Spanish adoptions of mainlanders plunge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 August, 2007, 12:00am

The number of mainland Chinese children adopted by Spaniards has seen a dramatic fall this year since Beijing toughened rules relating to foreign adoptions.

After the US, Spain adopts the highest number of Chinese children in the world. But according to the Spanish government, the number of successful applications has dropped sharply so far this year to 994 - a fall of 36 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The number of would-be parents, hoping to take back a mainland child to start a new life in Spain, fell from 2,753 in 2005 to 1,759 last year.

Social services secretary Amparo Valcare linked the fall directly to Beijing's decision to toughen rules on foreign adoption. 'We see it as logical that, as countries face an ever higher demand to adopt their children, they have tightened the rules,' she said.

The toughened rules aim to prevent adoptions by unmarried, elderly or unhealthy people.

The policy change was partly prompted by rising demand from couples in Spain, the United States and other European countries.

Xing Kaimin, head of the China Centre for Adoption Affairs, said the rule change was designed to ensure that Chinese infants ended up in healthy, traditional families. 'We also have to take into consideration as a first priority the Chinese families that want to adopt,' he said.

Under the new rules, foreigners over 50 or who are obese, disfigured or on antidepressants are given the lowest priority for adoptions.

Since the 1980s, Spaniards adopted a high number of Chinese children because the process was far quicker and better run than in other countries, including their own.