Monday, January 29, 2007

Detroit Free Press on China's New Adoption Poilcy

China gets too strict on adoptions
January 29, 2007

Chinese children deserve better than the highly restrictive new foreign adoption guidelines their government is eyeing.

If the rules go into effect, as expected, early next year, obese, middle-aged or single prospective parents need not apply. Countries clearly have a right to set rules, but China seems more intent on pushing the boundaries of good taste than protecting children. Russia, on the other hand, is changing its rules in a smarter way: requiring mental health assessment.

That's a much more reasonable focus than China's absurd interest in fat and marital status. Without some change, China's policy jeopardizes thousands of needy children's ability to find safe homes, particularly in America. Since 1989, some 48,000 Chinese children have been adopted, according to the Joint Council on International Children's Services in Alexandria, Va. The new standard is bound to strain that relationship.

Obesity may be an indicator of potential health risks, but it's a poor predictor of parental ability. So is the notion of banning middle-age prospective parents above age 50. Often, they are the people with the most free time and life experiences to offer.

As nice as it would be to see a rise in American adoptions, families interested in looking to China first should not have their interest denied based on the size of their waistlines or their proximity to middle age.

They could be just the parents some child needs.


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