Top Ten Factors to Consider When Adopting from Taiwan

adopting from Taiwan

1. The Parents

Prospective parents must be 25 to 50 years old. Each parent must be at least 20 years older than the child. If one of the adoptive parents is between 50 and 55 years, the family needs to be open to adopting a child (or children) at least 5 years or older, but in some cases, at least 7 years or older, or a child with moderate/severe special needs. Couples must adopt jointly. Although no law prohibits LBTQ+ persons from adopting, Taiwan does not place children for adoption with same-sex couples. Single parents are not permitted to adopt from Taiwan currently.

Couples must be married for at least two years and, in some cases, at least five years, with no more than one divorce each in their history. (Your agency will give guidance on these cases.) Prospective parents must have no criminal record interfering with their ability to parent an adoptive child (such as child abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence).

The Taiwan program requires that prospective parents be in good physical health, with no record of drug or alcohol abuse. Parents with a history of mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc.) will be considered case-by-case basis. Prospective parents must provide evidence that their combined annual income is at least $80,000, and their net worth must also be at least $80,000.

2. The Family

You can have no more than three children living in the home if you desire to adopt a child from Taiwan. The Waiting Child program will consider families willing to accept a referral for an older or more medically complex child. There are no restrictions on the age of children in the home or gaps in age between children.

3. The Kids

In addition to meeting the USCIS requirements that prove a child’s status as an orphan, Taiwan requires proof of relinquishment or abandonment by the child’s birth parents if they are still living. Prospective parents are generally unable to adopt a child known to be a relation by blood or marriage.

Taiwan has an excellent social welfare system and tries to reunite children with birth families or place them with adoptive Taiwanese families. Taiwan’s Waiting Child program is for children with identified needs. The standard program (where birth parents get matched with hopeful adoptive parents) is not consistently available and always involves a longer wait than the Waiting Child program. If you are only interested in the standard program, please contact your chosen adoption service provider (ASP) for current availability and requirements.

In the Waiting Child program, both genders are available for adoption from Taiwan, with boys more commonly referred for international adoption. In 2022, almost 59% of the children placed were boys, and 41% were girls. The children in the waiting child program range from two years up to 15 years old, with varying levels of special needs.

It is essential to expect every child to have some developmental delay and a complicated birth family history. Typically, they enter care due to neglect, abuse, abandonment, and other complications in their birth family that prevent appropriate care. You can read more detailed information about The Needs below.

The youngest children placed for international adoption from Taiwan are typically between 3 and 5 years old. However, there are many older kids also waiting for a match. Sibling groups are available. The child welfare ministry often places the children in specialized care or with foster families while they wait for adoptive placements.

4. The Process

Taiwan’s social welfare programs are robust and keep detailed, accurate records of the children in their care. Further, they are committed to adhering to the child profile information prospective parents outline in their home study and dossier. Prospective parents can expect referrals to reflect what they submit for consideration in that profile.

Taiwan is NOT a party to the Hague Convention. We recommend choosing an adoption service provider with a long-time, reputable Taiwan adoption program. You will begin the adoption home study process once you have applied and are approved to work with your chosen agency. The home study will include (both agency- and country-) required training, interviews, and home visits.

Upon completing the home study, you apply for approval to immigrate the child you will be adopting to the US (Form I-600A) from USCIS, along with your home study and supporting documentation. While waiting for I-600A approval, you can gather your Preliminary Packet, which includes the approved application, home study report, and family photos.

When the child welfare institute notifies your agency of a match for your family, you will receive the child’s social and medical history and sometimes pictures. Once you accept the referral, you can complete the dossier preparation. Your adoption service provider (ASP) reviews, authenticates, and translates the dossier. They send it to the child welfare foundation that referred your child, who then submits your dossier and the child’s documentation to the Taiwan court for additional processing.

The court process can take about six months and consists of three proceedings: one hearing and two rulings in which parental rights are terminated. The judge can decide if the adoptive parents (one or both) must be present for this final court proceeding. The trip is usually less than a week if you are required to attend. You become the child’s legal parents once the birth parents’ rights are terminated. At this point, you and your spouse will be invited to travel to unite with your child.

As with any international adoption, many factors impact the length of the adoption process. If you are waiting for an older child with complex identified needs or one who is part of a sibling group, your wait will be approximately 18-24 months from application to placement. Prospective parents with narrow criteria regarding milder needs, younger children, etc., will wait longer. Conversely, if you are open to a child older than five years, your wait for a referral will be shorter.

5. The Travel

The trip to meet and take placement of your new child typically lasts about seven days. Some families adopting older kids might stay longer to ease into attachment. This program does require both parents to travel. Ask your adoption service provider for details about itineraries, travel groups, and guides in-country.

6. The Program

The Waiting Child program is small but stable. There were 68 adoptions in 2022, 48 in 2021, 42 in 2020, and 43 in 2019.      

7. The Cost

Taiwan is not a Hague-convention nation, so no Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Fee is documented in the State Department’s FYE 2022 Annual Report. Estimates researched range from $25,000 to $40,000, not including travel expenses. Sibling groups typically require additional costs for processing.

8. The Needs

Older children in the Taiwan program (ages five years and up) are often considered “special needs” simply because of their age. Examples of needs commonly seen in the Taiwan program (across all ages) include but are not limited to vision or hearing impairments, limb differences, cleft lip and palate, heart conditions, Hepatitis B, prenatal exposure, family history of mental illness, or developmental delays.

Children who experience trauma and loss may also experience special needs like developmental delays, ADHD, and short- and long-term impacts from premature birth or prenatal exposure.

9. The Post-Adoption Reports

The Taiwan program requires adoptive parents to complete post-adoption reports for 7-10 years after adoption. A social worker will complete three of these reports; the remainder will be self-reports completed by the adoptive family. Your adoption service provider (ASP) must provide a licensed social worker to interview parents and children in person. The Taiwan adoption entity receives the completed report from your ASP.

Creating a Family always urges families to comply with post-adoption requirements on time. Your cooperation contributes to the program’s stability and supports Taiwan’s history of positive experiences with US-citizen parents.

10. The Additional Resources

This information is current as of September 2023 and represents our best estimates and approximations only. Depending upon your individual circumstances, even the widest ranges can vary greatly. Please always refer to your chosen adoption service provider (ASP) for specifics regarding your process.

This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an agency approved to place from this country for the most current information.

© Creating a Family

Image Credits:Te Ta; Anna Tarazevich