Why China?

Typical grocery-store-line, Chick-fil-a-playground, or anywhere-else-we-bump-into-strangers talk these days goes something like this:
Our daughter to random stranger, “Hey, I am a big sister. I have another brother or sister.”
Kind stranger smiles (and tries to glance unsuspectingly at my stomach), “Wow, that’s nice. Where is he or she now?”
Our daughter, matter of factly, “In China.”
Kind and now confused stranger gives perplexed look at me, “Huh?!”
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Sometimes they just move on or we exchange a brief conversation:
Me, trying to put the strangers mind at ease, “We’re adopting a little boy or girl from China.”
Much less confused looking stranger, “Why China?”
Me, sheepishly: “Because we used to live there.”
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I have to admit that this answer is my go-to for selfishly wanting to move on, wrap up the conversation, and not inconvenience kind strangers any more. However, the question of “Why China?” is so much deeper than just because we used to live there. God used living in China to open our eyes to the immense need for forever families to bring these precious children home and it’s hard to express all of the reasons in a two-minute conversation.
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First, let me say what I am not saying about China adoptions. I am not saying adoption from China is better, cheaper, easier, faster, etc. than domestic, international, or foster-to-adopt adoptions. One phrase we learned in our cultural transition training is, “It’s not right or wrong. It’s just different.” This truth applies to many areas of life, especially adoption. Each avenue of bringing a child home is uniquely wonderful and challenging. All children equally deserve a forever family, whether the live in America, China, or anywhere else in the world. Every adoption story is distinct and should not be compared to others.
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With that being said, there are many wonderful voices and resources in America regarding domestic adoptions and foster care. Personally, before moving to China and watching friends walk through the process, we knew nothing about China adoptions and probably would have not considered adopting from China due to our unawareness. Therefore, we would love to be one of the voices now advocating for adoption from China, both because we love these precious children and we know the urgency of their situations. We are not trying to convince anyone of adopting from China, as that is a conviction that must come directly from the Lord. But, if He is laying adoption, international adoption, and/or special needs adoption on your heart, but you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some great reasons to consider adopting from China...
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1. China is regarded as one of the most stable international adoption programs.
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In July 2017, China changed it’s qualifications for the first time in years. It was heartbreaking for many families who now do not qualify, however the good news is that most likely, they will not change the qualifications again for a while. Overall, the adoption relations between China and western countries are very reliable.
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2. China’s reputable process aids in ethical adoptions.
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Although with any international adoption, there are no absolute guarantees that each child is a “true” orphan and adopted through ethical means, China does have a predicable system when a child is found. The child is brought to the police station for documentation and a “finding ad” is put in the paper to make sure no parent is missing their child. If no one steps forward to claim the child, he or she is considered an orphan and placed in a government orphanage or foster home. There have been allegations of some agencies using unethical means to obtain children, which is why we highly encourage you to do your homework and only consider an agency with a sterling reputation, such as CCAI. For over twenty-five years, they have been placing children in forever families and always strive for setting the bar for ethical adoptions.
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3. China’s timelines for adoption are usually predictable.
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As long as the adoptive family is diligent to complete the paperwork and does not have complications (such as formally living in Hong Kong!), then the timeline for adopting a child from China can be one year or even less if the family is open to various medical conditions. Also, if a family is open to a boy, the wait time is dramatically decreased. A family waiting for a younger girl with “minor” needs might wait 2-3 years, however a family open to a boy can be traveling to China in one year or less. As one agency puts it, “Families wait for girls and boys wait for families.” I am definitely not encouraging to adopt from China because the process goes “faster” than other countries, however I do appreciate that our agency can give us close estimations for when we will be traveling. (Example: Families usually wait 4-6 months after submitting their dossier to travel if already matched with a child.)
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4. Only one visit to China is required for adoption to be finalized.
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Again, I am not advocating to adopt from China based solely on being able to take an “easier” and “cheaper” route of only traveling one time, however it is an incredible blessing personally to our family. While some other countries require traveling 2-3 times and sometimes staying a month or more, China only requires the family to travel to China for two weeks. One week is spent in the child’s birth city/province and one in Guangzhou for US Consulate appointments. Traveling one time of course means that the family isn’t immersed in the country and culture as long, however makes adoption from China more affordable.
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5. An adoptive family get to welcome a new culture into their home and lives.
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Unlike America, which is a few hundred years old, China is thousands of years old. Their language, holidays, traditions, and food are so full of deep meanings. When moving to China many years ago, the only thing I “knew” about China is that people there eat fish and dogs...and after meeting my first Chinese friend who didn’t like to eat either of these, I realized I had a lot to learn! Being educated on a culture vastly different from the Western cultures I had previously lived in was mind-opening and something I am now so thankful for. It is understandable to be overwhelmed and feel unable to connect and educate your child on his/her birth country if you haven’t lived there (and even if you have!). However, there are so many resources for China adoptive families and even groups or community events. Again, one of my favorite resources “No Hands but Ours” has amazing resources and aids American parents on connecting with their child’s birth country. 
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6. The need for adoptive families for China is urgent and overwhelming.
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There are literally thousands of children paper-ready, just waiting for
forever families to say a giant “yes!” Some other countries it might take months or years for a child to come available for adoption, however in China, once a family has their home study completed, they may view children’s profiles, as well as wait to be matched by their agency. There are also multiple Facebook and other groups advocating for waiting children available to be adopted. Not only are there so many children just waiting, the current situation for some of these children is changing. Please trust me, the time is now to bring these precious children into loving families. Once you start seeing their sweet faces, "It's hard to shut your heart off and hope they find families."  ( https://www.nohandsbutours.com/2018/07/03/winning-the-lottie-ry-adopting-a-child-with-pseudoarthrosis/?fbclid=IwAR0M75HdmGhmur-ZNRJp1BW-jEZ-Aaj_3ZX8Rdocm9h32o-XYF7EEdiSz4M)
These are only six of the numerous reasons why adoption from China is both wonderful and desperately needed “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Every day, as we pray for our sweet boy and ask God to allow us to quickly bring him home, we also pray for for Him to stir the hearts of many future forever families. Maybe we are praying for you. We encourage you to see their precious faces, hear their names, learn their stories, and be forever changed.

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