Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Last leg of a long journey

For American adoptive parents in China no matter where you spent the last week picking up your child all roads lead to Guangzhou, home to the only American Consulate that does entry visas for these children about to become American.

Around 3:00 Tuesday afternoon, 31 sets of parents boarded a bus at the White Swan Hotel and took a 30-minute ride to the American Consulate. We took an oath that everything stated in the US Immigration paperwork was true and then received our entry papers to the United States of America for our adopted child.

The moment we land on American soil (beautiful New Jersey) Jada becomes an American citizen.

In Guangzhou we lost our novelty status as we shared the streets with about 100 other western couples with Chinese babies all staying at the White Swan. And like us, many of them were on their second or third adoption.

It was an odd mix of Average America—most of the couples older, many of them overweight. In fact, the majority would not survive the newer stricter adoption regulations recently enacted by China.

We are now heading to Hefei, capital of Anhui Province a small city of 2 million, where we will once again be an oddity. We will stay at the Novotel (a nice 4 star hotel half the price of the White Swan). In 2002 we first met our daughter Kira in their ballroom.


Anonymous said...

From the U.S. State Department website:New Regulations for Adopting from the People's Republic of China

The China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has issued the following new regulations for foreigners who wish to adopt children in China. These regulations become effective for all application received after May 1, 2007.

Adoption is limited to married couples, made up of a man and a woman, who fit the following criteria:

1. They must have been married at least two years. If either person has previously divorced, the couple must have been married at least five years. No more than two divorces are allowed.

2. Both partners must be between the ages of 30 and 50. Those couples who apply to adopt a special needs child must be between the ages of 30 and 55.

3. Both partners must be physically and mentally fit, with none of the following conditions:

a. AIDS;
b. Mental disability;
c. Infectious disease that is actively contagious;
d. Blind in either eye;
e. Hearing loss in both ears or loss of language function (those adopting children with hearing or language function loss are exempted from this requirement);
f. Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limbs, paralysis or deformation;
g. Severe facial deformation;
h. Severe diseases that require long-term treatment and that may affect life expectancy, including malignant tumors, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, etc;
i. Major organ transplant within ten years;
j. Schizophrenia;
k. Severe mental disorders requiring medication for more than two years, including depression, mania, or anxiety neurosis;
l. Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more

4. At least one member of the couple must have stable employment. The total value of family assets must be at least $80,000. The family’s annual income equals at least $10,000 for each family member in the household (including the child to be adopted). Annual income excludes welfare, pensions, unemployment insurance, government subsidies and the like.

5. Both prospective parents must be high school graduates or have vocational training equivalent to a high school education.

6. The family must have fewer than five children under the age of 18, and the youngest is at least one year old (those adopting special needs children are exempted from this requirement).

7. Neither partner may have a significant criminal record, and both must have a history of honorable behavior and good moral character with no evidence of:
a. Domestic violence, sexual abuse, abandonment or abuse of children;
b. Use of narcotics or any potentially addictive medication prescribed for mental illness;
c. Alcohol abuse, unless the individual can show she/he has been sober for at least ten years.

Note: Applications from persons with past criminal records will be considered on a case-by-case basis if the individual has fewer than three minor criminal convictions (none in the last ten years) and fewer than five minor traffic violations.

8. The prospective parents must demonstrate the ability to provide a warm family environment capable of meeting the needs of an orphaned child and providing for her/his development, and an understanding of the special risks (including potential diseases, developmental delays, and post-placement maladjustment) that could come with inter-country adoption.
9. The couple must provide an adoption application letter that makes clear the applicants’ willingness to allow post-placement follow-ups and provide post-placement reports as required.

Note: In each instance above where a specific age or time span is cited, it will be computed from the time that the CCAA officially logs the adoption application documents.

Helen said...

Congratulations to Jada! Welcome as an American citizen! :)

Larry; I can't wait to meet the newest addition to the Kelley family.

O'Reilly said...

Larry, It's great you're going back to the place where you met your oldest daughter for the first time. I'm curious about what she has said to you that indicates how she is processing this trip. Please don't feel the need to respond. Just thinking, that's all.

anonymous, interesting guidelines. thanks for sharing that. Tey are clearly made in the interest of the adopted child but some of the terms are terms we would not tolerate in this country... people with Aids can live indefinitely on their meds and don't pose a risk to the health of the child. I wonder what kind of future unadopted Chinese girl babies face versus the kind of future they'd be offered if some of these regulations were reconsidered.