Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Big Wait

This month's referrals have come and gone and there are no new rumors out there. This is what we call the quiet part of the month in the Chinese adoption world. I couldn't think of anything interesting to blog about so I bounced out onto the forums and blogs for some inspiration.

One of the big topics out there right now is the ever extending wait time. Specifically, how long the wait time will get. The wait time from Log In Date to referral will soon hit 2 years, nobody seems to be denying that fact. But whenever the topic comes up of how long the wait will ultimately get someone always seems to come into the conversation and say that their agency thinks that the wait time will stabilize once it hits 2 years. I just don't understand this line of thinking. Back when the wait was approaching a year we heard the same thing, the stabilization or even a speed up is coming, and then again at 18 months and now we hear it again. In order for the wait times to stabilize at 2 years the CCAA would have to start referring 30 days worth of LIDs per month. In order for the wait to to start to decrease the CCAA would have to start referring more than 30 LIDs per month. The last 3 months have seen 5, 4 and 7 days referred. It really doesn't seem likely that a stabilization will happen anytime soon. The CCAA would need to suddenly start referring 4 to 7 times as many LIDs as they have been.

When the CCAA visited the US this past summer they explained that the wait time was increasing because there were more parents applying to adopt than there were paper ready babies available. I have read estimates that upwards of 30,000 families are waiting to adopt from China. Nobody, except the CCAA, really knows what this number is. With decreasing abandonment rates in China due to improving economic conditions as well as increased domestic adoption in China the pool of paper ready babies available is not likely to grow.

Ultimately the wait time does have to stabilize. But that probably will not happen until they start referring people with Log In Dates after the new rules were implemented back in May 2007. The new rules prevent singles, people who are obese, over 50 and a few other criteria from adopting. These rules are expected to slim down the potential adoptive parent pool by at least a third of all previously eligible families. So the big question is how long will it take to get to May of 2007? They are about to start referring December of 2005, there are more 17 months to refer to get to May 2007. That is a total of 18 months to get through before a stabilization could potentially happen. I really don't want to speculate on how long it may take to refer the the remaining 18 months but given the recent number of days referred per month it is pretty easy to see how the wait time could easily grow to 5 or 6 years from Log In Date. Someone with a May 2007 LID has already been waiting 5 months. There are 18 months to get through to get to them. If they refer an average of 7 days a month going forward they are looking at a wait time of almost 7 years. If they refer an average of 15 days a month going forward they are looking at a wait time of almost 3 and a half years. Most likely their wait time will fall somewhere in between the two. Attrition could also help the wait times decrease, as the wait gets longer some families situations will change and they will no longer be in the position to adopt from China. Although I don't think that the attrition rate will be high enough to significantly affect the wait times.

With a Log In Date of January 5, 2005 this doesn't really mean that much for us in the short term. We are still looking at a 24 to 27 month wait from our LID. But, it would definitely affect us if we decided to adopt a second child from China after we bring Grace home. That is a way down the road at this point though, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

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