PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 May, 1996, 12:00am

As the parent of a boy adopted here in Hong Kong, I was taken aback by your article headlined, 'Tougher adoption rules' (Sunday Morning Post, April 21), on several counts.

First of all, you report that the Health and Welfare Branch is considering a 'tougher selection process' for potential adoptive parents. This despite the fact that the same article notes that last year, while 116 children were successfully adopted, another 126 are 'still waiting desperately' for adoptive parents.

Let's examine these two facts together. Have there been any unsuccessful adoptions in recent years? If not, why the big concern about tightening the selection process for potential adoptive parents? If 126 children are languishing in orphanages because there are no parents approved to take them, shouldn't Health and Welfare be considering the opposite approach: making the adoptive parent selection process simpler, faster and less restrictive? How many of your readers know that at the initial interview, expat families are told point blank that they have virtually no chance of getting a healthy infant, because of a preference given to local Chinese families? Or that regardless of any other qualifications, they must be in residence in Hong Kong for 18 months before they can even begin the valuation process (which takes another six months)? Much of the problem has to do with the attitudes of the local Chinese community, which, as your article demonstrates in its own unquestioning acceptance of the terminology, considers orphaned children of 'unfavourable family background' to be 'special needs' children as if they were unhealthy or disabled.

Since Western families have no hesitation about adopting such children, it seems ludicrous in the extreme to prevent them from easily doing so at the earliest possible age.

Concerns about the suitability of single parent adoptions, gay parent adoptions, older parent adoptions, even poor parent or disabled parent adoptions are misplaced when the alternative is a child spending unnecessary time during the crucial developmental years in an orphanage, no matter how good that orphanage might be.

DAVE LINDORFF New Territories