How Coronavirus Is Affecting Surrogacy, Foster Care and Adoption – The New York Times

Early in the year, when the coronavirus was barely registering as a news story outside of Asia, Holt International an agency that facilitates adoption placements between Chinese orphanages and adoptive parents in the United States was already closely monitoring and responding to the outbreak.

Just a month ago, we were focused on raising money to send masks over to make sure the children were protected, said Susan Cox, vice president of policy and external affairs at the agency, which is based in Eugene, Ore. Little did we know how soon wed be needing those things here, too.

As the situation worsened in China, the agency began preparing prospective parents for significant delays in a process that already takes up to two years, on average, to complete.

When China first went into lockdown, we had 10 families with tickets ready to go and about the same number who were at the point of purchasing tickets, Cox said. Depending on how long travel restrictions stay in place, she estimates hundreds more prospective adoptive placements could be affected before the end of the year. We see no end in sight and it is heartbreaking for the families and, most importantly, for the children.

Among the adoptive parents immediately affected are Thomas and Callie Mitchell, who live in Chattanooga, Tenn., with their three daughters. Two months ago, the couple was busy making plans to travel to China to finalize the adoption of a 3-year-old boy living in an orphanage in Xian. As the virus began to spread from Wuhan to other regions of the country, however, the trip was called off the orphanage had entered into a complete lockdown, allowing no one in or out.

At first we thought it would be just a minor setback by a couple weeks, maybe months, Thomas said. But with the United States now emerging as an epicenter of the pandemic, prompting China and other countries to enact their own travel restrictions on Americans, the couple is preparing for a much longer period of uncertainty.

Though the delay is temporary, its made the familys adoption, an emotional process even in the best of situations, all the more so. My girls have been so excited and took a lot of ownership in helping make sure their brothers room was good to go and welcoming, Thomas said.

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How Coronavirus Is Affecting Surrogacy, Foster Care and Adoption - The New York Times

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