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Questions Frequently Asked

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Q: At present, citizens from which country can apply to adopt a child from China?

A: At present, China has established bilateral relationship in inter-country adoption with 17 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain, the United States of America and Italy. Citizens from countries mentioned above are able to apply for adoption in China. For people who desire to adopt stepchild or child of a collateral relative by blood within three generations, they are not restricted as to which country they are from. 

Q: Who can be regarded as an eligible adoptee to be adopted?

A: In accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of the Adoption Law of the People's Republic of China, the following persons can be placed out for adoption as adoptees: orphans under the age of l4 bereaved of parents; abandoned infants and children whose biological parents cannot be ascertained or found; and children whose biological parents are unable to rear them due to unusual difficulties.

In addition, some special rules are stipulated in the Adoption Law when it comes to relative adoption or stepchild adoption. Child of a collateral relative by blood within three generations or step child who meet the specific requirements can be adopted. For example, for adoption of a relative's child, it is not restricted by the rules that “adoptee needs to be under the age of 14", that "the biological parents should have unusual difficulties and are thus not able to take care of the child" and that "the age difference between the adopter and adoptee shall be no less than 40 years where a male person without spouse adopts a female child". An overseas Chinese, in adopting a relative's child, may even be not subject to the adopter childless status.

Q: Who can be defined as an orphan or an abandoned infant/child?

A: Orphans mentioned in the Adoption Law refer to minors under the age of 14 whose parents passed away or are declared as deceased by the court.

The “abandoned infant and children” in the Adoption Law as in “Abandoned infant and children whose biological parents cannot be found” refer to minors under the age of 14 who are abandoned by their biological parents or other guardians, and are confirmed by the police that their biological parents or other guardians cannot be located.

Q: What procedures should foreigners follow if they wish to apply for adoption of a child from China? What paperwork do they need to prepare?

A: If a foreign citizen wish to adopt a child from China, he/she needs to follow the requirements as stipulated in The Adoption Law of the People's Republic of China and Registration Measures for Foreigners Adopting Children in China. Detailed procedures and paperwork required are as follows:

1. Submitting adoption application. A foreigner who is to adopt a child in China shall, through the government department of the receiving country or an adoption agency delegated by the said department, send a set of application documents and certification, including an application for inter-country adoption, a birth certificate, a certificate of marital status, a certificate of profession, income and of property condition, a certificate of health examination, a certificate indicating whether the adopter has ever been subjected to criminal punishment, a home study report, a certificate certifying the approval of the adoption by the competent authority of the receiving country, a copy of the adopter’s passports, two two-inch bareheaded photos of the adopters and six family life photos.

Except for the ninth and tenth items, the other 8 certificates should be issued by the competent authority of the receiving country and authenticated by a diplomatic department of the said country or by an agency authorized by the said diplomatic department, and authenticated by the embassy or consulate of the People's Republic of China stationed in that country.

CCCWA will not accept any paperwork for adoption submitted by individuals.

2. Accepting and registration. After receiving the adoption paperwork sent by the government department or adoption agencies of the receiving country, CCCWA should accept and register the paperwork which is complete, valid, and of which the service charge has been paid. The status of acceptance and registration will be informed to the foreign government or adoption agencies that send the adoption paperwork. 

3. Review and matching. After having reviewed the application for adoption and relevant certificates submitted by the foreign prospective adoptive parents, CCCWA will match a suitable adoptee taking into consideration the desire of the applicants whose adoption paperwork meet the requirements of relevant adoption laws in China and send to them (as well as the central authority of the state where they reside for Hague Adoption cases) the information about the adoptee and the person placing out the child for adoption through the foreign government or a foreign adoption agency.

4. Issuing notification. Where the placement is agreed by the foreign adopter (and the central authority of the state where they reside for Hague Adoption cases), CCCWA will send him/her a Notice of Traveling to China for Adoption through the foreign government or adoption agency.  Meanwhile, a Notice of Inter-country Adoption will be sent to the relevant department of civil affairs of the province where the adoptee resides.

5. Coming to China for adoption. After receiving the Notice of Traveling to China for Adoption, both parties of the adoptive parents shall go to the provincial civil affairs department of adoptee’s registered permanent residence to go through the adoption formalities. Where one party of the adoptive parents cannot come to China for some reasons, the other party shall be delegated in writing in which the reason for not coming to China shall be explicated, and the power of attorney shall be notarized and authenticated by the country where they reside.

6. Adoption registration. A foreigner who comes to China to adopt a child shall fill out a Registration Application for Traveling to China for Adoption, and submit a written adoption agreement which is signed with the person placing out the child for adoption, and also submit the original copy of the Notice of Coming to China for Adoption issued by CCCWA, as well as the identity credentials and photos of the adopters. The provincial civil affairs department conducts adoption registration for the parties involved in the adoption who meets legal requirements, and issues Adoption Registration Certificate to the parties. The adoptive relationship shall be established as of the date of registration.

Q: Where shall the overseas Chinese or Chinese citizens living in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who attempt to adopt a child from mainland China go through the formalities of adoption registration?

A: In accordance with the Provisions on the Jurisdiction and Required Certificates and Certifying Papers in Adoption Registration fore Overseas Chinese or Chinese Citizens Living in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Who Attempt to Adopt Children from Mainland China, overseas Chinese or Chinese citizens living in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who attempt to adopt children in mainland China, shall deliver adoption applications and registration to the civil affairs departments of the municipality, city, the Autonomous Prefecture or of the regional administrative office of the adoptee' permanent residence. However, in practice, some counties hold that the adoption by overseas Chinese from mainland China also belongs to the category of international adoption and should be processed in accordance with the Hague Convention. This leads to the difficult situation where children adopted by overseas Chinese cannot be approved for immigration and naturalization if the adoption has been completed in accordance with the present law. Relevant authority is amending the provisions related to the adoption by overseas Chinese, and such adoptions are expected to be processed as international adoption cases in the future. During the transition period before the enforcement of new provisions, where the adoptees adopted by overseas Chinese through domestic adoption procedure per present law cannot go through naturalization and immigration, CCCWA will accept applications for an international adoption when requested by the parties involved and provide assistance in the process. 

Q: How shall foreigners living in China go through adoption formalities?

A: Foreigners living in China attempting to adopt a child from China shall undertake the same adoption procedures as foreign adopters living in their own country. To guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of the adopted Chinese children, in such adoptions, the certifying documents issued by the competent authority of the adopter’s country or by the Embassy or Consulate of the country stationed in China shall explicitly stipulate that the adoption of the Chinese child by the citizens of the said country who are living in China conducted in conformity with relevant laws and regulations of China will be recognized in that country as legally effective and that the adoptee shall not undertake any further procedures for the establishment of the adoptive relationship when the adoptee arrives in that country. Based on this prerequisite, the adopter shall submit application documents in conformity with the provisions of the Adoption Law of the People's Republic of China and Registration Measures for Foreigners Adopting Children in China. In order to further regularize the adoption of children by foreigners living in China and facilitate the adoption procedures, such adoption cases  will be handled by the Bridge of Love Adoption Service. For further information, please contact Mr Shi Kai from the Consulting Department.  Tel: 65548935, Fax: 65548934.

Q: What's the procedure for stepchild adoption?

A: Please refer to Documents and Papers Required for Adoption of Stepchildren by Foreign Citizens under Policies & Documents/Policies & Regulations/Inter-country Adoption on this website. Stepchild adoption is not restricted by whether the two countries involved have established a bilateral cooperation on inter-country adoption. Citizens of any country can submit applications for adoption of a stepchild in China.

Q: How to adopt a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship (hereinafter referred to relative's child)?

A: Theoretically, the adoption of a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship is not restricted to the cooperative relationship status in inter-country adoption between Countries of Origin and Receiving Countries.

According to the Adoption law of the People's Republic of China, adoption of a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship can be exempted from the restrictions that the biological parents should be unable to raise the child due to unusual difficulties, and that the child shall be under 14 years old, etc. Overseas Chinese adopting a relative's child can be exempted from the restriction that the adopter should be childless. However, according to the requirements of Measures for Registration of Adoption of Children by Foreigners in the People's Republic of China, foreigners in adopting children from China shall comply with adoption laws and regulations of both China and the countries where adopters reside. The adoption of a relative's child as a speical adoption category is specified differently in laws by different countries. Therefore, in specific cases, adoption applicants shall firstly consult with their central authorities on inter-country adoption about relative adoption's laws, regulations and procedures, in order to confirm whether there are no conflicting provisions between both countries. After that, adoption applicants may submit adoption application documents through government departments or adoption agencies authorized by governments of the countries where applicants reside under normal adoption application procedure. In the meantime, adoption applicants may ask the Department of Civil Affairs of the province where adoptees reside to prepare relevant child documents, so as to forward them to CCCWA.

Q: If the nationality of adoption applicants is of a country that has established cooperative relationship with China in inter-country adoption, but the other party is not (for example, one party is a Belgian citizen, and the other party is a Brazilian citizen), can they adopt a child from China?

A: Yes The adoption applicants can apply through the nationality country of one party which has established cooperative relationship with China in inter-country adoption, and submit adoption application documents via the government department or adoption agency authorized by the government to CCCWA.

Q: What documents should foreign adoption applicants submit if they intend to apply for adopting children from China again?

A: As for foreign adopters who have adopted children from China and intend to apply again, they shall re-prepare and submit adoption application documents according to the requirements on adoption documents by Measures for Registration of Adoption of Children by Foreigners in the People's Republic of China. Their submitted adoption application documents shall also include naturalization certification of the former adopted children, and reports on their adaptation and growth in adoptive families. If they intend to apply for adopting a Special Focus child within one year after finalizing an adoption, please consult with the Child's Inter-country Placement Division of CCCWA for details.

Q: Can foreign adopters go to social welfare institutions to select a child directly or adopt a specified child?

A: No, foreign adopters cannot go to social welfare institutions to select a child directly. As required by Chinese laws, for foreign adopters who intend to adopt children in China, CCCWA shall select and recommend suitable adoptees for prospective adoptive parents from those recommended by provincial Civil Affairs Department. Foreign adopters may clarify their desire for child's sex, age, health condition and birth place, etc.in their application letter, and CCCWA will process accordingly considering the adopters' wish and adoptees' actual situation.

Q: What documents about adoptees will CCCWA send to the foreign adopters?

A: After selecting suitable adoptees for foreign adopters by CCCWA, we will send out Letter for Seeking Confirmation to the foreign adopters, as well as the following child documents:
    1. certificate of health examination
    2. growth report
    3. two-inch bareheaded photos and family life photos

Q: Can the adoption be revoked after finalizing adoption registration?

A: Where foreign adopters have finalized adoption registration, the adoption registration can be revoked before the departure of foreign adopters, upon consultation and agreement between foreign adopters and the person who placing out the child and approval by the adoption registration authority, if:

    1. The facts of the adoptee are inconsistent with the information provided to the foreign adopters; or

    2. The adoptee suddenly suffers serious illness and cannot go for a long-distance journey in the near future, so that the foreign adopters cannot take the adoptee back to their country; or

    3. The adoptee cannot assimilate into an adoptive family and cannot get along well with the adoptive parents; or

    4. The parties involved in the adoptive relationship have concealed important facts.

Q: How should foreign adopters and adoptees refer to their inter-country adoption archives?

A: If foreign adopters and adoptees want to refer to their inter-country adoption archives kept by CCCWA, they shall submit to CCCWA an application for referring to archives and passport copies of the persons who intend to check the archives. The application shall declare the purpose, time, the content of the archives to be referred to and the former name of the adoptees as well as the approval number of the Notice of Traveling to China for Adoption. For further details, please contact Archives Managment Division of CCCWA.


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