By Kristina Rex

BOSTON (CBS) – The quick spread of coronavirus in China is creating major travel restrictions around the world — and that’s affecting growing families here at home.

The company Wide Horizons for Children, based in Waltham, has two local families who are in the process of adopting toddlers from China, and as a result of the virus outbreak, those adoptions have been delayed indefinitely.

“The situation is changing hour by hour, and so we’re constantly in contact with our staff and folks on the ground [in China],” said Program Manager Kim Bernstein.

One family was physically on its way to adopt its toddler in China when it was turned around and sent back to the U.S. Another family has had its trip delayed altogether. The provinces in which the families, who for now which to remain anonymous, are adopting their children in are temporarily delaying the adoption process because of the outbreak.

China Program Manager Jennifer Doane said the families are “very disappointed…and worried” because the timeline is now unclear. “You don’t know whether this is a two week delay, or a two month delay,” she said. “You just don’t know.”

The adoption process is already very long, taking from months to even years. From the point a family receives a picture of the child they will be adopting, “it usually takes them about four to six months to travel to China,” according to WHFC Program Manager Kim Bernstein. “And then when they’re in China, that’s when they actually complete the adoption and the U.S. paperwork to bring the child home.”

Having that process be delayed can take an emotional toll on families, she said, adding, “these families have a photo of a child that they’ve been thinking or dreaming out for six months who they think of their son or daughter.”

Not knowing when the adoption can be complete is what weighs on families. “They don’t want their child to stay in an orphanage one day longer than they need to,” Bernstein explained.

Wide Horizons managers say they’re confident the Chinese adoption officials will honor the planned adoptions. It’s just a matter of finding out when families will be allowed to travel and adopt.

Kristina Rex


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