This week of Valentines, with its pink lacy hearts, chocolates, and focus on love, is an appropriate week to also be the Week of the Waiting Child. In honor of this Week of the Waiting Child, Creating a Family is pleased as punch to announce the launch our new and improved Waiting Child Center. (more about that later)
Who are these children who wait?
US Waiting Kids
According to the latest statistics, 111,820 children are waiting to be adopted in the US. These are children whose parental rights have already been terminated. Who are these kiddos?
They are kids who live in every state in the US; they are kids who like World Wide Wrestling, reading, soccer, church youth group, and milk shakes with sprinkles; they are girls and boys and black and white. They tend to be older (average age is 7.6 years), white (46%), and about evenly divided between girls and boys. They also tend to be in sibling groups of 2 or more.
How to Find Waiting Kids in America
Contact Your Local Child Welfare Agency
Your first stop should be your local child welfare agency and/or a private agency that has a contract in your state to place kids from foster care. They can tell you what kids or type of kids are currently available to be adopted in your country and explain the process.
Often it is best for kids to remain within their county or community so that they don’t lose contact with siblings, friends, and extended family. Generally caseworkers prefer to find local families for their waiting children, and it is also less expensive for the country to place children locally because they travel less, thus saving money and caseworker time. Creating a Family has a great multimedia guide with information on how to choose a foster care adoption agency.
All states have a state photolisting of harder to place waiting children. If caseworkers are not able to find a family locally they may place picture and information about these kids on the state photolist. Most of these photolistings allow you to search by age, gender, and disability. http://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/search-for-children/state-photolists If you find a child or sibling group that you think might be a good fit for your family, you must contact the child’s caseworker to get more information and start the process.
Adopt US Kids
The AdoptUSKids website lists harder to place kids from across the US. You can search by gender, number of kids you would accept, age, and race. http://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/search-for-children/search You then send an email directly to the child’s caseworker for more information. Most of the kids listed on AdoptUSKids are older, or have more significant special needs, or are a part of a sibling group. They are also the kiddos that have been waiting the longest and are in the most need of a forever family.
International Waiting Children
We hear a lot of numbers thrown around about the number of waiting children (or “orphans”) in the world. The most common number you will see is 132 million, which comes from UNICEF and includes both single orphans (a child with only one living parent) and double orphans (a child with no living parent). The vast majority of these children, even the 13 million that are double orphans, are living with extended family or friends. Believe it or not, it is not clear whether the 132 million includes kids living in orphanages (estimated to be in the 7-8 million range).
The 132 million number is misleading if you read it to mean that there are 132 million children waiting to be adopted internationally. Even the majority of the 7 to 8 million kids living in orphanages are not eligible for international adoption. But, although we may not know the exact number, we do know that there are many many children that are available for adoption. Most of these children are over the age of 4 and most have some type of special need.
How to Find International Waiting Children
International Adoption Agencies
You must work with an agency in order to adopt internationally and most international adoption agencies list their available waiting kids on their website. You will have to create a login to view the info on these children because most countries do not allow information to be shared on their children unless it is password protected. All the international adoption agencies that partner with Creating a Family have available waiting children. You can get to their websites from our Professional Directory. [LINK]
Photolisting or Special Need Websites
Rainbow Kids is large photolisting site for international waiting kids. [LINK] They also have a great section giving detailed information on the more common special needs. No Hands But Ours is another great site that has a good description of common special needs, as well as blogs of families that have adopted a child with than need, and a list of resources.
Some special need advocacy groups also have photolistings for international (and US) waiting kids with that special need.
Creating a Family’s Waiting Child Center
Drumroll please!! Creating a Family is so pleased to announce that we have redesigned our Waiting Child Center [LINK]and are launching it this week. We have worked in partnership with Cairs Solution, [LINK]with Cairs doing the heavy design lifting. You can search by country, gender, type of special need, and age. Currently we only have international kids, but we hope to be adding US waiting kids soon. Please check it out and let us know what you think.