Who is Eligible to Adopt a Child from China?

America World has worked with adoption authorities in China since 1994 and has a good relationship with the CCCWA, authorities among China adoption agencies.  The CCCWA determines the requirements on how to adopt a baby from China. The details of these China adoption requirements are listed below and will help to determine if your family qualifies to adopt a child from China.

In addition to the USCIS (U.S. immigration) requirements for prospective adoptive parents, China has the following adoption eligibility requirements. If you have concerns or questions about China's new adoption rules, please contact us for a free adoption consultation regarding your China adoption.

Note that China is a Hague country and America World has been a Hague-accredited agency since 2008.

Adoption Processing Time

Application through dossier (adoption paperwork) submission is approximately 4-8 months, with an average being 6 months.

  • The wait time for a referral match varies.
  • Most families complete their adoption, from application to coming home, in 12-24 months.
  • After a dossier is submitted and China approves a child match and the LOA (Letter of Acceptance) is received, a family will travel within 2-3 months.
  • Time frames are subject to change.

Children Available

  • The China Program matches families with boys and girls with minor to moderate special needs.  We no longer accept applications for China’s "healthy" program, as healthy babies in China are now adopted domestically, and are no longer available to new applicants starting an adoption through U.S. international adoption agencies.
  • Children matched with a family for adoption range from 8 months to 13 years of age. Families are most commonly matched with children 12 months and older.
  • Children from China are ineligible for adoption once they reach the age of 14.
  • Siblings are rarely available for adoption in China.
  • China does not allow families to adopt two unrelated children at the same time.
  • Families provide America World Adoption staff with the age, gender, and medical conditions they are open to for matching.
  • Younger children with minor/correctable conditions must be matched with a family whose dossier is completed and logged in with China.
  • Children of all ages with more involved medical needs are highlighted on our Waiting Child profile and photo listing pages, along with older children.
  • Families not meeting certain eligibility requirements may be approved by China on a case-by-case basis to adopt. Families should inquire or complete a free pre-application online to find out more about their adoption options.

Parents' Age

  • Minimum age for both parents of 30 years at the time of dossier submission. (can start the process at 29-½ years of age)
  • If both parents or single adopters are over 50, there can be no more than a 50-year age difference between the child and the younger applicant.

Marriage Status

  • Couples must be married for a minimum of 2 years at the time of dossier submission.
  • If either spouse has 2 divorces, the minimum length for the current marriage must be at least 5 years.  Single women can adopt and the age between single adopter and child can be no more than 50 years.
  • Time spent living together prior to marriage can be counted toward the total length of a marriage, per China’s requirements.
  • Single women can adopt, please see "Single Women Requirements" below.

Divorce Restrictions

  • No more than two divorces are per spouse permitted.

Single Women Requirements

  • Minimum age of 30 years at dossier submission (can start the process at 29 ½).
  • No more than 50 years age difference between the applicant and adopted child.
  • No more than 2 children under the age of 18 in the home at the time of dossier submission. (the child to be adopted does not count against this number)
  • The youngest child in the home must be at least 3 years old at the time of dossier submission. (Applicants may start the process before the child turns 3; please contact our staff for more details)
  • Annual income must be at least $30,000 plus an additional $10,000 for each child currently in the home
  • Net worth must be a minimum of $100,000 (see "Income" section below)
  • There are additional requirements for singles living with a male partner

Children in Family

  • Married couples can have no more than 5 children under age 18 living in the home. (child to be adopted does not count against this number)
  • The youngest child must be at least 3 years old at the time of dossier submission. (Applicants may start the process before the child turns 3; please contact our staff for more details)

Income Requirements 

  • China requires a minimum income of $30,000 plus $10,000 per each child currently in the home and a minimum of $80,000 net worth (total assets minus total liabilities) for couples, and $100,000 net worth for singles. Please inquire with our China staff for information on what can be included in income or net worth.

Criminal History 

  • No major criminal history in the past 10 years is permitted. Minor instances reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • No alcohol abuse within the past ten years.
  • No history of drug use or experimentation.
  • No history of perpetrating domestic violence, sexual abuse, or child abuse.

Education Requirements

  • Both spouses must have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Medical, Emotional, Mental Health, or Counseling for China Adoption

  • Must be in good physical and mental condition.
  • If diagnosed with anxiety, depression, mania, bipolar affective disorder, phobia, etc. it must be under good control with a small dose of medication and have a positive physician’s letter and favorable psychological evaluation.
  • Current counseling (or counseling in the past 5 years) for any reason, including but not limited to: anger management, mental health, anxiety or depression, trauma, pornography or chemical dependency, etc., needs to be reported to intake as a part of your application. This history does not necessarily preclude you from adopting, but will need to be disclosed and is considered on a case-by-case basis. Please discuss any incidents in your personal history which could be a point of concern with Intake staff so we can assess the adoption program best suited to your family.
  • For skin, thyroid, breast, or testicular cancer, the applicant must be cancer-free for at least 3 years.
  • For other types of cancer, the applicant must be cancer-free for at least 5 years.
  • If one spouse is healthy, China is open to the other spouse having other diseases requiring long-term treatment (and well-controlled) or other medical conditions such as lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, hearing or language function impairment, organ transplant within the last ten years, etc.
  • Must not have significant vision loss, limb impairment or paralysis, schizophrenia, or infectious diseases (such as HIV).
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) must be under 40
  • Families may discuss condition(s) with our China program staff before applying


  • At least one parent must travel. The average stay is 12-15 days.


  • Post-adoption reports are due at 6 & 12 months, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years.

Additional China Adoption Information

  • Home studies for China MUST be done by a Hague or COA-accredited agency.
  • A medical letter noting a condition(s) as well-controlled and that the parent can function daily and provide care for their child is required for medical conditions.
  • For families returning to adopt again, the soonest an LOI can be submitted for another child is 12 months after the registration date of the initial adoption.
  • The soonest a family can submit a dossier for another adoption (whether matched or not) is 12 months after the last adoption was registered.
  • Free webinars are held each month at America World. You can find and register for a webinar on our Events page.

•   Some exceptions are given by the CCCWA on a case-by-case basis. Families should inquire or complete a free pre-application to find out more about their adoption options.

Be sure to visit our Financing Adoption page to learn how to reduce or even eliminate all of your adoption expenses!

Please refer to America World's Agency Adoption Requirements for a complete list of requirements. These would be requirements in addition to the China adoption requirements above.