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Chinese adoption agency sees drop in applications


Chinese adoption agency sees drop in applications
posted by: Jeffrey Wolf written by: Thanh Truong     Date last updated: 9/8/2008 11:40:14 PM
HIGHLANDS RANCH - Kathy and Scott Stafford adore their two daughters. When they decided to adopt their first daughter Ellie from China, they had to wait nine months after going through the application process before they could bring her back home to Highlands Ranch.
Years later, they decided to adopt their second Chinese daughter, Jodi, and it took much longer.
"The months just kind of increased and it kept getting longer and longer," said Scott Stafford.
"It took us three times longer for Jodi, it was 27 months. There was a point when we asked ourselves do we want to continue this wait because it just seemed so far in the future and we weren't getting any younger," said Kathy Stafford.
They were willing to wait and now have more than enough opportunities to take pictures of their daughters sitting in a rocking chair or playing with the neighbor's dog, but more families in waiting are choosing not to wait or apply for Chinese adoption.
"We have seen a 50 percent drop in applications in this year alone," said Joshua Zhong.
Zhong's family runs the nonprofit Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI). Since 1992, the Centennial based agency has helped find homes for more than 8,100 Chinese children. Zhong says over the years the popularity of Chinese adoption flourished because China was very successful and almost machine like in the way it brought an adoption ambition to fruition. That success combined with a new restrictions on adoption from China are now extending the waiting period between application and actual adoption.
"The waiting time used to be six, seven months or so and then you got a new baby from China. Now, people have to wait two and a half, three years. Americans like to get everything fast so when they hear it's going to be that long they're like forget about it," said Zhong.
CCAI is noticing an increased interest in families wanting to adopt older Chinese children or special needs children. Zhong believes the waiting period for those adoptions, generally 14 to 16 months, is big factor. While CCAI welcomes the growing interest in adopting special needs children or those who don't quite fit the traditional Chinese adoption mold, it cautions parents about traveling that route mainly because it may be faster.
"We always caution people not to jump into this program because it's faster. You have to understand you're going to be with this child all your life, think about the insurance issues, think about the financial issues, think about your time, everything," said Zhong.
Many Colorado adoption agencies say they have not seen a significant increase in American adoptions, but some have seen a spike in international adoptions from countries like Ethiopia. The Staffords understand how tough and challenging the wait can be, but they urge parents who have pledged their time, money and patience into the process to stay the course.
"It's so worth the wait and the minute they put that little girl in your arms, all of that time seems to melt away," said Kathy.
"I can't imagine our lives without either one of them and we feel very blessed that we waited and now have them together," said Scott S.
For more information about adoptions in Colorado, visit www.cdhs.state.co.us/childwelfare/Adoption.htm.
For more information about Chinese adoptions, visit http://www.chinesechildren.org/.
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2008 Sep 9