Hong Kong Waiting Child Program

Nightlight began a partnership with Po Leung Kuk (a social service organization in Hong Kong) to place orphaned children into loving homes in 2011. Our partnership with International Social Services (ISS) has been in place since 2017. We work directly with these two social welfare institutes who are approved by the Central Authority of Hong Kong to conduct inter-country adoption. Hong Kong/China is a party to The Hague convention as well.

All children adopted from Hong Kong are considered to have special placement needs. PLK and ISS make available a list to Nightlight of waiting children. This program is unique because prospective adoptive families receive a great deal of information about the child they are considering including: medical reports from the time the child entered care; educational reports; social history; and as much information about the birth family as has been recorded. When a family expresses an interest in adopting a specific child, they make application with either PLK or ISS, the social welfare institute currently responsible for matching that child.


Children from 1 year to 15 years of age with special placement needs are available for adoption. Special placement needs may include medical health needs, mental health needs, or birth family issues. Some waiting children have moderate to severe special needs such as Thalassemia or down syndrome, and some older children are available who have no apparent medical problems. To view waiting children from Hong Kong, please contact our office.


Hong Kong’s eligibility requirements include married couples must be at least 25 years of age. The age difference between adopter and adoptee will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must be married at least 3 years. When it is a second marriage, applicants must be married for at least 5 years. Singles may also adopt from Hong Kong but must have sufficient child care experience and a strong support network. Applicants needs to be in good physical health and have a stable income.


Families submit an application, home study, and dossier to Hong Kong. Once the documents are received and reviewed, the Hong Kong Central Authority through the approved social welfare institute sends the family a referral of a child meeting the family’s specifications. The screening and referral process takes about 8 to 12 weeks, as long as a child is available that meets the family’s criteria. If a family has pre-identified a waiting child, they will receive that child’s full referral upon submitting their application. The Hong Kong Central Authority will review the family’s documents and provide an official match. This can take 6-10 months. The family will then complete official referral review with Nightlight’s Social Services Department. Once the match is accepted by the family, the legal procedures in Hong Kong take approximately 8 weeks and the family is granted guardianship by the court in Hong Kong. Your family will then process the I-800 with immigration here in the US and upon approval of your I-800, either PLK or ISS will apply for the visa and passport for the child. The visa is granted prior to the family traveling to Hong Kong so time spent in Hong Kong can be spent simply bonding with your child. The entire adoption process from Hong Kong generally takes about 18 months.


Both prospective adoptive parents are required to travel to Hong Kong to accept placement of the child. Time in country is approximately 7 days though this time may vary slightly. Families receive guardianship orders from the Hong Kong court and then finalize their adoption in the US upon return. Travel to Hong Kong is comfortable for most families as Hong Kong has many of the modern conveniences we have here in the US and because the city is trilingual speaking English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

For more information regarding this program, please call to speak with one of our experts at 859-263-9964 or click here to download the full country information sheet.