China's new adoption rules are not meant to restrict the number of foreigners
who can adopt Chinese children, but to ensure that kids receive the best
possible family care, according to an official with the Ministry of Civil
Lu Ying, director of the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) under the
ministry, explained that China now has far fewer children available for adoption
by foreign couples.
"More domestic families have adopted children from our center in recent years
and economic and social development has meant that fewer children have been
abandoned or orphaned," Lu said.
According to international conventions, preference is given to domestic
families rather than foreign couples.
The number of foreigners applying to adopt a child in China has increased,
and they usually have to wait 14 to 15 months, Lu said.
"The new rules will help shorten waiting time for qualified foreigners and
speed up the process for children, especially the disabled, so that they can go
to their new families, where they can get better education and medical
treatment, more quickly," he said.
The rules have been made in the interests of the children, to guarantee them
optimal family conditions, he said.
The new rules, to take effect on May 1, 2007, make it more difficult for
overweight, single and economically precarious foreigners to adopt. They give
priority to stable, well-off foreign couples aged between 30 and 50.
Reports by foreign media said the new rules were aimed at curbing the number
of foreigners who can adopt Chinese children.
Xing Kaimin, an official with the CCAA, denied this, saying that the new
criteria were meant to protect children's interests and not to show prejudice
against less qualified applicants, who can still apply.
Obese people, for example, are more likely to suffer from disease and might
have a shorter life expectancy, which is not without consequence for the life of
the adopted child, China Daily quoted Xing as saying.
The new rules will also provide a reference for foreign adoption agencies,
which can offer preferential arrangements for qualified families and improve
efficiency, Lu said.
Lu said the priority criteria might be modified over time.