Recently, I gave a two hour talk on the topic of orphaned children in China, and a summary by someone who attended the presentation was posted online. It has come to my attention that some people are now concluding from that talk that the non special needs program for China is over. I feel it is very important for me to go on record to state that the non special needs program is still very much in operation. Each and every month, the dedicated staff at the CCAA match children through this program to families who have been patiently waiting for 4+ years. In 2009, approximately 1500 children were matched through the NSN program.
The intention of my talk was not about discouraging people from this track. Instead, what my talk covered was the changing face of Chinese adoption. Ten years ago, only 5% of adoptions from China were from the special needs path, while in 2009 this number had risen to 50% of international adoptions. Some of the reasons behind this include the changing attitudes of the younger generation of adults towards having a baby girl, the marked increase in domestic adoptions within China, and the decrease in the abandonment of healthy baby girls, due in large part to China’s successful “Girls Count” campaign. Every year, fewer and fewer “healthy” children are available for international adoption, but that number certainly is not at zero right now.
On my recent trip to China in June, I talked with orphanage staff and officials about their changing populations of children. Now, the majority of children in Chinese orphanages have some sort of medical need. The government continues to put effective programs in place to meet these needs, including the Tomorrow Plan and the Blue Sky plan, but I think everyone agrees that the most important gift any child in an orphanage can receive is a family. Those who are familiar with LWB’s work know that every day we live the motto of “every child counts”. Every child, whether their file is submitted for the NSN path or the SN path, deserves a family to love them. Every family has to make their own very personal decision on which path is the right one for their situation. No one should be made to feel badly about which path they choose, as EVERY child who is waiting today in an orphanage deserves someone to love them forever.
I think it is important for all of us who have been touched by Chinese adoption to continue spreading the news that there are children in need of a home. For those open to the special needs path of adoption, there are more than 1000 children currently on the shared list waiting for someone for choose them. For those who wish to patiently follow the NSN path to adoption, every month families are still formed by the CCAA with the “magic” that can only come in the matching room. There is no greater gift to a child than a family – so let’s encourage and support each other on this journey – no matter which path a family is on.
Amy Eldridge is the Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries