China’s New Adoption Rules May Mean It’s Your Turn

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China's New Adoption RulesOnce God opens your eyes to the needs of orphans you cannot forget. He etches their faces in your memory. He writes their names on your heart. When you kiss the face of a child who now knows the love of a family you remember those who do not. Maybe that’s why so many adoptive families go back again and again. But now China’s new adoption rules declare, “No more.”

No more families with more than five children.
No more adopting two children at once.
No more families with a child under age three.
No more exceptions for adopting children with special needs.
No more exceptions for adopting children who will soon age out.
No more reusing dossiers or adopting again in less than a year.
No more income, age, or heath waivers, period.

(These links discuss the new rules in more detail: Red Thread Advocates, No Hands But Ours)

*Edited to add link to the requirements directly from the CCCWA list given to adoption agencies. June 30 New Rules

When God first led us to adopt, we assumed we would adopt through the state. It is less expensive, and it can be less waiting, but not always. When He closed that door, we looked to China since my husband had visited China several times.

In 2014, China limited families to four children in the home. At first this discovery discouraged because we already had five, but we learned through a friend that China made exceptions for those adopting a Special Focus child. Special Focus children have needs that are either more extensive or permanent. Shortly after, God showed us a picture of a Special Focus child with albinism, and we began pursuing our precious Ava.

In 2015, China changed their rules and no longer had an official limit, and adopting two was still allowed. God brought Eve, who happened to also be Special Focus, into our hearts and eventually into our family at the same time as we adopted Ava.

Now, our girls have been home for over a year. God amazes us everyday with the blessings He gives us through them. We love how He is growing and changing our girls into the beautiful young ladies they will one day become.

China's New Adoption Rules DecreeOur house and our hearts are full, but we cannot forget the many more who still live in orphanages and foster homes in China.

Although we had made no definite plans, returning to adopt in China again someday is still in the back of our minds.

Under China’s new adoption rules, we cannot go back, at least not for years. And neither can many other adoptive families like us (though some had already begun the process) who still have China adoption in their hearts.

If China’s new adoption rules had been in place a year ago, our daughters would still be waiting. We would not have been allowed to bring them into our forever family.

Although we are heartbroken over the many orphans still waiting, we must try to assume that China’s new adoption rules are meant to help children. Maybe the CCCWA (China’s adoption organization) doesn’t realize how much these new rules will affect their American adoptions.

Or maybe God is doing something new.

I read this thought on Facebook earlier today, and couldn’t get it off my mind.

In regards to the changes in adoption requirements that China announced today, my heart has been heavy most of the day. But as I have been thinking/praying about it, I feel like the Holy Spirit is speaking this-

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:19‬ ‭NLT

Betsy ‘Bartlett’ Newman via Facebook

(Shared with permission.)


Maybe God will use China’s new adoption rules to spur on families who have been considering adopting from China. I pray God calls more families to adopt Chinese orphans than the number of willing families who can no longer adopt because of China’s new adoption rules. 

I pray God calls more families to adopt Chinese orphans than the number of willing families who can no longer adopt from China.Click To Tweet

Wouldn’t that be an awesome something new!

Have you been considering adoption, but are scared of the finances, the commitment, the unknown?

Are you not more scared that another child will grow up never knowing the love of a family?

Are you not more scared of disobeying God’s call on your life?

Although adoption will never be easy, China’s New Adoption rules have made it harder for some of us, but not everyone.

China’s new adoption rules may mean it’s your turn.


If God is calling you to adopt, trust Him to provide the money, to guide you through the dark days, and to bless you more than you can imagine.

When Christian brothers and sisters read this post, I want them to remember that we were once orphans, then God adopted us into His family. How can we do less if He gives us the opportunity?

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV

See Beginning our Adoption Journey for more about how God led us to adopt from China.

Please comment with your questions if you are praying about adopting from China.

If you are a part of the adoption community, please help answer questions in the comments and leave a link to an adoption agency you recommend.




Comments 9

  • So this means a family can’t even begin the first bit of paperwork until after their youngest child turns three? After that, how much longer do you anticipate the process will take?

    • Hi, Jen, thanks for your interest! My understanding from what I have read is that you cannot send your dossier (collection of paperwork) to China and get a Log In Date (date you are officially logged into the adoption system in China) until your youngest is three. You could likely start your paperwork, though, especially if your youngest will be three within a few months. An adoption agency could tell you for sure. From Log In Date to travel averages around 4 months, but can vary a lot. Hope this helps! We had a very long wait for various reasons, but our girls are so worth it!

    • The timeframe varies, but many families complete afiotioms in China within one year. (We did.)

  • Do you know if pregnancy disqualifies you if you’re midway through the process?

    • Hi, Kate,
      This happened to us after training and filling out all the paperwork to adopt with DHS in Mississippi. We were not allowed to continue. I have known people (personally and on Facebook) who have recently adopted from China while pregnant, but I don’t know how the new rules will affect that situation. You probably need to ask an adoption agency, but it still may be uncertain until the situation actually comes up. I’ll ask around and get back to you if I find out anything. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

    • According to Across the World Adoptions, if your dossier was already complete you would be able to continue, but you should also ask your agency if you are adopting.

  • I work for America World Adoption Association ( a Christian adoption agency. Many of the questions listed vary per agency & how they decide to handle a case moving forward. AWAA would allow a family to remain in our China Program, if pregnant, but you would need to still wait until child were closer to timeframe you could submit your paperwork per the new rule of the youngest being three. We’d be happy to discuss this or any of the above questions if you want to call us or email Every agency will likely decide when families with a child under 3 can start building a dossier, and we expect that will vary per agency. We will allow our families to start the adoption paperwork & home study process closer to a year before child turns three, but keeping in mind documents must be less than a year old when documents arrive in China, so we will work closely with each family & case by case to ensure a family knows the best time for them to start building the adoption paperwork. We’d love to tackle any eligibility questions for families as we know there are a lot of new changes coming from China. Please feel free to reach out to us at the above email & we can assist. We are trying to really work with families & hopefully make these changes less daunting & less fearful to many. We continue to remind ourselves & families, “none of this took God by surprise” & we rest in that.

  • What a moving post. I’m sad, and simultaneously grateful – as you pointed to God and how He may use this either to draw in families who wouldn’t have otherwise gotten involved, or do who knows what else. God is not limited by Chinese law – or any of man’s laws. Thank you for sharing this.

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