.C.A.A., are expected to take effect on May 1, 2007, and have raised concern and anxiety among prospective adoptive parents in this country.

China has in recent years been the No. 1 source of foreign-born children adopted by Americans — in the fiscal year 2006, the State Department granted 6,493 visas to Chinese orphans — and its regulations on who can adopt have been less restrictive than those in some other countries, adoption agencies said.

Now, however, the agencies said, the Chinese government has formulated guidelines intended to recruit adoptive families with qualities that Chinese officials believe will provide the greatest chance that children will be raised by healthy, economically stable parents.

“They need somehow to cut down on the number of families that are submitting” adoption requests, said Jackie Harrah, executive director of Harrah’s Adoption International Mission in Spring, Tex.

“Their feeling is that while singles can be good parents,” Ms. Harrah said, “it is better for a child to be raised in a two-parent family, it’s better for a parent to be educated, it’s better for a parent not to be obese because they have a chance of living longer. What C.C.A.A. really wanted was the cream of the crop.”

Several agencies said they had been flooded with confused, anxious or disappointed calls and e-mail messages from people wanting to adopt or those going through the application process. Most of those who had already initiated adoption applications were told that if they got all their paperwork in by May 1, they were likely to be approved.

But international adoption agencies have already begun turning away applicants who did not meet the new criteria.

The guidelines include a requirement that applicants have a body-mass index of less than 40, no criminal record, a high school diploma and be free of certain health problems like AIDS and cancer. Couples must have been married for at least two years and have had no more than two divorces between them. If either spouse was previously divorced, the couple cannot apply until they have been married for at least five years.

In addition, adoptive parents must have a net worth of at least $80,000 and income of at least $10,000 per person in the household, including the prospective adoptive child.

Parents can be as old as 55 if adopting a child with special needs.

Timothy Sutfin, executive director of New Beginnings Family and Children’s Services, an international adoption agency in Mineola, N.Y., said the new guidelines put China in the middle of the spectrum of countries — not as restrictive as South Korea, but stricter than places like Guatemala or Vietnam.

Keith Wallace, the chief executive of Families Thru International Adoption, based in Evansville, Ind., said that adopting an American child could also be restrictive, with standards for the health, economic situation and marital status of the family.

Despite the new rules, adoption agencies said they did not believe that the numbers of Chinese children adopted by Americans would decrease. Since 1991, Americans have adopted 55,000 Chinese children. Adoptions cost about $15,000, according to agency Web sites.

Since one agency, Great Wall China Adoption in Austin, Tex., posted the new rules on its Web site last week, “we’ve had about 400 e-mails and phone calls a day,” said Heather Terry, director of regional offices for the agency. “Some families were just turned down today. One was a couple where the husband had social anxiety disorder and takes Zoloft,” a violation of the new guidelines that bar people who are taking medication for anxiety or depression.

One person who is disqualified is Tony Velong of Temple Terrace, Fla. Mr. Velong and his wife, Tracey, had previously adopted two girls from China and were considering applying for a third. But they are too old: he is 59 and she is 51.

“I’m sure anybody who is healthy and eligible to adopt a child and couldn’t because of the age rule would be disappointed at least,” said Mr. Velong, who was 55 when the first child was adopted.

There is no question he is physically fit: he is the police chief of Temple Terrace.

“I’m still working the street,” Mr. Velong said, “and you have to be in good shape. In reality, today’s 60 was yesterday’s 40, and I don’t think that’s fully understood.”

A major reason that Chinese babies, most of them girls, are available for adoption is China’s two-decade-old population control measure known as the “one child policy.”

The C.C.A.A., which was known to be developing the new guidelines for months, refused a request in recent weeks for an interview on adoption policy, and yesterday a call to the Chinese Embassy in Washington was not returned. An unidentified official cited by The Associated Press confirmed that the government was adopting new guidelines but declined to discuss specifics.

Some of the guidelines are a culmination of what had been a previous tightening of criteria, agencies said. For the past few years, for example, to whittle down the applicant pool, China has limited the number of single parents allowed to adopt to 8 percent of the total, partly on the theory that if a single parent dies, the child has no other parent to turn to, agencies said.

The ease of China’s earlier standards was probably one reason for the deluge in applications, agencies said. But China is also popular because its system is well organized and efficient and because Chinese orphans are generally well cared for and have a good chance of being healthy when adopted.

Foreign parents have become a common sight in cities like Guangzhou or Changsha, where they usually travel in groups and stay in the local five-star hotel for a few days as they acclimate themselves to their new baby.

The quality of the Chinese system and the health of the children is what prompted Mindy and Michael Henderson of Austin to apply for a Chinese child this year, a girl, Grace, who they adopted last month. Under the new rules, Ms. Henderson, 33, would have been disqualified because she uses a wheelchair for a neuromuscular condition. As it was, she said, her adoption agency had to lobby hard to gain approval, and was successful only because Grace is 5, not an infant.

“It’s really a shame,“ Ms. Henderson said of the health-related restrictions. “I’m really, really active. I use a motorized wheelchair so I can get around by myself. I drive my own car, I’ve got a master’s degree and I work a full-time job in management. My husband doesn’t have any sort of a disability.”

Adoption agencies differed on who would be most affected by the restrictions. Ms. Terry said, “The body-mass index and the anxiety and depression are probably the two most significant blows. These are really common diagnoses here in America.”

Ms. Harrah said that the age limit would exclude a lot of eager applicants, and that the marriage requirement of five years for a second marriage would mean for many that “by the time they have been married for five years they will be over 50.”

Others lamented the singles exclusion.

“It’s a very sad day,” said Peggy Lee Scott, president of the Northern California chapter of Families With Children From China. Ms. Scott, a single mother who adopted a Chinese baby 13 years ago, said a third of her chapter’s families were headed by single mothers.

“There always were a limited number of countries willing to adopt to single parents,” she said. “China was willing and recognized we could do a good job.”

Ms. Scott’s daughter, Abigail, concurred.

“Just because you don’t have another adult doesn’t mean you miss out on anything,” Abigail said. “In my opinion, having one parent is cool and makes you unique.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It has been nine months since our Log-In Date and 16 months since we started this journey. Wish I had good news to share...

In an email from our adoption agency:

The wait time is currently around 15 months from "LID" (log-in date) to Referral. The wait time is always subject to increase or decrease, depending on the amount of paper-ready children the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) has available.

So, another delay! The referrals were coming in at 15 months anyway, so this was not a surprise (and notice it says "around 15 months"). So as it stands right now, the soonest we will hear anything is June 2007, although we are no longer getting our hopes up about anything at this point. Once bitten, twice shy...well, we fell for it more than twice and kept getting disappointed so our best psychological and emotional defense is a non-chalant **sigh** and a reminder once again that God is in control.
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