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China leads way on US adoptions

Updated: 2016-04-18 02:28
By Hezi Jiang in New York and Luo Wangshu in Beijing (China Daily)

Foreigners attracted by efficient system and strong oversight

China leads way on US adoptions

Michelle and Scott Morell with their two adopted Chinese sons, Ethan (left) from Anhui and Luke from Shaanxi. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

China remains the United States' most accessible source of adoptions from overseas, thanks to an efficient system and strong oversight of orphans, according to two experts. They spoke as the number of foreign adoptions by US families fell to the lowest level in three decades. However, 2,354 Chinese children were adopted by US citizens last year, a 15 percent increase from 2014. The figure accounted for 42 percent of all foreign adoptions in the US, according to the US Department of State. According to China's Ministry of Civil Affairs, the number of international adoptions has remained steady in recent years, with between 10 and 15 percent of children adopted by overseas families since 2009.

While foreign adoptions comprise only a small proportion of those in China — about 12 percent in 2014 — most children who are taken in by overseas homes have special needs and are adopted by families for charitable reasons, said Tong Xiaojun, head of the Children's Research Institute of China.

In contrast, Chinese adopters care more about whether the child is good-looking or how tall the child is. "If families already have a boy, they want a girl, and if they have a girl, they want a boy," she said.

"The more advanced medical and welfare systems in the West also encourage foreign families to adopt children with special needs.

"As a result, parents overseas who adopt are more capable of taking care of these children," Tong said, adding that raising special needs children is difficult for many families in China.

Michelle and Scott Morell from Allen, Texas, who have adopted three Chinese children with special needs, said they were drawn to China because the process was very clear compared with some other countries.

"There were more checks and balances in place," Michelle Allen said. "You did this, you did that, and then you were matched with the child."

Two of their boys, Luke from Shaanxi province and Ethan from Anhui, both 3, were born with gastric intestinal problems.

China leads way on US adoptions

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