China is one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, consisting of provinces and cultures dating back many centuries. It has the world’s longest continuously used written language system, and is the source of what are referred to as the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China: paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing. China is home to one fifth of the world’s population and tens of thousands of orphaned and abandoned children.
China also provides one of the most consistent, fast, and reliable international adoption programs available – the China Special Needs Adoption Program. These are children who desperately need to be nurtured in a stable, loving home. Yet parents who adopt these dear children so often report that they (the parents) and the siblings of the special child are the ones who receive the greatest blessing.
The China Special Needs program is fast, affordable and predictable. Ordinarily parents will travel to bring home their new child in less than a year from the time their dossier is submitted to China.
The words “Special Needs” may be a bit scary or troubling to parents who are seeking to build their family through adoption. But we encourage you to set aside any preconceived ideas about these children because each child’s situation is unique. Consider these different types or degrees of special needs: minor special needs, fixable special needs, manageable special needs, and older children with NO medical special needs.
Minor special needs
There are some children waiting for homes who are young, basically healthy, and developmentally normal, but who have a minor medical or cosmetic problem that will not limit the child or your family.
Fixable special needs
There are also many children available for adoption who are developmentally normal, but who have a medical or orthopedic problem that is not minor, but is fixable with surgery . Often these are children who will have no special needs at all after the initial surgery or procedure. The most common fixable medical need is a cleft lip or cleft lip and palate. Most of these children will be healthy and normal in every way after their clefts are repaired, though they may need orthodontics and speech therapy..
Manageable special needs
On the lists of waiting children we will frequently see a child with on orthopedic or medical special need that is not minor, nor fixable, but is easily manageable and which will not significantly affect the child’s or your family’s quality of life. An example would be a child who is smart and delightful, but who is missing a finger, or who has a deformed ear, or who is deaf in one ear or blind in one eye. Some children have tested positive for Hepatitis B; others have diabetes or severe asthma or other manageable conditions.
Many perfectly healthy children have been placed on the special needs lists simply because they are older (age 7-13.) If a couple is older than 55, often the CCAA will allow them to adopt one or more older children.
More significant special needs
Of course there are also children on the lists who have more profound medical needs or who have developmental delays. Many very special families have chosen to adopt one or more of these very special children and have found a great blessing in the experience.
Special Focus Children
China has also established a Special Focus (SF) category on the their “List of Waiting Children.” These children have waited on the list for several months without being placed with a family for adoption. When children are placed on this list it means that the China has removed some of the barriers for adopting parents to allow the children to find their forever families. China will also allow any family to adopt two children at the same time as long as one of the children is a SF child. You may select a SF child at any time; your dossier must then be submitted within 6 months.
There are several practical advantages to the Special Needs and Special Focus Adoption Program:
- It is quick (usually less than 15 months from start to finish)
- It is affordable.
- The Chinese officials are willing to consider allowing a couple to adopt who does not meet every requirement perfectly, when they are willing to adopt a child with special needs.
- Adoptive parents must be older than 30 and younger than 55.
- Married couples and single women may adopt.
- Single women may adopt Special Focus children if they have experience with Special Needs (ie., the parent of a child with special needs, doctor, nurse, special education teacher, physical/speech/occupational therapists, etc).
- Neither parent may have an arrest record or any record of child abuse or neglect.
- Parents must be healthy with a normal life expectancy. Any use of psychotropic medications needs to be discussed.
- Ordinarily there can be no more than 4 children living in the home before the adoption, some exceptions are made.
- $10,000 income per family member, including the child to be adopted; $80,000 net worth is required for each family, $100,000 for single women.
- Each parent must have at least a high school education.
- Neither parent can have a body mass index (BMI) above 40. For help with calculating your BMI, see the BMI entry at Wikipedia.
In general, the China adoption process goes like this:
- You apply to IFS and receive your confirmation of acceptance.
- We coach you through the process of preparing paperwork for the adoption, including:
- USCIS form I-800A (immigration pre-approval)
- Home Study
- Dossier (paperwork required by the Chinese government) NOTE: As part of your Processing Fee, IFS staff will do the work of authenticating your dossier for you. You pay only the fees charged by the different government agencies and the Chinese consulate.
- Letter of Intent (paperwork required to accept a child referral)
- Travel and child’s immigration documents
If you want a SN child, we will match you with a child after your dossier is submitted.
If you want a SF child, we can match you at any time during the dossier preparation phase.
- Within four to five months of when your dossier is submitted, you will travel to China to finalize your adoption and bring home your child. Travel Time is approximately 14 days.
- Our bilingual staff will meet you at the airport, travel with you, and walk you through each step to assure a safe and stress-free trip. Tours and sightseeing can be arranged prior to or during your trip to China.
- China is a Hague Convention country. This means that agencies that conduct adoptions from China must be accredited by the U.S. Department of State (via the Council on Accreditation). IFS is a COA Hague Accredited Agency. Under our accredited status, IFS can accept new applications as a primary, accredited provider from families who want to adopt from China.
The information in this program description is subject to change without notice.
NOTICE: China Relaxes Adoption Requirements (Update 12/14)
Single mother restrictions relaxed
- A single mother may now adopt a Special Needs child. She is no longer restricted to a Special Focus child.
PAP age restrictions relaxed
- Age limit of 50 is removed. No more than 50 years should separate the younger PAP from the child.
PAP medical conditions relaxed
- One member of the PAP couple may have along-term illness (malignant tumors, lupus, kidney disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.) as long as it is under good control and the other PAP is completely healthy.
- One member of the PAP couple may have a mental disorder (mania, depression, anxiety, phobia, obsession, etc.) as long as it is under good control with a small dose of medication.
Post adoption reporting relaxed
- TA issued after January 1, 2015:
- Reports at 6, 12, and 24 months: report by social worker plus photos
- Reports at 36, 48, and 60 months: report by family plus photos
- TA issued before January 1, 2015
- Reports at 1, 6, 12, 24 months: report by social worker plus photos
- Reports at 36 and 60 months: report by family plus photos
IFS Application Fee: $400 IFS Agency Coordination Fee: $4550 Siblings adopted at the same time: $500 for each additional child. Unrelated children adopted at the same time: $2000 for each additional child. Expatriate (clients living out of the U.S.): Additional $1000 IFS China Program Fee: Contact IFS for the latest information regarding all fees related to the China Special Needs adoption program. Additional Expenses: Fees are subject to change without notice. Please check with IFS for up-to-date program descriptions before applying. The orphanages in China are filled with many wonderful adoptable children and each one is significant in the eyes of God. We encourage you to make an eternal difference in a special child’s life through the miracle of adoption. For information about Adoption Tax Credits and other tax planning information , see http://taxes.about.com/od/deductionscredits/qt/adoptioncredit.htm. NOTE: IFS does not provide any tax-planning advice. Prospective adoptive families should consult with their tax or financial planning professionals for additional advice on the adoption tax credit.
Fees & Expenses
IFS Application Fee: $400
IFS Agency Coordination Fee: $4550
Siblings adopted at the same time: $500 for each additional child.
Unrelated children adopted at the same time: $2000 for each additional child.
Expatriate (clients living out of the U.S.): Additional $1000
IFS China Program Fee: Contact IFS for the latest information regarding all fees related to the China Special Needs adoption program.
Fees are subject to change without notice. Please check with IFS for up-to-date program descriptions before applying.
The orphanages in China are filled with many wonderful adoptable children and each one is significant in the eyes of God. We encourage you to make an eternal difference in a special child’s life through the miracle of adoption.
For information about Adoption Tax Credits and other tax planning information , see http://taxes.about.com/od/deductionscredits/qt/adoptioncredit.htm. NOTE: IFS does not provide any tax-planning advice. Prospective adoptive families should consult with their tax or financial planning professionals for additional advice on the adoption tax credit.
MORE ABOUT THE IFS CHINA PROGRAM