Why Americans Are Adopting Fewer Kids from China

A look at the changing figures in the adoption of Chinese children, from Kayla Webley for TIME Asia:

The stricter guidelines, intended to limit the overwhelming number of applicants to ’s well-regarded adoption program, have been effective — adoptions of Chinese children by U.S. citizens have dropped 50%, according to the U.S. State Department. The new require, among other things, that adoptive parents be married, under 50, not classified as clinically obese, not have taken antidepressant medications in the past two years, not have facial deformities and meet certain educational and economic requirements. In 2005, U.S. citizens adopted 7,906 children through the state-run China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA). In 2008, that number fell to 3,909 kids.

But the new laws are only part of the reason that fewer Chinese children are being adopted by in the U.S. While the Chinese does not release domestic adoption figures, U.S.-based adoption agencies say more Chinese children are being adopted in China. “You have this cultural shift along with the economic shift, where more and more people cannot only afford to adopt a child, but culturally it’s more accepted,” says Cory Barron, foundation director at Children’s Hope International. […]

With fewer children being put up for adoption and foreign demand remaining strong, China can afford to be more selective. “I think they are saying, You know what? We have fewer children now and so we are looking for better parents,” Zhong says. His organization has experienced a drop from 1,152 China adoptions in 2005 to 422 in 2008. And while ’s new standards may sound harsh to Americans with their hearts set on a baby, they have little influence in the matter. “These are China’s children, and they can set the requirement to what they deem is best,” says Barron.

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