American families adopting Chinese kids with medical needs

World Today

American families adopting Chinese kids with medical needs

China’s Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
This comes as families in the United States continue to adopt kids from China in large numbers. The majority of these adopted children have special medical needs.

CCTV’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports on this trend from the U.S. state of Colorado.

Families in U.S. adopting Chinese kids with medical needs

Families in the United States continue to adopt kids from China in large numbers. The majority of these adopted children have special medical needs. CCTV's Hendrik Sybrandy reports on this trend from the U.S. state of Colorado.

15-year-old Luke and Cole Scriven seem like typical American teenagers but their difficult years growing up as orphans in China make them quite unique here in Colorado Springs.

Luke was left on the steps of a building. Cole was found as a baby abandoned in a field still with his umbilical cord attached.

Roger and Amy Scriven adopted both boys. First Luke, then his best friend at the Chinese orphanage.

Luke and Cole are two of the countless children whose pictures cover the walls at Chinese Children Adoption International in Colorado. CCAI, the world’s largest China-focused adoption agency, has placed almost 12,000 kids with U.S. families.

Beginning around 2007, the profile of those children began to change.

“I would say today almost 98% of the children we’re adopting from China are children with all kinds of special needs, including my own little girl who we adopted when she was 10 years old with a very severe heart condition,” CCAI President Joshua Zhong said.

Zhong says as more Chinese families adopt healthy children, most of the kids left in orphanages have some sort of medical needs.

“Because people don’t want to take care of children with special needs, because maybe embarrassment to their family or maybe high medical costs.”

Luke and Cole were born with holes in their heart, since fixed, the fusion of two of their vertebrae and a still undiagnosed genetic condition. None of that gave the Scrivens pause when they considered whether to adopt.

At a time when it takes close to a decade for U.S. parents to adopt healthy Chinese children, medical concerns seem almost secondary to many of them.