Adoption systems in many countries have been hit hard as social distancing restrictions meant the closure of courtrooms and clinics, while travel bans have made connecting with a surrogate or transferring a child between households far more difficult.
Most international adoptions have been put on hold after countries closed their borders and canceled visa applications, according to agencies who spoke to CNN.
Dwight Burton and Monik Kadarmanto, who live near Portland, in the US state of Oregon, began the adoption process in September 2018, and were matched with a three-year-old boy living at an orphanage in China just before Christmas.
The couple applied to US immigration in early January for final approval to fly to Changchun, in Jilin province, northeast China. Several weeks later, just as they were expecting it to come through, their adoption agency canceled travel to China, and the US State Department issued advice against travel there.
The Chinese government has now closed its borders to prevent further waves of coronavirus and the couple is in limbo, waiting for news on when they may be able to bring their adopted son home. They say it has been hard to get updates on him, with the orphanage in lockdown without administrative staff.
"There's so much uncertainty and I think that's the toughest part about all of this," said Kadarmanto, 40. "There's nothing easy about adoption, there's a lot of just every step, you know, kind of not getting our hopes up too much."
She said the couple was "doing fine" but some days brought "a lot of heavy emotions. We just really want to be with him."