We’ve all seen over the last week how the cruel earthquake has left parents without children and children without parents. As the focus now turns to healing and restoration for survivors and giving them tools with which to pick up the broken pieces of their lives, the government has now begun to disseminate information on active steps that concerned individuals considering adoption of children and babies orphaned by the disaster can take. Here is some English-language information we found on China Daily via People’s Daily (the availability of which indicates they are open to foreigners adopting the earthquake orphans):
How to help:
Those who want to adopt orphans of the quake can contact the Beijing Community Service Network by dialing 96165 to register.
Applicants are reminded they should think carefully about adopting children and the practice is subject to law. Interested parties can also help by providing subsidies for the children.
Some young earthquake survivors from Beichuan have arrived in Beijing with the support from the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. Those interested in helping the children with subsidies can call 010-6255-6356 and 6252-6424.
China Children and Teenagers’ Fund hotlines: 6510-3495, 6510-3491, 8511-5407 (24 hours in both Chinese and English)
Requirements for temporary foster parents:
1. Fixed place of residence
2. Stable income
3. Main caretaker should be aged between 25 and 60, healthy and experienced in caring for children. The person should guarantee the safety and physical health of the foster child and be able to provide emotional support and appropriate education.
4. Foster families should have someone accompanying the foster child at all times.
5. Foster family members should not suffer from mental illness and other diseases that may harm the child.
6. Foster parents should not have criminal records or undesirable hobbies. The foster family should be harmonious, well-educated and maintain a good relationship with neighbors.
While details of the adoption regulations are still being drafted, the Civil Affairs Ministry has announced that:
… each orphan who lost their parents in the disaster would have a 600-yuan living allowance per month for three months; and they would be taken care of by welfare organizations. They will also receive psychological assistance and efforts are being made to look for their relatives.
In addition, the government has also offered to pay for all tuition fees for college, tertiary and professional education of all orphaned by the quake.
According to the Adoption Law of the People’s Republic of China, prospective adopters should meet the following requirements:
“By childless” is meant to indicate that the adopters have neither biological children, nor any adopted children, nor step-children.
(2)The capacity of rearing and educating the adoptees.
“By the capacity of rearing and educating the adoptees” is meant to indicate that the adopters should have the full civil capacity, and the capacity of rearing and educating the adoptees physically, intellectually, resourcefully and morally as well as the capacity of fulfilling parental obligations to their children.
(3)No such diseases as considered medically unfit for adoption.
¡°No such diseases as considered medically unfit for adoption¡± is defined as mainly mental disease and infectious disease.
(4)30 years old.
“By 30 years old” is meant to indicate one’s 30 full years of age. When a couple jointly adopts a child, both of them should reach the age of 30.
2.Where a person with spouse adopts a child, the husband or wife should get consent from the other to adopt the child in concert.
3.Where a spouseless male adopts a female child, the full years of age between the adopter and the adoptee should be over 40 years.
4.The adoption of a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship, may not be confined to the restrictions that ¡°children whose parents are unable to rear them due to unusual difficulties, the ¡°age difference between the adopter and the adoptee shall be no less than 40 years¡± and that the adoptee is under the age of l4.
“By the adoption of a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship” is meant to indicate siblings and brothers-sisters-german of the third degree of kinship; ¡°the children belonging to a collateral relatives by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship¡± indicate the children of the siblings and that of brothers-sisters-german of the third kinship, namely, nephews and nieces, and brothers-sisters-german and cousins-german of the fourth generation.
5.Orphans, disabled children or abandoned infants and children, who are raised in the social welfare institutes, and whose biological parents can not be ascertained or found, may be adopted irrespective of the restrictions that the adopter should be childless and adopt one child only.
Of course, some of the above rules seem arbitrary, in particular, the requirement that adopters be childless (we are not sure if the rule applies to foreigners, perhaps a more informed reader can fill us in). In online forums such as this, parents who want to adopt but are not allowed because they already have children are now calling for an amendment in the adoption laws.
In addition to the above regulations, there are adoption rules for foreigners which restrict restrict the following groups of people from taking home a Chinese child:
- On anti-depressants
In related news, orphans of the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976 have called for better care for the Sichuan quake orphans, with “most” of them suggesting that it may be better for the children to be institutionalised than to be adopted.
China Daily: Tips about adopting a quake orphan
People’s Daily: Education, adoption of quake orphans considered
China Daily: What requirements should adopter meet?
Xinhua: 32 years on, China quake orphans pass on love
Shanghaiist: Harvey Fierstein can no longer adopt in China
Shanghaiist: Single-Parent Adoption vs Gay Adoption