Chinese Adoptions From U.S.

Single people hoping to adopt a child from China may soon be out of luck. The country is tightening restrictions on prospective parents.

Last year Americans adopted 7,906 children from China. That raises the total since 1989 to more than 48,000 but now the rules are changing.

If you are single, over fifty or even obese you will not be eligible.

“I’m thrilled that I’m this close to the end,” said Stephanie Willett, who is adopting from China.

Willett has wanted to have a family her whole life. Now her dream of becoming a mom is about to be realized. Within the next six weeks, Stephanie will get a call that her daughter is waiting to be picked up in China.

“When I decided to go that route, China was on my heart ... Can’t explain why ... Always drawn to China,” Willett said.

Adoption had already touched Stephanie’s family. Her nephew Scott was adopted from Korea a few years ago but Stephanie’s dream of bringing home a baby from China will happen just in the nick of time.

In less than six months, single people will not be allowed to adopt in China. Under new regulations, only people who have been married for at least two years will be eligible to adopt. Among other restrictions, couples must have a body mass index, a measure of obesity, of no more than 40 and be ages 30-50.

The rules bar parents who take medication for psychiatric conditions, including depression and anxiety or have “severe facial deformity.”

“I wasn’t completely surprised about the guidelines. Just about how detailed they were,” Willett said.

Though she is sorry she won’t be able to adopt a sibling for her Chinese daughter in the future, Stephanie harbors no ill will toward the country.

“It’s their right to choose ... just like foster parents in this country ... their right to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ for whatever reason,” Willett said.

An employee of the government-run China Center of Adoption Affairs, the agency that oversees foreign adoptions, said it has issued new guidelines but refused to confirm the details. The rules were disclosed at a Dec. 8 meeting in Beijing and take effect May 1.

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