6 Misconceptions about Adopting from China

Maybe you have heard some of these, or maybe these are just things that you have just presumed about adopting from China. Either way, our China staff at America World has weighed in on some of the biggest misconceptions about adopting from China.  Here they are:


1. Only Girls are Available

While girls represented the larger percentage of completed adoptions years ago when China began their adoption program, the number of boys available for adoption has grown significantly over the years. In fact, there is great need right now for families who would like to adopt boys. A family can start the process and be home with a boy in as little as 10 months, with many families having no wait time to be matched with a boy once they submit their adoption paperwork to China. With a large number of upcoming files arriving in the weeks and months to come at our agency, many which will be boys, there will be more files available than we currently have families who are open to boys.

2. Wait Times are Too Long

Waiting Children from China have at least some degree of medical need–repaired, resolved, or needing surgery in some cases. While the wait time for a ‘healthy’ infant/toddler through China’s traditional healthy program exceeds 9 years and continues to increase, the wait time for a Waiting Child match of any age can be immediate for some families who are just starting their paperwork, or within a few months after submitting adoption paperwork to China. How long a family will wait to be matched, will be based upon a family’s child requests. (age, gender, type of medical needs)

3. A “Waiting Child†Means Severe Special Needs

Because many of China’s waiting children have had medical needs, repaired or resolved, many of these children are just as healthy as other children and just waiting for a family! Waiting Children available from China have some degree of medical need or delay currently or in their history, but many have minor/correctable needs, or have medical issues that in some cases have already resolved or been repaired through surgery or need a corrective surgery. Older healthy children (generally 8-13 years old) are also available for adoption. Some of the most common medical issues seen are cleft lip and/or palate, heart defects, hearing or vision conditions, growth/motor/developmental delays, hand/foot/limb deviations, missing limbs, Hepatitis B, joint conditions, & cerebral palsy, to name just a few.

4. America World Posts All of Their Children on Their Website

Most of the children who are adopted through America World have not been posted on the Waiting Child webpages for advocacy. Most of the children are matched directly with their forever families when the file arrives in our office, based on a family’s requests for a specific gender, age, and conditions they are comfortable with and feel prepared to handle. Typically, the children who are being advocated for on our Waiting Child pages are those who were not immediately matched with a family because they have more moderate to severe medical needs. Often times these children are designated by China as Special Focus children since they have more moderate to extensive medical needs and not as many families may be open to the medical needs they may have. Families can adopt two unrelated children from China simultaneously if they choose to adopt a Special Focus child.

5. It’s Better to Search for a Child on Agency Sites and Find My Child, Than to Choose an Agency

Like America World, most agencies tend to share profiles of children on their websites who have not been directly matched with a family. Many of the children with minor or resolved medical needs are designated by China to only be matched with a family whose paperwork is already in China. If a family sees a child on an agency site, they may not be eligible yet for that child and/or that child could be matched with another family before a family is at the stage where they’d be eligible for that child. By choosing an agency to assist through the process first, a family is able to select specific medical needs that would best fit within their family dynamics and will be given helpful counsel through the process. A family will then be “in line†in a program and be eligible to be matched with children that are referred through China’s Waiting Child program; therefore, the child that matches best with a family can be directly referred to them. We pray daily for families in our program and for the child they will matched with.

6. Wait Times are the Same at all Agencies and all Agencies Receive the Same Number of Child Files

Wait times vary at each agency based on the number of families in the China program, the number of child files being received, and whether or not the agency has orphanage partnerships in China that have been designated to them by the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), among other factors. America World currently works in four provinces and has multiple orphanage partners in all four regions. Like many agencies, we also can access profiles of children from China’s “shared list†from all provinces throughout China and match families as well. Currently, we are seeing our shortest wait times in a while, as we have dozens of files arriving in the weeks and months to come and anticipate no wait time for a family open to a boy or for many of the children that will be arriving and needing to be matched. If a family is not matched early in the process, once a family’s adoption paperwork is submitted to China the matching wait time for a boy with commonly seen medical needs is 0-2 months, and the wait time for a girl with commonly seen medical needs is 0-12 months.


If you are considering adoption from China, no is truly a great time to begin the process. Our website is a great place to start, where you can request a free information booklet, pre-apply, or begin the adoption process by filling out an application. Our China staff would be happy to answer your questions by email at China@awaa.org or phone at 800-429-3369.




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