In recent years, most adoptions are for children with special needs, not just in China but internationally.1 Previously, the large majority of adoptions in China were healthy baby girls who were given up by their parents, often because of a preference for a son when the one-child policy was strictly enforced.
Nowadays, with China having eased its one-child policy and introduced the two-child policy, fewer baby girls are abandoned, domestic adoptions of healthy children have increased, and the waiting time for foreigners looking to adopt a healthy child has tripled to about four years. In 2010, three out of five children being adopted had special medical needs. As an example, more recent figures show that in 2005, 95% of Chinese adoptees in the U.S. were healthy girls, while in 2015, more than 90% were children with special needs, with boys constituting a third of the total number of adoptees.2
With the support of ELG’s world-class specialists in helping children with special needs, Adoption Resources China acts as a bridge to bring families and abandoned children together, providing expert support and resources to increase successful matches.
Staff at ELG have been personally and professionally involved in supporting ARC. Not only are staff members personally connected with the organization, with one staff member adopting a child with ARC’s assistance and another a long-time volunteer, but ELG also supports ARC through monthly Early Intervention groups. More recently, we supported ARC’s second anniversary party, with fun activities for kids that promoted motor skills, social skills, and more.
ELG Co-Founder, Program Director, and Speech-Language Pathologist, Dr. Shari Rosen, upon hearing about ARC from its founder Dr. Mai Xiong offered her support through monthly Early Intervention groups, which she has been facilitating. Topics range from “Behavior Management” to “Early Communication Development” to “Importance of Play for Language Development”. The Early Intervention groups provide an environment for ARC families to gather and learn about methods to enhance emotional, social, cognitive, communication, motor and play. The monthly groups allow parents to meet up, ask questions, and exchange information about any topic.
Evelyn Willemyns, Speech-Language Pathologist at ELG, ran a special introduction to the Love and Logic Program at one of the group meetings. This program is especially helpful for adoptive families to discipline in a way that doesn’t discourage bonding or resurface trauma. Some agencies recommend it specifically for adopting families. ARC parents were interested to hear about techniques they can use with their children and subsequently ordered copies of the Love and Logic book.
By hosting Early Intervention groups every month, we have found the following. Firstly, siblings of adopted children also need special attention when it comes to having their needs met. Secondly, the group provides a space for families who are fostering or adopting, where they can share ideas with each other, support one another, and learn.
We look forward to continuing our relationship with ARC and seeing where we can take it in the coming years. We at ELG are eager to help families who are opening their hearts to children, to provide a space for support, community, and education.
2. “Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions Narrative”, travel.state.gov