How to adopt a child from China

You may read our earlier article on adopting a baby in Singapore, and how to go about it. However, there are different rules and regulations for different countries, so If you’ve decided that you would like to adopt a baby from China, you should be aware of what’s different. China has an adoption agreement with Singapore that uses a different process. In order to adopt a child from China, you’ll need to follow the steps outlined below.

Basic requirements

First, in order to adopt a child from the People’s Republic of China, you have to be approved by the China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) which oversees adoption. The qualifying criteria are different from that of Singapore’s. You must be:

  • A married couple, comprising of a male and a female partner.
  • One of you must be a Singapore citizen. The other should either be a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident.
  • You must not have been divorced more than twice. If you have previously been married, your current marriage must have lasted more than five years.
  • You must be over 30 and under 50. The age limit is relaxed up to 55 years of age for those planning to adopt a child with special needs.
  • You should be healthy, both physically and mentally.
  • You should not have more than five children.
  • Your household must be financially stable. You should be able to show an annual household income per capita of $10,000 USD and a total net asset value of $80,000 USD.
  • You must be educated to at least the level of an ITE certificate or GCE ‘A’ Level certificate.
  • You must have a clean criminal record.


In addition, couples seeking to adopt a child from China must receive at least 12 hours of training from their accredited agency. If they already have children, they must submit at least three letters as reference from their children’s teachers, or by the children themselves if they are over 18.

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Accredited agencies to use

Another important point to note is that since 2010, China has exclusively appointed two accredited agencies for adoption, which are:

  • TOUCH Family Services Ltd
  • Fei Yue Community Services


The reason why China has appointed these two agencies is that they are reliable community organisations that do not operate for profit. By regulating the process, they are trying to stamp down on the black market where babies are traded for large sums of money. Be wary of any private agency offering you a baby from China. Even if you secure the baby, you won’t be able to obtain the proper paperwork from CCCWA and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

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The adoption process

If you qualify under the required criteria for adoption, you should approach either TOUCH Family Services or Fei Yue Community Services to register yourself on their waiting list. Before they put you on the list, they will do the following:

  • Run a Pre-Adoption Briefing. This two and half hour briefing is compulsory for those planning to adopt a child from China.
  • Conduct a Home Study. It will assess if you are ready to care for your adopted child, according to Singapore and Chinese authorities.
  • Submit the adoption application on your behalf. Your agency will liaise with MSF and CCCWA on your behalf. You will have to pay the administrative fees.
  • Match you with a child. If there is a child available for adoption, your agency will let you know. Be prepared that due to backlog, you might have to wait up to five years. Usually you cannot reject a child that has been matched with you, unless it is for medical reasons.


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Final steps

You’ve been matched with a child for adoption — congratulations! Now what? Now you just have to take the final steps to meet your child and complete the process. These steps are quite similar to the process for regular foreign adoptions.

First, you have to apply for a dependent’s pass from MSF. Next, you have to fly to China to meet your adopted child and to complete the paperwork there, before returning to obtain the dependent’s pass and applying to the Family Court for legal adoption.

Is it worth the wait?

Compared to agencies who can offer babies from Vietnam and Indonesia within months, you may wonder if it is worth it for the long wait and more complicated process of going through the CCCWA for adopting a Chinese baby. However, at the end of the day, you have the assurance of knowing that you truly are giving an unwanted child a chance to grow up in a safe and loving environment. That is a feeling that may be worth all the inconvenience.

Have you gone through the adoption process? Tell us your experience in the comments below!

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