FAT FOREIGNERS STAY OUT According to Seattle Times Writer staff writer Maureen O’Hagan, China is imposing new restrictions on foreign adoptions, barring applicants who are unmarried, obese, older than 50 or who take antidepressants. The education folks are also pushing to limit the age and qualifications of foreign experts headed for the Middle Kingdom. No longer will backpackers be able to have their tourist visas turned into working permits just because they speak English. They will be expected to have a Bachelors Degree, an ESL certificate and two years of experience in education as well as a clean health check prior to entering China. Where I think this is good for the students in the long run I think China will have a tough time finding people with the right pedigree to work for $3-800 a month. And the new rules (actually old rules being enforced) limiting older teachers will cheat students out of adventuresome retirees with extraordinary skills. And the new restrictions may hamper already tough recruiting for teachers. But, there is more demand than supply on the adoption side of the house: The 15 months wait for a Chinese infant just got longer. The restrictions are meant to limit adoptions to “only the most qualified families,” said the Web site of one agency, Harrah’s Adoption International Mission, in Spring, Texas. The agency said China has pledged to try to make more children available to those who qualify. Americans adopted 7,906 children from China in 2005. I live in Guangzhou, the only city where the U.S. Consulate handles American intended adoptions in China, and frequently see many happy couples with their new charges.

New rules: Only people who have been married for at least two years will be eligible to adopt. China previously allowed adoptions by unmarried foreigners. Couples must have a body mass index — a measure of obesity — of no more than 40. Adopters must be aged 30-50, with people up to 55 considered for children with special needs. Parents who take medication for psychiatric conditions, including depression and anxiety, would be barred. Having a “severe facial deformity” would disqualify others. The rules go into effect for all applications submitted after May 1 and that those already in the adoption process should be exempt.

By Lonnie Hodge @ OMBW 

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