USA Today reports that adoption agencies across the United States, particularly the China-only agencies are experiencing a great surge in enquiries after thousands of children were orphaned by the Sichuan earthquake:
“There’s lots of interest,” says Joshua Zhong, co-founder of Chinese Children Adoption International, one of the largest China-only agencies in the USA.
He says inquiries have more than tripled since the May 12 quake, which has killed at least 68,109 people and left an estimated 4,000 children without parents.
Zhong’s agency and others, however, are trying to lower callers’ expectations. They cite two reasons: Many of the children may not be orphans once parents or other relatives are found, and more Chinese people are adopting children.
Wang Suying, a senior adoption official at China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, has also stated his ministry’s overarching policy guideline with regards to adoption of the earthquake orphans:
“We intend to give priority to domestic adoption … over overseas adoptions.”
… but that itself is not going to happen before a long and thorough search for the child’s parents.
USA Today also had this interesting tidbit of information to share:
China had been the No. 1 foreign country for adoptions by people in the USA since 2000. Now it is sending fewer orphans: 5,453 in 2007, down from 7,906 in 2005, according to the State Department.
This has been attributed to a strong Chinese economy, rising affluence and greater acceptance of adoption among Chinese citizens.