There were rumors that changes were coming. I kept up with them, but they were only rumors. Earlier this month, when new rules were issued for people wanting to adopt from China, those rumors about China changing the make-up of the whole adoption program seemed a bit more real.
Yesterday, the announcement a whole bunch of people like me were anticipating was sent out.
July 18, 2017
Relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving countries,
Following the enactment of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-Governmental Organizations within the Territory of China (hereinafter referred to as Administration Law) since January 1, we would like to notify as follows on relevant issues about the programs carried out by adoption agencies such as the One-to-One Assistance Program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program based on the regulations of the Administrative law and conclusions of competent authorities:
I. All activities concerning the One-to-One program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program will be terminated. For children who have been assessed by adoption agencies through the One-to-One program before the enactment of the Administrative Law and whose reports have not been submitted to CCCWA, if their reports are submitted through the provincial department of civil affairs to CCCWA before December 31, 2017 (subjected to the approval date of the provincial department), CCCWA will post these files to the specific list of the original adoption agency. Agencies are requested to look for children within required deadline, otherwise the files will be withdrawn by CCCWA when the deadline is closing.
II. Foreign adoption agencies should abide by the business scope specified in the registration when working in China. No activities with inter-country adoption as the purpose are allowed when agencies work in welfare and charity related activities.
III. Adoption agencies should look for adoptive families according to the requirements outlined in the Review Points for Decision on the Eligibility of Foreigners Adopting from China and avoid hasty placements without discretion within the deadline.
China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption Center
Adoption agency partnerships terminated. Advocacy trips into orphanages under the umbrella of adoption agencies terminated. Hosting programs that bring harder-to-place waiting children to America for the purpose of advocacy that have had nearly 100% success rates in placing those children terminated.
I knew it was coming. That didn’t make it not sting at first read…and keep stinging during second and third reads. Terminated is just harsh, like all of us invested in adoption and orphan care in China found ourselves sitting in a leatherette chair on the vulnerable side of an executive desk and were all just fired. No warm I’m sorry. We need to downsize. Just Pack up your desk. You’re terminated.
Press pause. Stop.
There are people behind this announcement. And, those people, those governing authorities who surely sat around a board table and wrote these words are likely the same ones who labored through writing the new rules for people who want to adopt from China, literally pages of rules about finances and physical and emotional health and family size and length of time between adoptions and ages between children. Those rules aren’t arbitrary; whether or not we agree each one of them, they’re the rules they corporately believe set children up best long term.
The way things have looked for years is going to be different. The 1:1 partnership program with adoption agencies partnering with specific orphanages will stop as of December 31st as will hosting programs and Journey of Hope trips which bring teams of volunteers to China for the specific purpose of advocacy. There is no other information about what the program will look like after December 31st. But, I have no reason to believe that the program won’t be good. It very well could be better.
That word in Mandarin translated to terminated is 停止, tíngzhǐ. It just means stop which somehow makes it easier to read. And, just a few lines later there are other words that speak a whole lot of hope: when agencies work in welfare and charity related activities. When agencies work in social welfare (aka orphanages) and in philanthropic activities, they can’t be for the purpose of adoption. When agencies work in social welfare (aka orphanages) and in philanthropic activities, they have to be genuine acts of charity for charity’s sake. Yes, yes, good.
This announcement is no longer stinging when I read it the fourth and fifth time.
I don’t know what international adoption from China will look like in 2018 except for knowing that it will remain. I haven’t been fired. None of us have been fired. We’ve just been told the business model is changing in a big way. I may look a little dumbfounded, but I’m thanking the boss for letting me know in advance and then I’m respectfully leaving the office, looking around at my coworkers tonight and saying “well, okay then.” We have work to do; let’s figure out how to make sure we can keep on doing it.