Adoption from China

History Chinese adoption


One Child Policy

China’s international adoption program started as a solution to a problem caused by the enforcement of the one-child policy. It was introduced in 1979 in China to reduce poverty and hunger in this populous country. The idea was simple: by limiting the number of children per family, families would much quicker reach a higher level of development, because all investments for education and food had to be shared with less children. But this social experiment came at a cost: forced abortions, and the abandonment of children, mostly girls because Chinese preferred to have a son.


International Adoption

Orphanages became overcrowded, and in 1992 China decided to allow international adoption, as a solution of a problem, caused by these politics. The first Chinese children went to the USA ( 206 children) and The Netherlands.


Foreign adoption is regulated by China’s Central Adoption Organization (CCAA). This bureau decides which children can be made 'adoptable', and the $3,000 set fee for adoption. Soon China became the largest supplier of adoption children worldwide, the most important countries of origin all being Western- European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


Hunan Orphanage Scandal

In 2005 state owned press agency Xinhua published a story about a huge child trafficking network, involving orphanages that delivered children for international adoption. It stated that in nearly 3 years 1000 abducted babies were purchased by several orphanages in Hunan Province, and put into international adoption. It shocked the international community, adoptive parents in particular.


Adoption Organizations, NGO’s and governments questioned the CCAA about the circumstances of the Chinese adoption program, and the CCAA in their turn prmised improvement. According to the Internatioanl Adoption convenant the country of origin is resonsible for the regulation of thhe adoption procedure in their country,so foreign powers and international organisations couldn’t do more than accept this commitment.


Money for Children

But scandals about child trafficking did pop up once in a while. Research by the Dutch Broadcast Company KRO Brandpunt in 2008 showed that orphanages were still paying money for children brought to them and that they never questioned where these children were coming from. Despite these scandals, there has never been an international research to the Chinese practises.


Since the Hunan scandal international adoption has dropped dramatically, although China is still the number one country of origin.