Families adopting from China fear process slowed by Wuhan coronavirus

John McDevitt
February 07, 2020 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The new coronavirus outbreak and the ban on travel to China are affecting child adoptions. 

Holt International Children’s Services oversees hundreds of adoptions a year, and it's largest program involves matching Chinese children with American families, including in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The organization placed 130 children in the U.S. from China last year.

"We just hope that this ban will be lifted soon and we can move forward," said Susan Soonkeum Cox, vice president of policy and external affairs for Holt International.

With the outbreak, traveling with the program is on hold for now. 

"This is something we are monitoring in an ongoing way. And even overnight just because of the time difference with our staff on the ground, so we are grateful for the fact that we are able to communicate pretty directly," she added. 

She says the travel ban has children staying put in institutions. But since the adoption process takes about two years, home study and getting paper work ready continues for potential adopting parents.

"So you can imagine families who are in the process of adopting from China are very aware, very concerned as we all are, but they are also reassured to know that there have been a lot of precautions that have been taken to care for the children in the institutions in China and while that certainty doesn't take away the worry, it does provide comfort," she added.