Below are some of the most common questions asked about the China program and the answers to each. Please feel free to contact a Lifeline representative at 205.967.0811 with any further questions you may have.
What is a Home Study?
A home study is a series of interviews in which a social worker concentrates on collecting information via face-to-face contact with a couple. The home study process typically consists of four interviews.
We are open to adopting an older or special needs child. Is this possible?
Adopting an older or medical special needs child from China is very possible – and encouraged. Lifeline is as committed to helping families adopt older and special needs children as we are helping families adopting healthy babies. Children can be adopted until their 14th birthday.
We have other children. Is this a problem with adopting a baby from China?
There are no restrictions concerning children in the family or an applicants’ ability to have future children. However, there cannot be more than 4 minor children already living in the home (The newly adopted child can be the 5th child in the home but not the 6th). Children in the family must be older than 1 year of age. If a pregnancy does occur during the adoption process and prior to the placement of a child, the prospective adoptive parents’ application could be placed on hold pending the outcome of the pregnancy and the expected date of delivery.
Will I have to travel to China?
Yes, you will have to travel to China to adopt. However, you will only have to make one trip that will typically be 10-14 days long. Although it is easier when married couples travel to China together, it is possible for one spouse to travel with power of attorney and conclude the adoption on behalf of the non-traveling spouse.
Why does it cost so much to adopt?
International adoption can be expensive. There are many expenses that are fixed with every international adoption, such as travel and fees paid in China, but Lifeline Children’s Services and its network of professionals have committed to offering a lower cost program in order to facilitate families with choosing our program.
We have made every effort to provide a realistic cost sheet of anticipated adoption expenses. We would be happy to answer any of your questions regarding fees, and are confident that if you compare fees among agencies, you will discover that Lifeline truly has made an effort to provide low cost international adoption alternatives to our families. When comparing costs, please note that many agencies do not include travel and in-China fees as part of the total costs incurred to complete a Chinese adoption.
How long does the process take?
The current wait time for adopting from China are 12-18 months for a child with medical special needs and 6-8 years for a healthy child.
I am single. Will you accept my application?
Yes, as of earlier this year the CCCWA has begun accepting applications again from single applicants. Please consult a Lifeline social worker to go over the specific regulations for single adoption from China.
What are the age requirements?
China requires that adoptive applicants must be at least 30 years of age. Adoptive parents over the age of 50-55 may be restricted from adopting. If you exceed the age of 50-55 or have any questions regarding age, please contact the Lifeline staff and we will attempt to provide further clarification.
We understand Lifeline is a Christian ministry. How does this impact the application process?
It is true that Lifeline Children’s Services was founded to assist Christian families with adoption. As a non-denominational ministry, we have worked with families of many different Christian denominations. Avoiding denominational issues, we accept applications from prospective adoptive applicants who express a faith in Christ, a lifestyle that demonstrates this commitment, and a desire to raise the child in a Christian home.
For those families with concern over our spiritual requirements, we can provide referral within our established network. If you have any questions over this issue, you are encouraged to make contact with our Lifeline staff who is always happy to discuss this and answer any questions you may have.
We live in another state. How does this impact our application with Lifeline?
Lifeline will complete the home study and post-adoption process for families living in all of the states Lifeline is licensed in. For families living in a state where Lifeline is not licensed, Lifeline will assist the family with locating an approved home study agency and will assist the local agency with completing an adoptive home study that will meet the standards established by the CCCWA and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Every effort is made to provide easy access to the Lifeline staff through email, correspondence, and the telephone for those families who live outside of Alabama.
Many, many adoptive families have said that they have found the Lifeline program to be one of the most accessible, “user-friendly” programs they have encountered.
Why Adopt from China?
Regarded by many adoption professionals as the best-run adoption program in the world, China has become the choice country for thousands of American adoptive families. Clear policies and a firm commitment by the China government to sound adoption practices stands in sharp contrast to the adoption programs in some other countries. As quoted in the Wall Street Journal, “[China has a] well-run centralized system.”*
There are thousands of children in China available for adoption. China allows for the adoption of healthy children up to 14 years of age, as well as children with special needs, if this is the adoptive parents’ desire.
The adoption is legally finalized in China and is recognized completely by the United States. (*Information cited from “Adoption’s New Geography” seen in The Wall Street Journal on 10/14/03)