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The Barker Adoption Foundation has worked in China for more than a decade, beginning first with its “traditional” China program in 2003, which placed mostly healthy infants with families.

In 2008 Barker also started placing children through the China Waiting Children Program. This program involves placing children with “special needs,” including children who have known medical needs and/or children who are older. We have Chinese-speaking staff in both China and our U.S. office. The Barker staff has decades of experience working with China adoptions.

Currently all referrals through China are for children with special needs (waiting children) unless a family has had their dossier in China for more than 10 years through the traditional China program. Barker does not recommend that families apply for the traditional China program unless they are open to adopting a waiting child. Learn more information about the Waiting Children from China program.


Adoptive Parent Eligibility Guidelines of the China Center for Children’s Welfare & Adoption (CCCWA)

  • Heterosexual couples who have been married (or living together) for at least two years are eligible. If either parent has been previously divorced more than once, the current marriage must have lasted at least five years. There can have been no more than two divorces per parent.
  • Married couples who have no more than five children younger than the age of 18 in the home. Single heterosexual females who have no more than two  children younger than age 18. No families with children  younger than three years old are eligible.
  • The minimum household income for couples is $10,000 per household member (including the prospective adoptee), and their minimum net worth is $80,000. For singles, the minimum household income is $20,000 plus $10,000 for each child and a net worth is $100,000.
  • The adoptive parents must be at least 30 years old, and the younger parent (or single parent) can be no more than 50 years older than the prospective adopted child at the time of dossier submission.
  •  Adoptive parents must be in good health physically, mentally, and emotionally, with a body mass index below 40. Adoptive parents’ health issues are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Any criminal history is closely reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with no history of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or abandonment or abuse of children permitted. In addition, there can be no history of illegal drug use or alcohol abuse within the last ten years.


Circumstances of Children in Need of Adoptive Families

  • At referral, children who are nine months through 14 years old*
  • Children with special needs
  • Children who are in either an orphanage or foster-family care

Because the majority of the children were placed into orphanages after being abandoned by their birth parent(s), there is typically no information known about their backgrounds. “Special needs” is defined as having a known medical condition that may require treatment and/or being older. Prospective adoptive families are offered information about the child’s diagnosis, which may include additional testing results related to the diagnosis.

Process & Timeline

These steps apply to both the traditional China program and China Waiting Children Program, though the latter has a few additional steps.  

  1. Submit an adoption application to Barker.
  2. Complete the parent education, including pre-adoption group training and international group training, and the home study
  3. Complete and submit an adoption dossier for China.
  4. Receive a referral of a child from China. The family is strongly encouraged to have the paperwork of the child reviewed by an international adoption physician.
  5. Travel about 12 weeks after the referral of a child.
  6. Stay in China an average of 2 weeks to finalize the adoption process. Barker has English-speaking guides in China to help families navigate the system while there.
  7. Return home to the United States with your child. The child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen on entering the United States. Send a copy of your child’s Certificate of Citizenship to Barker once received.

Post-Placement Reporting Period

In addition to Barker’s standard requirement, China requires post- placement reports completed at one year, two years, three years, four years, and five years after placement. The last three reports can be written by the adoptive families with Barker’s approval.

* Barker is currently only placing children under seven years of age through our international programs. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.