Thoughts on guidelines

With some trepidation I’ve decided to write about a very sensitive subject, knowing that many will strongly disagree with me. I’ll try to be very objective. I’ve already outlined the new restrictions for people adopting from China. I’ve even said that we would be excluded after May 1, 2007. I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve tried to look at this from the point-of-view of CCAA. They have reached a point where they have many more potential parents than they have available children. I sincerely hope this is because fewer children are being abandoned and/or more are being adopted domestically, not due to a political decision which results in many children growing up in orphanages who otherwise could be found homes with the many waiting families abroad. The rest of this post is based on this premise. Also, it is important to remember that it is not CCAA’s mandate to find children for any parents who wish to adopt. Their mandate is to place orphan children where they decide they will have the best opportunities. The children are the customers; not us.

Here’s what I think. I don’t think it is personal and it’s not about fairness to adoptive parents. The CCAA has apparently decided that they need to reduce the parent pool, probably to reduce the wait time for future parents. This wait has been driving us now waiting insane. We have been waiting for 6-8 months for the last 14 months, with probably 6-8 more to go! Many others are jumping ship, looking for another country with a shorter wait time. What’s a bureaucracy to do? Getting picky is probably about the easiest thing and is something they now can afford to do. I think they are looking at statistical issues and their own biases.

First I’ll address the statistical issues:

  • A child with two parents in the beginning is more likely to still have one living by the time she reaches adulthood, even if they divorce.
  • Weight is related to health and a BMI of 40 is the lower limit for morbid obesity. Health related problems begin at a much lower level than 40.
  • Other serious health concerns can limit the lifespan of a parent. Many disabilities, however, are quite manageable and don’t affect lifespan. Some affect quality of life; others do not. However, CCAA may feel they aren’t in a good position to judge and since they are trying to cut down the parent-pool this may feel like an easy way to differentiate.

Next I’ll address the biases:

  • Parents with higher income can provide for a child’s material needs, especially education, which is very important to the Chinese.
  • I think the criminal issues have just gotten stricter. I don’t think someone with a domestic violence, sexual abuse perpetrator, child abuse perpetrator history could adopt before. The substance abuse history probably got stricter too, but even now, I think if you’ve been clean for a period of time (pretty long) you can be considered. It’s an easy way to be more selective.
  • Parents must have a high school level education. Again, the Chinese value education highly, so this isn’t a big surprise.

Does this mean that CCAA and China believe single, overweight, disabled, less educated, poor, and people who have gotten into legal trouble would make poor parents? No, I don’t think so. I think it means that, all other things being equal, CCAA believes that parents meeting the new guidelines can provide better opportunities for the children than families that don’t. The new guidelines make sense when you remember that they aren’t meeting any of us. Of course, none of these things guarantee good parents. I’m sure China knows this. Unfortunately for us, we’ve gotten caught in a supply and demand problem and China can now be more selective. If it were up to me, I don’t know that I’d do things much differently. I know of many poor, less educated, disabled, single, and overweight people who have been, are, or would be fabulous parents. But the point is that I know them. I’m not a bureaucracy trying to evaluate people from another country and culture by looking at documents translated from a foreign language, entrusted with choosing people who can be good parents and provide the best opportunities for my nation’s most desperate children.

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7 Responses

  1. Very well said,Cavatica. It gets really difficult to look at this topic objectively with all the emotions swirling around. As you said, we can only hope that the CCAA is still placing as many children as they can possibly place.

  2. All we can do is hope that they really are doing what they believe is in the best interest of the children whether or not we agree with it. No question that a large bureaucracy is forced into using very blunt instruments.

  3. It’s difficult to discuss these changes from a rational, rather than emotional, perspective – you accomplished that very well, and I appreciate your thoughts.

  4. Cavatica, thank you putting into words that I have been wanting to write all along. Well said.

  5. This is what I am thinking …

    They needed a “quick fix” to reduce the current wait – and although that wait is now nearing 16 months, I do believe it’s going to keep increasing (especially with a “mad rush” of those who won’t qualify after May 1, 2007) and go WAY beyond 2 years.

    I think that after those who will be LID May 1, 2007 have been matched that the wait will start to decrease and once they get down to less than a 12 month wait they will revamp and get a little “lenient” again.

    I also think that with the new program they are going to start that more and more orphanages will start to come aboard, increasing the number of “paper ready” babies.

    But then again this is just my single self hoping and wishing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens once things start to speed up. I am not giving up on China just yet, but I am looking VERY closely at Vietnam.

  6. Brilliant Cavatica.I have been interested in the new charity the CCAA are setting up called “Blue Sky”.Have you read the 10th Anniversary speach by CCAA Chairman-its inspirational and it talks about children all living under one blue sky.No to me that means that the new charity will open up more orphanages to ICA and conditiona will improve in these orphanages.I think they are making their adoption programme even better for the future.Its hard for many people with the new rules but the Chinese are thinking about the interests of their children.They value education,marriage and health.Yes I agree Cavatica that we all know that great parents come in different packages but these are values of the Chinese race and culture and we must respect their values.

  7. Sorry I would just like to add I agree with you Cavatica on all the points you have raised and well done for speaking out.

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