China Announces Adoption Eligibility Changes


Last week the CCCWA announced changes to their eligibility guidelines. Since then we have received clarification from our staff in China about certain eligibility changes we had questions about. We will be updating our website to reflect these changes, and also wanted to notify families in process and in post placement since these changes may impact your current or future adoption plans. These changes in eligibility do NOT impact families with dossiers already in China.

Eligibility changes:

  • Reusing a previously submitted dossier is no longer an option. Families must submit a complete dossier for each adoption process.
  • If a family wants to come back into process for another adoption, the soonest they can submit an LOI for another child is 6 months after the adoption registration date of the initial adoption.
  • The soonest a family can submit a dossier for another adoption (whether matched or not) is 12 months after the last adoption was registered.
  • A psychological assessment report is required for families if a history of the following is included in the dossier paperwork (including the home study):

o   Previous or current use of counseling

o   Alcoholism (simply having DUI history does NOT count as alcoholism)

o   Past mental or physical abuse

o   Experience of traumatic event

o   Current mental health diagnosis even if minor symptoms are under control.

  • Skin, thyroid, breast, or testicular cancer: must be cancer free for at least 3 years. Any other type of cancer: must be cancer free for at least 5 years.

If you have not sent your dossier to China and believe one of these eligibility changes may affect you, please contact the China team.



Yesterday the CCCWA, the Chinese adoption authority, announced changes to the eligibility requirements for prospective China adoptive families. Largely, the eligibility requirements remain the same, with some rules relaxing and others becoming stricter. Many of the changes do not impact Holt International families — largely because many of Holt’s policies already align with these changes, such as our policy restricting concurrent adoptions for non-siblings. We are waiting on clarification regarding several of the changes, and our staff in China is working to gather that information as quickly as they can.

Here are the major changes as we understand them right now:

  • The youngest child already in the home must be at least 3 years old.
  • Concurrent adoptions for non-sibling children are no longer permitted. Holt already has a policy that restricts families from adopting two unrelated children at the same time.
  • Families with more than 5 children under the age of 18 in the home cannot add another child to their family until at least one child already in the home turns 18.
  • Single women can now have as much as 50 years age difference between them and the child they are adopting (formerly only 45 years age difference was permitted).
  • Single women with up to two children in the home can adopt when the youngest child is 3 years old (formerly the youngest child in the home needed to be at least 5 years old).
  • Previously, only one parent could have a well-controlled mental health condition, but now both parents can have a well-controlled mental health condition, including depression or anxiety.
  • Previously, couples with up to one divorce per spouse had to have been married for at least 5 years, but now this policy has been relaxed to 2 years.
  • Time living together before marriage counts towards marriage length.

Detailed eligibility guidelines will be posted on our website once we receive further clarification.

We will continue to update our families in process on these new eligibility guidelines as we learn more from the CCCWA. For families in process who may be impacted by this change, we are working to review your adoption file and we will contact you individually with more information as soon as possible.

Our staff in China has assured us that families already matched (from pre-approval/PA issued and beyond) will not be impacted by these changes. Historically, whenever China has changed requirements, families already in process are grandfathered in on the old rules. We believe this will also be the case now, but are still awaiting clarification to confirm.

Our hearts go out to families who may no longer be eligible to adopt due to these changes. We welcome you to contact us directly to discuss your personal situation or any questions you may have.  We also commend the Chinese government for the work they are doing to strengthen their adoption safeguards for children.

We are here to provide support to you. Please contact us with any questions!

We are available by phone Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., PST. Call us at 541-687-2202.

-The China Team at Holt International




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