At the US Consulate in Guangdong, China, a group of American parents have come with their adopted Chinese children to swear that they will be good parents.
But in the future, Western adopters may find it much harder to come to China to find a baby. Last month, the Beijing authorities tightened up the regulations to reduce the flow of babies out of the country.
The move could affect Guangdong’s reputation as the adoption capital of the world.
“They are China’s children and China has the right to impose whatever policies they like, and I know they need to slow down the flood of people trying to come over here,” says Jane Backus, one of the mothers. “It doesn’t affect us so I don’t feel really strongly one way or the other. And we would have met the new adoption requirement anyway.”
Last year a total of 13,000 Chinese children were adopted. 8,000 of them went to the USA, while 2,700 went to families in Spain.
The new law bars potential adopters if they are homosexual, a batchelor or unmarried, invalid or obese. You can’t adopt if you are under 30 or over 50 either. As parents, you would also be required to prove you have an income of more than 10,000 dollars each and that you own your home.
The official newspaper “People’s Daily” says these new measures are intended not so much to reduce the number of Chinese babies being adopted overseas, but to ensure they have the best possible future.
It raises the question: if fewer babies are adopted, will Chinese orphanages become overcrowded?
Jeffrey Reed, one of the new adopting dads, says: “Perhaps it’s a perception, every government wants to give the perception to the rest of the world that they are protecting their children and China is doing that. I mean they are giving that perception, but at the same time there are so many orphans in the orphanages that they are going to create a bigger log jam.”
It could also affect the commercial and retail environment in Guangdong city which has become renowned for the numerous shops selling baby goods and hotels catering for prospective parents.