Anyone in the process of adopting from China is probably well aware that the China Centre for Adoption Affairs (or CCAA, the central agency responsible for all adoptions carried out in China) has "verbally" released new adoption regulations, most of which will be effective on May 1, 2007. While they have yet to officially publish the new rules, they have contacted the adoption agencies with which they work, and the word is getting out. For a quick take on the changes, see the BBC news article at:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6194477.stm
Probably the biggest change will be that single parents will no longer be able to adopt from China, at least in a practical sense. So, agencies are looking to other countries in which single parents may find their children. There are also changes in financial status requirements and parental health requirements which will limit the number of families who will be able to adopt Chinese children.
It is interesting to wonder why the CCAA is tightening up their rules at this time. Obviously, they take their responsibility of finding families for children in their care extremely seriously, and we all should be grateful for that. As well, people are suggesting that an increase in Chinese domestic adoptions and a decrease in the number of children that are available for adoption has a lot to do with this.
Both of these trends are fantastic news for Chinese children and their families. I truly believe that if a child can be placed in a stable, permanent, and loving home in his or her country, then that should be the first choice. International adoption should be the second choice, which kicks in when there are more children in need of families than can be placed domestically.
As for a decrease in the number of available children... this is really something that I'd like to know more about. Without question, child abandonment appears to be decreasing in some regions/provinces in China- particularly in more urban areas. And it will probably continue to decrease, especially since families are being encouraged to raise daughters to help deal with the impending "female shortage" in the future (traditionally, families relied on sons, and with the famous "One Child Policy", daughters were typically the ones placed in orphanages). But given the shear size of the population, and the fact that there are so many orphanages (reportedly, many of which do not even participate in the international adoption program), it makes one wonder if there is a real decrease in the number of China's orphans... or if the decrease is mostly in the number of children that get channeled into the international adoption stream.
Given the rapid social and economic changes in China, there is little doubt that the face of Chinese adoption will change as well. We'll all just have to stay tuned.