Announcement Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs

Date: 2009-12-22

To relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving countries, Since China began working with relevant countries in inter-country adoption, the cooperation has been smooth and tens of thousands of Chinese children have been adopted by foreign families. The majority of them are growing healthily under the care and love of their adoptive parents. However, some media reported on December 14 about an American adoptive father who sexually abused his Chinese adoptive daughter, which have attracted broad attention and caused great shocks. Although this is a very rare case, it has caused negative effects on inter-country in China and is against the healthy development of inter-country adoption. As the agency entrusted by Chinese government in charge of inter-country adoption, China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has always attached great importance to the protection of Chinese adoptive children's rights and great attention to the children who have been adopted into foreign families. On December 16, CCAA met with the Consul-General of the American Embassy in China Ms. Linda Donahue and notified her about our position on this incident. President of relevant adoption agency also telephoned CCAA and expressed his apology. In order to guarantee the rights and interests of Chinese adoptive children and ensure the healthy and sustainable development in cooperation of inter-country adoption, CCAA plans to take the following measures:

1. CCAA will suspend the cooperation with relevant American agency and decide whether to continue cooperation with this agency depending on its treatment of this incident.

2. It is suggested that all the government departments and adoption agencies conduct a following-up research of all the children adopted from China. If problems turn up, relevant parties shall assist in the re-placement of the child affected and notify CCAA accordingly. It is also advised that government departments and adoption agencies do a good job in the post-placement following-up of adopted children in the future.

3. To learn a lesson from this incident, it is suggested that social workers of government departments and adoption agencies evaluate the eligibility of applicants factually and in details. Social workers shall not only evaluate quantifiable factors such as age, profession, education background, income etc., but also evaluate whether the applicants are loving parents and with good personalities, as reflected in feedbacks from schools, communities, churches, social groups, etc. so that the reports provided can serve as dependable reference for CCAA during the reviewing process.

4. CCAA will adjust the present post-placement reporting policies and improve this reporting system, after seeking opinions and comments from different parties, based on the new situation in inter-country adoption.

5. Depending on individual cases, CCAA will suspend or terminate cooperation with agencies that are involved in cases where adopted children's interests and rights are harmed. Home study reports prepared by social workers who are involved in such cases as well as the social workers themselves will not be recognized by CCAA.

Government departments and adoption agencies shall follow the principle of  "everything for the children" and assist in relevant work to guarantee the protection of rights and interests of adopted children and maintain the cooperation in inter-country adoption.

China Center of Adoption Affairs
December 22, 2009

0

Important announcement

As far as I know CCAA has never before responded so openly. Is China finally going to take issues seriously?

This is very concerning....

I know an Asian couple, who are fantastic human beings. After years of infertility they have been waiting very patiently for over 2.5 years for a referral from China. They orginially started with Harrah's (TX) which is now closed.
Their file was sent to an agency in Colorado, now they must update again.
They have been asked if they are willing to accept "special needs" as they move quicker through the referral process!
We all know that life isn't fair but with this latest news is this going to hurt this couple's chances for parenthood? They are now told healthy infant referrals are taking 3-4 years.
Yet people with multiple children are qued in ahead of a couple with no children, is this fair?
Can anyone name the agency or agencies that were involved in these abuse cases? What would you suggest to this couple?

agency

The agency involved in this case was Faith International Adoptions, when such information is known, we present it on the page presenting the case, which in this instance is Girl adopted by Eddy and Donna Whisenhunt.

I think you need to get your

I think you need to get your facts straight before you post information. I am an adoptive mother of two little girls from China. I also have three biological children. Our case was not put before anyone else, just because we have biological children. Your friends have an advantage over non-Chinese adoptive families. The CCAA allows for expedited adoptions for families of Chinese heritage. Also, your friends were offered the opportunity to adopt a special needs child. Both of my daughter are special needs children. Our adoptions were completed in much less time than your friends, but we chose to step out in faith and bring our girls home. And I would not trade this experience for anything in the world. They are wonderful!!!

I say all of this just to set the record straight. Your friends have the same opportunities, if not more than other families. For all of us - the goal needs to be to bring a child to their family.

Clarification of cued in

I have known couples waiting for over 3 years for a China referral that are childless, they switch agencies and are somehow put higher up the line for a baby.
I think this post has many people wondering why the CCAA would put a non-Asian family with children in front of Asian couple that is childless.
The facts speak for themselves, that many agencies have an "in" with the CCAA and can get couples moved on the priority list for a referral.
That is CCAA's decision not yours, mine or some agency's decision. Although some have an influence over CCAA or are in better standinging.

The great news for your

The great news for your friends are, #1, they have already been waiting for 2 years plus and if they are of Chinese decent, they will be bumped up in front of others waiting. Their time must be close at hand. Another issue to consider is that so many countries out there offering international adoption are very corrupt! China does not appear to be corrupt and everyone is treated the same regardless of who you are, you wait your time. Our family consists of 4 children from China, all waiting children with special needs. Even when you adopt what you believe to be a healthy child, other conditions can arise later! I would encourage anyone out there who is enduring such a long wait to consider a special needs child if they believe it is within their means. Remember, no matter how long or how short the wait, it is too long and an emotional roller coaster, but well worth it when you have your child in your arms!

no corruption in China?

I agree with you that inter-country adoptions are corrupt, but wouldn't want to make an exception for China. Unlike countries like Ethiopoa, Western adoption agencies have little infliuence on the procedings, but that doesn't mean there is no corruption.

Check out:

"China does not appear to be corrupt"

Almost choked on that!

Where have you been, living in caves with the Taliban?

I don't want to burst your bubble, but buying special needs is exactly what these corrupt countries want. The more money these people can receive, and the less they have to pay for children put in care, the better.

"China does not appear to be corrupt." LOL! I'll be sure to share that funny joke with my AMERICAN friends losing jobs, unable to support their families. They could use the laugh.

Blindness

A few weeks ago the US Consumer Product Safety Commission was mocked because it issued a recall of window blinds after a handful of cases where children strangled on cords. The Whisenhunt case represents another in a countless pattern of cases where children have been adopted by abusers, sexual and otherwise, but did not receive effective supervision of their placements.

The high profile cases of pedophile adoptions revealed well respected adoption agencies conducted virtually no homestudies and may have even fabricated supervision reports. At last count 15 internationally adopted children, most from Russia, were actually murdered by American adoptive parents. And the abuses continue. And we focus on window blinds but not this important social practice which remains nearly completely unregulated, at least in any meaningful way by the US government. Incredible.

homestudies

I am glad you started the home study and post-placement reporting discussion. Today, I read a comment on a forum, discussing this very case, and one of the AP's, made the following observation, which shows how homestudies are sometimes treated as a formality only:

We completed our first adoption in 2007.  We did A LOT of research into agencies until we found one we were comfortable with. At our first SW visit our SW told us some horrifying stories. The worst she told us was about was the couple who admitted current illegal drug use and even proudly showed her the marijuana plants they were growing on their property. Her response to them "we need to talk about this". She told them it wasn't appropriate to share such information with her or the agency and they should be more careful in the future. She approved that couple. She told us these things to put us at ease so we wouldn't be nervous about the process. Later in the visit when we asked about scheduling the future visits she told us we didn't need to schedule any more because she counted the info meeting we attended at the agency as one visit, the phone call to schedule the first visit as one visit, and would count one more phone call as a visit. We were mortified and reported this to our agency. They apologized to us and and replaced our SW. They assured us that what we encountered was not normal. We trusted and believed them at the time but we should not have. When we were home with our daughter at the first post-placement visit our daughter was napping and our new SW said not to wake her because she didn't need to see her. The whole thing made me ill. We worked with a different agency for our second adoption and our SW was with another agency. She was much more thorough, spent much more time with us and really delved into our lives, past, and personalities. Yes, it was invasive but a child's life is at stake.

Currently agencies and SW's only really deal with information provided to them by PAP's...for referral letters we are only going to pick those who will give us glowing reviews. We only put on our best faces for those SW meetings. And many times I have heard about PAP's going to new doctors for the required physicals so they don't have to report something that would exclude them. I know many of us are upset about the hoops we have to jump through to become parents. But, frankly I think it should be difficult. These are children who deserve good homes and families. I think agencies and SW's could and should be able to require psychological testing and more time spent with SW's. I realize that not all the "bad seeds" would be found but I truly think more could be done to attempt to weed them out. 

homestudies

It's so true about homestudies. I've heard many ap's gleefully exclaim that their homestudy only took 1 hour. Then there are those who give birth to a child at the same time as adopting, without informing their SW or agency - so unfair to the child being adopted. Our SW was great and spent 8 hours with us plus gave us a whole lot of information (article printouts, classes we could attend, book and video lists, etc etc).  She was available to answer questions. I feel very lucky and don't understand some folks wanting to get it over with as soon as possible. Adopting a person is HUGE.

Homestudies

It is clear that SWs depend on revenue from intercountry adoptions in the same way agencies do. I have never heard of anyone failing a homestudy. I have heard of SWs coaching APs on how to get criminal records removed or how to pass medical requirements by not revealing information. I have also known about same-sex couples passing a homestudy even though they are clearly partners, residing in the same home and travelling to China together on the same trip and adopting 2 children (one for each parent). How can a SW miss what is obvious to everyone else?
SWs want the money from IAs plain and simple.

HOmestudies

Not true. I have heard of at least two families failing their homestudies and being turned away. I have worked with two separate agencies for our adoptions. Both were very thorough and detailed. They made sure we gave them every detail of our lives, knowing that if anything comes up later and we were not forthcoming that our adoption may be terminated. They took adoptions very seriously. Each of our homestudies took a few hours at our home, office vsists, classes we needed to take, etc. So, don't be ignorant and lump them all in to one category. Thank you.

screening

I am glad there are SW's that do take homestudies seriously, although that doesn't take away the fact there are those that do a lousy job screening prospective adopters. Over the years I have heard far too many personal accounts of meaningless homestudies, only performed to pass an agency's clientele.

It is not without reason we have been able to collect more than 400 post-placement abuse cases. In each of these cases SW's failed to properly vet prospective adopters or foster parents.

One of the reasons this happens, in my opinion, is because of the relationship between adoption agencies and social workers performing home studies. As long adoption agencies are allowed to perform homestudies and placements, and as long as adoption agencies refer their clients to certain SW's for homestudies, there will be a conflict of interest.

Removing this conflict of interest would already do something, but still doesn't prevent the "cost effective" SW who spends little time with prospective adopters, while still cashing in the fees. The first adoption of Masha Allen is an example of that. As long as states don't set and enforce standards for homestudies, abuse in adoptive families will keep happening.

Doing a better job weeding out unsuitable candidates can be done. Of the 400 post-placement abuse cases, the overwhelming majority relates to the United States, while only a few of these cases took place in Europe. There is no excuses for this, only a lack of will to make appropriate changes.

SWs in the business

The connections between agencies and social workers is a serious conflict of the best interest of any child. Even if a social worker works independant of the agency, all too often their names get passed on by agencies and in return SWs pass on clients to agencies. It's a great way to network and continue profits flowing.

Now we even have social workers cashing in on info sessions that agencies sponsor. Handing out their cards while they come in to do a little talk to prospective adopters.

We just received a letter in the mail advertising a "new special need program" China has in place for anyone who has adopted before but is now deterred by the lengthy wait times. This did not come from an agency or even a social worker within an agency. This was from a so called unbiased social worker soliciting for new clients. Anyone that thinks social workers are not equally dependent on revenue from international adoptions is living in a fantasy land. If a social worker is too hard or fails too many clients then the word of mouth advertising will damage business.

SW are contract workers, paid on completion of home study

my first experience with a home study agency was horrible. the SW was not a LCSW was a MSW -26 year old straight out of college. In my state evidently it is permissible for an agency to have 1 LCSW and the contract workers throughout the state work under her license.
This agency had a revolving door a coming and going of SWs, my home study was approved, notarized and signed by the agency's Executive Director whom I never met (an agency some 4 hours away) Boy was I stupied and naive.
After submittal to USCIS and receiving a letter from the Asst. Executive Director" Here is your copies of the completed and approved home study", "please send us a photo when you return home with your daughter" "it was a pleasure working with you"
9 months after my application and fees were accepted by this home study agency and 2 months after my home study was at the USCIS for review. The agency declares they heard from an unknown source that I had erratic behavior, I shit you not this is what was told to me. I asked for specifics, they would not give them to me.
They wouldn't explain the reasons or who told them this, or allow me to defend myself. I had a bullshit grievance review with the LCSW head who had been on her job 1 week and the Assistant director. (Executive Director never showed her face and ducked her responsibilities)
I hired an attorney, to discover what the hell their problem was and never did. Even had the statement from my physician, etc., I even suggested a mental health and outside evaluation.
After 10 months and $2,500, the agency pulled my home study from the USCIS.
I then found out this particular agency had 2 lawsuits- 1 was a wrongful adoption lawsuit and the other was against the agency directors previous employer Independent Adoption Center.
I was offered a reimbursement from this agency, with strings attach to not file a lawsuit. I declined the offer.
My opinion of SWs is not very high, and even lower for the contracted worker who get paid by assignment. There are some placement agencies that send a templete to their client to give to the SW in their state to follow. Specific wording skewed to that particular countries needs.
A home study is only as good as the experience of the writer and the agency that is suppose to oversee this important part of adoption. I never recieved a "unfavorable home study" but my home study was pulled and application with the agency denied as there was a clause that states"they can withdraw an application at any time for any reason"
however the contract at this particular agency also states "Our contract is completed on submission of Home study to USCIS"
Joint Council, the State policy and procedures department of CS, etc., couldn't help becuase there was no recourse to a flaky run agency that cut corners by hiring some punk kid out of college. They didn't even follow FARs (Federal Adoption Regulation-guidelines for a homestudy) the problem is there was no enforcement.

Footnote to the SW horror story

To update you.
the lead LCSW supervisor who had been on her job for only 1 week before she took over my case, then went to work for google.com and Dish TV - she now lives in Washington DC area and works in Human Resources for a small hospital.
Many SW don't seem to stay in adoption, foster care for long.

"personal and invasive questions"

Back when I used to post on Adoption.con, (10 years ago),  I was very disturbed by comments made by many posting AP's.  According to them, far too many "personal and invasive questions" were being asked during the home-study process, making PAP's very upset, uncomfortable and angry.  Seems many PAP's did not like being asked any question that related to private behind-closed-door sexual activity.

Think about this.  Adopted children are being sexually abused in adoptive homes, yet PAP's don't want to disclose personal sexual information to a person conducting a homestudy.

Given the amount of child porn found on the internet, when placing a child in a stranger's home, doesn't it make good decent sense to inquire what people are into, behind closed doors?  Granted, many may not answer openly and honestly, but at the very least, shouldn't PAP's be led to believe a serious investigative interest is going behind each and every adoption?

Absence of Evidence

Think about this.  Adopted children are being sexually abused in adoptive homes, yet PAP's don't want to disclose personal sexual information to a person conducting a homestudy.

I don't remember any verbal questions related to our current sexual activities as part of our (1994) homestudy.  The subject was indirectly addressed through background checks and a question on our written application regarding any history of sexual and/or physical abuse we may have suffered in childhood.  But I'm curious, what specific questions would you ask?

For example, would it bother you if a prospective adoptive parent earned income from writing soft porn advertisement copy for an adult sex toys website?  Would this revelation alone disqualify that person as a prospective adoptive parent?

Dad

What questions should be asked?

I don't remember any verbal questions related to our current sexual activities as part of our (1994) homestudy.  The subject was indirectly addressed through background checks and a question on our written application regarding any history of sexual and/or physical abuse we may have suffered in childhood.  But I'm curious, what specific questions would you ask?

Growing up, my Aparents rarely slept in the same room.  My Amom slept in her queen-sized bed, alone, whilst my Adad slept in his full-size bed in another room... a guest room that was accessed through my room.  It really creeped me out, even when I was little, how he would spend some time in "their room", but at the end of the day, walk through my room, to get into the bed he was sent to sleep.

My Adad never touched me sexually, but what he had with me was more disturbing.  I was his asexual surrogate wife... the female in his life who stood side-by side with him, doing the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping and the laundry.   All credit was to be given to his wife, of course... because no one was EVER to question her and her fragile needs.  (She was the daughter of a violent alcoholic, a family secret no one was allowed to discuss.)

It's my very strong belief that living in a sexually repressed home is dangerous and unhealthy, for many reasons.

I was raped and molested by a few members within that grossly dysfunctional family.  Although computers and the Internet were not a part of our lives back in the 1970's and early 1980's, I have no doubt, had they been given the chance and opportunity, the ones who hurt me would have downloaded some serious scary crap on their cell-phones and/or personal computers.

I'm not a SW.... I don't work for an adoption agency, so I don't know what can and cannot be asked a PAP during a home-study investigation.  As a victim of sexual abuse, however, I would love to see some sort of federal government involvement during the screening process.   I can only imagine the look on the face of someone like Mancuso being told by a SW, "Before we conclude, I will need you to sign this agreement that states you give us permission to have all downloaded material on your personal computers screened and reviewed by members of the ICAC task force."

Much can be learned about a person, simply by looking into secret interests and hobbies... especially if those hobbies and interests involve violence and children.

adoption and abuse

After going through the stringent adoption process myself and waiting for number 2- I would confidently guess that the % of abused adopted children from China is much lower than in households that haven't had any type of checks. Saying that doesn't make it any easier to read those stories and I'm glad CCAA's new director is looking for anyway to eliminate it- Shannon

abuse rates

Unfortunatily there has been done no studies into the efficacy of home studies. It is amazing the most important instruments into child safety has not been studied, so far. In that sense social work apparently is in the stages where medicine used to be more than a century ago.

Home studies are sometimes called intrusive, though other reports indicate home studies are in many cases a mere formality. Still even when home studies are intrusive, it doesn't necessarily mean they are effective. Bloodletting, a common medical procedure in  the 19th century was highly intrusive, but mostly ineffective at the same time.

The guess that the % of abused adopted children from China is much lower than in households that haven't had any type of checks, is just that, a guess, which only tells me something about you, but nothing about the abuse of adopted children.

The abuse ratio in post placement setting immediately gives rise to the question: "what is acceptable?". Let's for arguments sake assume that the abuse ratio is much lower than that in original families. Let's say it is 1% as opposed to 7% in original familiies.

Under these ficticious assumptions, for which I deliberately used low estimates, 30 children from China, adopted last year, will be abused within their adoptive families. When looking at the total number of children adopted last year, these assumptions would lead to an estimated 1,000 children being abused in their adoptive family. Is that acceptable?

The assumption behind adoption is that a child will be better off in its adoptive family than in the family it was born into, otherwise the placement makes no sense. Yet abuse in adoptive families belies that assumption.

Unfortunately many adopters, and people working within the adoption industry, usually shrug off each and every case, claiming it to be exceptional. We wrote a much longer piece The common response to abuse in adoptive families, several months ago, which addresses this in much more depth and detail.

The chinese center of

The chinese center of adoption affair announced through Trianz  that they began the international adoption by working with different countries .

Pound Pup Legacy