Changes to China’s One-child Policy

At the end of October 2015, the Chinese government announced major changes to their one child-policy. Now, all married couples living in China will be allowed to have two children, which is great news for children and families in China.

Since the one-child policy was imposed to limit China’s population growth in the late 1970s, enforcement of the law has declined — particularly over the past decade. In 2008, Chinese officials announced plans to begin gradually altering the law, and soon after, the Chinese government announced that couples could parent two children if one spouse was an only child. This latest change follows trends to allow Chinese families greater flexibility in regard to family size.

This change, while positive for children and families in China, is unlikely to affect Holt’s adoption programs or our continued search for loving adoptive families in the United States.

Since the vast majority of children placed with adoptive families through Holt have minor to moderate special needs, we don’t anticipate that China’s change to the one-child policy will have any effect on the number of children available for adoption internationally.

In China, as in many other places, cultural values and an enduring stigma against special needs are the biggest reasons why children with medical or developmental needs are abandoned. This cultural reality is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, and the abandonment of children with special needs in China won’t be curbed by legally allowing larger families. Nearly all the children from China available for international adoption have special needs, and thousands of children with special needs are waiting in institutional care. We are still in urgent need of adoptive families — particularly those open to a child of either gender — who are willing to open their homes and hearts to children waiting in China.

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