Adoptions fall after China eases one-kid rule

BEIJING • China's easing of its family planning policy and changing attitudes towards children have led to a drop in the number of adoptions.

"The fall in the number of adoptions is the result of economic growth, improvements to the social welfare system and adjustment of the family planning policy," said a director at the Ministry of Civil Affairs' Department of Social Affairs.

"People's attitude to having children has also changed, and fewer parents are abandoning their children, which has resulted in fewer eligible adoptees at welfare institutions," said the director, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Under the new population policy, which kicked in in January, all couples in China are now eligible to have a second baby. Previously, only couples who were both from single-child families, or from rural households and ethnic minority groups, were exempted.

According to the ministry, 29,618 adoption cases were completed in 2010, while last year the number dropped to 17,201.

According to the ministry, 29,618 adoption cases were completed in 2010, while last year the number dropped to 17,201.

Mr Tong Xiaojun, director of the China Research Institute of Children and Adolescents, said: "Theoretically, relaxation of the family planning policy will continue to cause a decline in the number of adoptions."

He said there are two main groups who want to adopt: couples who are unable to have their own children; and couples who already have a child but could not have a second one under previous restrictions.

Under China's Adoption Law, couples with a child can adopt a second if the latter is an orphan, abandoned or a child with special needs in a welfare institution.

"Many families in China want two children, a boy and a girl, to make a 'perfect family'," Mr Tong said. The Chinese written characters for "boy" and "girl" form the character for "good" when put together , he explained.

A director at a child welfare institution in Shanxi province, surnamed Liu, said only five children from his institution were adopted by Chinese families last year.

"There is a lot of pressure on couples raising a child with special needs, especially in China. With the easing of the one-child policy, people have the chance to have their own children... Who will seek to adopt?"

To make it easier for couples to adopt, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has been working on amending the Adoption Law since the one-child policy was changed in December.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2016, with the headline 'Adoptions fall after China eases one-kid rule'. Print Edition | Subscribe