China announces big changes to their “shared list” child advocacy program

Last month, the CCCWA — China’s central adoption authority — announced some big changes to better advocate for children waiting for adoptive families on China’s “shared list.”

You can read more about these changes here, here or here, or read our simplified summary below.

What’s the “shared list”?

The “shared list” is a group of children who any China adoption agency can find families for at any time.

Often, we need additional help finding families for children who wait on the “shared list” as they are often older or have more moderate to major special needs, including rare or difficult-to-diagnose cognitive disabilities, common-but-more involved physical and developmental conditions like severe cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, and other more complex physical or emotional needs. For this reason, finding a family with the resources and knowledge to offer a loving and secure home may be more difficult.

Usually, the shared list has about 2,500-3,000 waiting children overall, and agencies determine which children and how many children to advocate for on their own websites.

But now, the CCCWA wants to ensure that more of the children on the shared list — especially those who have waited the longest for a family — receive consistent and ongoing advocacy.

So, what’s changed?

The Chinese government along with several advocacy and adoption agencies — Holt International included — are collaborating to amp up our advocacy efforts for children in great need of families, some of whom have been waiting for years and years to have a loving home of their own. Most of these children have already been available for adoption through the shared list for a long time. As such, the change does not involve releasing new groups of children for home-finding, but rather revamping advocacy efforts for children who have yet to be matched with a family — despite, in many cases, tremendous efforts by groups or agencies to find a family equipped to care for their unique needs.

The CCCWA has selected a group of about 2,200 children from the shared list and divided them into four groups, based on the province where the child lives. They then assigned each group to an agency for advocacy. This group does not include every child on the shared list. For our part, Holt was asked to advocate for a group of children from Beijing, Guangxi, Hubei, Niemenggu, Shandong and Shanxi.

Paisley PL photo
Paisley is one child on China’s shared list. Learn more about her on Holt’s “shared list” tab on our China photolisting.
Fletcher is one child on China’s shared list. Learn more about him on Holt’s “shared list” tab on our China photolisting.

How can I help and when will this change take place?

Sadly, many of the children for whom we’ve been asked to home-find have not had their adoption profile updated in many, many years. Consequently, it will be very difficult for adoptive families to understand a particular child’s strengths, habits, personality traits and medical needs, and determine if their family might be a good fit for the child.

Step one will be to update some of the children’s biography and adoption profile information. It’s hard to determine how long this will take because it requires heavy coordination with orphanages, hospitals and social workers all over China. We will prioritize updating files on children when families express serious interest in learning more about them.

Step two is advocacy. And we are going to need you and all of your friends to help.

As a leader in international adoption, Holt has a broad network of people with a strong heart for adoption. But our resources remain limited and it will be nearly impossible for us to advocate for this group of children without your help sharing their stories.

Ruby PL photo
Ruby is one child on China’s shared list. Learn more about her on Holt’s “shared list” tab on our China photolisting.
Kylan is one child on China’s shared list. Learn more about him on Holt’s “shared list” tab on our China photolisting.

What if I’m already working with another agency?

If we hope to find these children’s families, we will need to fully utilize our network of adoption professionals, families and advocates. We will need everyone on board to help share these children’s stories and encourage potential families to step forward.

For this reason, we will also work with any agency to share files for children on the “shared list” tab of our photolisting. If you are an adoptive family in process with another agency, but you are interested in learning more about one of the precious children on the shared list tab, please have your agency reach out to us to inquire about that child’s availability. If a family in process with Holt isn’t already reviewing that child’s file, in most cases, we will request the file be transferred to your agency.

Where can I learn more about the “shared list” children Holt is advocating for?

You can learn more here about the children for whom we are advocating. Or you can visit RainbowKids, an advocacy website where many of these children — and others who were chosen for this home-finding project — will eventually be featured.

You can also contact Holt’s child match coordinator, Jessica Zeeb, at 541-687-2202 or

To learn more about Holt’s China adoption program, click here.

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