Is There a Child Waiting for You?: WACAP’s Partner Countries at a Glance

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Is Adoption Right for You?

Do you have questions about the children waiting for families or about the adoption process?

Right now, the need for adoptive parents is great, and currently, many WACAP partner countries are matching children with their families more quickly than we’ve seen in the past!

Here’s what we’re seeing today, plus some highlights about the countries we work with.

Korea

Child-and-Parent-Together-Hugging-Wearing-Blue-and-Orange-WACAP

  • Short wait times (currently we have just one family on our wait list!)
  • Babies 18 months old and younger at time of arrival home
  • All children cared for by experienced foster families rather than institutions

Thailand
Toddler-Playing-Overalls-and-Pink

  • Comparatively short wait time for eligible couples
  • Young children matched between 12 – 36 months old
  • Eligibility guidelines flexible for families open to adopting waiting children

India

  • Toddler-Smiling-Next-To-Stuffed-Animal-Orange-Print-Pillow-WACAPOver 1,300 children waiting for families
  • Sibling groups of all ages
  • Families open to children with medical concerns matched with young children very quickly

China

Child-Smiling-Open-Arms-Button-Down-Blue-Shirt-Yellow-Bowtie-WACAP

  • Families urgently needed for boys
  • Over 3,000 children, 8 months old to 13 years old, are waiting
  • Quick and predictable process

U.S. Foster to Adopt

Video-Chid-Smiling-Sharing-Story-WACAP

  • Washington families needed for children of all ages
  • Quick-moving process for families open to older children
  • For younger children, opportunities for foster care with hopes of adoption
  • Affordable option for families

Bulgaria

Parents-and-Children-Together-Suspension-Bridge-in-Background-WACAP

  • Many older children and older sibling groups need chance to thrive in a new family
  • Flexible requirements for adoptive parents
  • Grants of $1,500 – $3,600 available for many waiting children

Taiwan

Young-Child-in-White-Hat-on-Sunny-Day-WACAP

  • Children as young as 9 months up to 15 years
  • Skype meetings with your child
  • Shorter time required in country
  • Most children cared for in foster families rather than institutions

Haiti

Parents-Hug-Child-Outside-Foliage-WACAP

  • Young children who are considered healthy in need of adoptive families
  • Proximity to U.S. makes for easier travel
  • For single women hoping to adopt, no age restrictions on children

Want to Learn More?

Contact our Adoption Information Team

Meet Children Waiting for Families

 

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News Anchor Inspired to Share Her Personal Adoption Story

Just before the holidays, News Anchor Michelle Li — moved by the “A Family for Me” partnership between WACAP and KING 5 — was inspired to tell her personal adoption story.

In this video, she talks about what being adopted, and what finding her birth family has meant for her, sharing the feelings and connections that bring these worlds together.

Michelle Li on KING 5 news set sharing her adoption story

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WACAP Now: December Spotlights


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Karin on stage speaking at 2017 Children's Hope Auction; photo text:


WACAP Now - Update on Haiti Adoptions


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WACAP-Now-201712-Bear-With-You-TBRI-Eubanks-Post


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From Our Family: A Message from WACAP

WACAP logo with vision (

Happy Holiday and New Year’s wishes, from our family here at WACAP … to yours.

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“Bear With You”: Learning About Trust-Based, Relational Parenting

On his personal blog about adoption, fatherhood, and parenting, WACAP CEO Greg Eubanks reflects on mistakes made and lessons learned. Sharing one of his recent posts below, Greg talks about the difference that a trust-based, relational approach could have made … and what’s “better than being right.”


“Bear With You”

When I was a young parent, I thought I knew it all.

I was armed with the best information on parenting, and it was great stuff. I was going to parent with love and reason. To my brain, it all made sense. It was logical! There were explanations for things, and behaviors lead to consequences both good and bad. If there was a problem, I could identify it and propose a solution.

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The problem here was that my solutions never seemed to work. So, I felt like a failure. My children grew increasingly frustrated, and I’m sure they felt isolated and often labeled as troublemakers. We just couldn’t figure out a good way to climb out of our arguments, and that led to resentment. And that’s never good for relationships.

New Information

Here’s what I now know: Children from hard places have all experienced complex developmental trauma. And this changes their brain chemistry. Physiologically, biologically¸ they perceive threats at every turn. Their brain is hypervigilant, stuck in fight, flight or freeze. Can you imagine? Can you even begin to put yourself in that place where every day feels like your life is at risk?

This is no manipulative behavior. It’s survival. And, I’ll say again, it’s biological. When you are in survival mode, you can’t think rationally. So, surprise, consequences don’t work. At all. They actually end up verifying assumptions believed by our children: they are bad, they don’t have a voice, they are at risk, and adults can’t be trusted.

I regret that I didn’t know this before. I hate that I didn’t spend near enough time connecting with my children, because I was so focused on correcting them.

So, in the adoption world, we are now all about trauma-informed care. The sad truth is that relationship-based trauma is something experienced by every child of adoption, and it changes the brain. The hopeful news is that our brains can heal and develop new connections.

At WACAP, the agency where I work, we are training together to implement a new model with our families. It’s called Trust-Based Relational Interventions (TBRI®). Empower the body and environment for learning, Connect with your child, and give them a voice, a language for correcting problematic behaviors. Balance structure with nurture.

I’m trying to connect now.

It’s a complex thing, the impact that my personality had on the relationships I’ve developed with my children. And I’ve learned over the past several years that it is vital for us parents to understand our own attachments, our approach to life that we bring to the relationships we build with our children.

Me, I wanted to fix everything. Because I need to be good. I need to be right. I need to bring something of value to the table if I’m going to be worth anything. So, when I couldn’t fix the problems in my family, I was lost.

So now, I have a mantra: “It is better to be kind than right.” I work hard to just be with the people in my life and not try so hard to fix their problems, which – I’m sure – feels like I’m trying to fix them. As if they’re broken. They are not.

You know, when someone you love is hurting, it really sucks to stand by and watch it happen. But to say to them, “I’m here,” and just bear it along with them? That’s powerful. I’m here. I’m on your side. I’m sorry this is happening. I’m with you.


WACAP CEO at orphanage in Africa, children gather smilingAbout WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home. He blogs about his experience as a parent, and about lessons learned at https://millionmistakes.com.

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Eight Things To Do While You’re Waiting

Navigating the Holidays

winter-time-heart-formed-with-snowWaiting is hard, and the holidays can be especially difficult while you’re waiting for your child to come home.

In this post, WACAP families, parents and staff share their advice on how to manage the wait during the holidays.

We truly understand why the holidays can be a difficult time, and why a season that should be a joyful one, can sometimes feel full of despair, sadness, and frustration. In the midst of all the holiday activities, celebrating with family and friends, decorations and social gatherings … you’re quietly longing for your child to be home.

We hope these suggestions provide some comfort while you’re waiting.


1. Read, read, read.

Prepare by reading books (or taking webinars) on parenting and adoption.

List of Staff-Suggested Books:

Please explore these authors’ other books, as well.

2. Invest in your personal support network.

Spend time with your friends, your extended family, your significant other, etc. Invest in your friendships, especially since it will be harder to find that time once your child comes home. You’ll need strong friendships to get through the challenges.

If you are adopting with a spouse or partner, you’ll need a strong connection with each other as well, so the time you spend together, plus the foundations of friendships and community you build while you wait, will certainly help.

3. Watch movies about adoption, ask questions, and discuss.

Watch adoption and foster care related movies while you’re waiting. These movies can bring important questions to the surface, and help you start discussions with others in your family, your circle of friends, or with your case manager/social worker.

Consider having friends or family over to watch and talk about a movie together, and see below for some movies about adoption and foster care that WACAP staff recommend for watching and discussion:

Recommended Adoption and Foster Care Related Movies: To Watch and Discuss

4. Learn about your child’s background.

Learn about your child’s birth country/place of birth, the area’s history, cultural information, traditions important to your child, important events, etc.

If you’re adopting internationally, start researching the country’s customs and holidays during your wait and plan how to incorporate some of them into your family’s traditions and activities; this a great way to become more familiar with, and to honor your child’s culture.

One of our staff members recently adopted from India. During her wait, she and her husband practiced Indian cooking, went to Diwali celebrations, read about India’s history and watched Indian movies. They enjoyed having friends over for Bollywood nights, where they’d watch a movie and serve snacks from a local Indian bakery or grocery.

5. Build a lifebook. Start a scrapbook.

Lifebooks help bridge a child’s past, present and future. They give you a way to document, share, and celebrate your child’s history and story with your child. They include, important events in your child’s life, cultural information, accomplishments, memories, records, feelings, and much more.

If you’re adopting internationally, start gathering information about your child’s birth country – even before you travel! This can include general country information, a map, interesting facts, etc. You can start a journal that includes your feelings as you wait.

As you work on your child’s lifebook, prepare your pages with placeholders for pictures and other items that can be added later. Once your child has joined your family, you can continue to work on the book’s pages with your child, including the time leading up your adoption and before, traveling, your child’s thoughts, milestones, memories, and more. This book will be a treasure to your child!

6. Plan a get-away, a “night out,” a family adventure.

While you’re waiting, make sure to plan activities and time away. Take a mini-vacation, connect socially with others, go on outings with friends, or a date with your partner. Remember, you’ll have fewer occasions for these types of fun things for some time after your child comes home.

Make special plans with your family, considering that things won’t quite be the same again after the addition of a new family member. You’ll have limited opportunity to give your family the same, dedicated attention once your family grows, making your time together before the dynamic changes very precious.

7. Plan for language barriers and how to navigate them.

If you and your child speak different languages, learn simple words and phrases in the language your child speaks or understands, to help you both communicate and help your child feel comforted.

Create communication cards to help your child convey how they are feeling or what they need. Communication cards usually have a picture illustrating a feeling, and these various cards can help support communication between you and your child. For example, a card might help a child convey, “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired,” and help you know how to help your child, and ultimately help with the transition.

8. Get connected.

Attend a local support group of adoptive parents while you wait. Support groups provide a good opportunity to connect with local adoptive families and learn about their experience, as well as to develop a larger support network.

Follow adoption-related blogs for new perspectives and inspiration. Here are two!

Looking Ahead

We hope these suggestions will help navigate the holidays while you wait for news about your adoption and anticipate the child you’ll be welcoming into your family.

Wishing you the very best this holiday season, and in the new year ahead.


debbie-adoption-info-specialist

About Debbie: Debbie joined WACAP in September 2015 as our adoption information specialist, and she continues to build strong relationships with families every day. She’s committed to helping families understand and navigate their choices as they consider adoption, and is passionate about building community partnerships to support families and connect them with the resources they need.

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In the Moment: Finding Humor and Humility As Adoptive Parents

“In the Moment” With Adoptive Families

“After we adopted Rocco and Farrah, siblings at 2 and 3 years old, we looked at each other and said,

‘What are we going to do? Now they outnumber us!'”

–Tom Aaron Batterson, WACAP Adoptive Parent

outdoor photo collage of five kids with their parents

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Thankful

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We are thankful this year

… for each of you, for WACAP parents who say yes to children, and for the families we create every day.

… for our supporters, donors, staff, and volunteers, who give with such joy and change so many lives through their generosity.

… for parents like Karin, reminding us what a family’s love can do, and how it changes a child’s story.

… for WACAP adoptees like Aaron, who build connections and help us understand the adoption triad with their voice and passion.

… for families like Mike and Margie, creating a legacy of family built through foster care and adoption.

 

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Thankful the Adoption Tax Credit Is Recognized As Vital for Families

Today’s headlines are buzzing about the tax reform legislation passed by the House.[1] Inevitably, conversations will continue in Congress, as the Senate delves into the plan.

Part of the tax reform conversation, as you may have recently heard, has been about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit.

This credit was in jeopardy in proposed legislation, but because of advocacy efforts like yours, the Adoption Tax Credit was retained — in both the House and the Senate’s bills!

Adoption-Tax-Credit-News

Restored to the House version in an amendment last week, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) commented on the importance of the adoption tax credit for families that “want to provide a safe and loving home for a child.”

I know from personal experience that the adoption process can be expensive and time consuming, and ultimately, so rewarding.

And I know the adoption tax credit is important to many Members of our Committee, Republicans and Democrats – and we’ve had very thoughtful discussions about it over the past few days.

So, with this amendment, we’re proposing to preserve this credit – a priority led by Ms. Black, Mr. Kelly, and so many others. This will ensure that parents can continue to receive additional tax relief as they open their hearts and their homes to an adopted child.[2]

Knowing that the Adoption Tax Credit has been recognized as a priority for families is something we, at WACAP, are thankful for this week.

Thank you to the many individuals, organizations, advocates, and legislators who championed this effort, and to all those who shared their stories.

P.S. Did you send a letter or make a call to your Members of Congress?

Make sure to thank them for hearing you, and share your thanks on social media — they notice that, too! Here’s a list of Twitter handles for every Member of Congress (Word) (PDF)

You can easily announce the news by sharing the ATC Working Group’s Facebook post (of which WACAP is a member) and Twitter thread.

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[1] Press Release, Ways and Means Committee, November 16, 2017 – Tax Reform Legislation Passed

[2] Press Release, Ways and Means Committee, November 9, 2017 – Adoption Tax Credit Amendment

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Adopting From India: Q&A With Family Finders

Here, WACAP’s Family Finders Manager Jo Reed talks about adopting from India, the children, and getting help with the process.

An adoptive parent of two children, Jo understands why it’s important to ask questions when starting out, and why it’s also important to have someone there to answer them.

For those considering adoption from India, Jo has answered some of the frequent questions she hears, and offers help as new questions arise.  


Child home with adoptive family

Who are the children that need families? Can I adopt a healthy young child from India?

The children that need families in India range in age, from infants to children age 15.

  • If you have a citizenship tie to India, you can adopt a younger, healthy child. The Indian governmental agency that oversees adoptions designates children as healthy if they don’t have known medical or developmental needs.
  • If you don’t have an Indian citizenship tie, you can adopt a child age 6 or younger with medical needs, up to age 15. Or you can adopt a child, or siblings, age 7 or older without known medical/developmental needs.

Children with medical or developmental needs typically wait longer to be adopted, and they have wide range of medical needs, spanning from issues that are very mild and correctable to conditions requiring longer-term treatment or care.

India’s central adoption agency has created an online listing of the children who are waiting in orphanages. This listing gives agencies like WACAP access to the children’s information, so they can be matched with the adoptive family that’s right for them.

When it comes to considering medical or developmental needs, do I need to be open to everything?

WACAP staff won’t ask you to consider adopting a child you’re not open to … or who has needs you’re not comfortable with.

However, we will talk with you extensively about the types of needs you do (or could) feel prepared for. We’ll recommend research you can do. We can talk with you about the types of needs that many adoptive families tend to be more open to. And we’ll reassure you that everyone has different levels of comfort with different types of needs.

Through our conversations, we can learn more about what is possible for your family, and we can refer you to other families who’ve adopted children with the types of needs you may be considering, or that you have questions about.

But here’s the bottom line: We want to help you adopt a child whose needs you feel equipped and prepared to care for. And we are here to have those conversations with you.

What if I want to adopt a healthy school-age child?

Many school age children considered healthy need adoptive families.

There are also children up to age 15 with medical and developmental needs who need families.

Child home with adoptive family

I’m considering adopting a child with “special needs” from India. What are some medical or developmental needs I might expect to see?

Families considering adopting a waiting child are often open to children with medical concerns in these categories:

  • Surgically correctable conditions that might be heart conditions, cleft lip and palate, operable cataracts, club feet, hernia, etc.
  • Treatable conditions like some skin conditions, anemia, tuberculosis, HIV+, asthma, diabetes, hypospadias, some vision, hearing, and speech concerns, dental issues, seizure disorders, ADHD, etc.
  • Stable conditions (that don’t get worse) such as limb differences, mild cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, scarring or birthmarks.

As we talk with you, we’ll encourage you to research the different types of needs that we see in children and have thoughtful conversations with your family, your doctors, other parents, and your social worker to help you determine what will be manageable for you.

Throughout the process, you’ll be able to learn more about the care involved, prepare, and find out about support and resources that can help you after your child comes home. With ongoing preparation and conversations in advance of adopting, you’ll be able to feel more confident about parenting your child.

What if I find that I’m not comfortable with the needs the children have?

That’s okay! We can talk with you about the other countries where we work and see if there’s an option that works well for you.

We’ll share more about our other countries’ adoption requirements that may fit your family’s needs, share about the children, and discuss what might work best for your family.

You’re welcome to contact us at wacap@wacap.org, and we can schedule a time to talk that works for you.

Child home with adoptive family

I’ve seen photos or movies (such as “Lion”), where children in India are shown in crowded orphanages. How accurate is that?

With hundreds of orphanages throughout India that are licensed to refer children for international adoption, orphanage size and resources can vary widely.

However, there are more caregivers to the number of children (one caregiver for every 3-5 children). This is one of the better orphanage caregiver-to-child ratios of the countries where WACAP works.

While orphanages’ resources do vary, the children are likely to have more contact with caregivers, and have those interactions more regularly.

We’ll make sure to share all we can with you about your child’s orphanage and the quality of care.

Can I adopt two unrelated children from India?

No; the Indian government does not does not allow the simultaneous adoption of unrelated children.

How old are the children in need of adoption?

Infants to children age 15 need families.

Because of the time involved in going through the formal adoption process, paperwork, India’s court process, travel, etc., even the youngest children will be toddlers or older by the time they come home, so we ask families adopting very young children to be open to children age 24 months.

Why aren’t the children adopted by families in India? Or are they?  

Yes, many children are adopted in India by families who live there. Most often, the children adopted by families in India are young, healthy infants.

The majority of Indian children in need of adoption, but who are not adopted in their country of birth, have medical needs, are older, or are part of a group of older siblings.

Child home with adoptive family

Can I adopt siblings from India?

Yes. Typically, the siblings in need of adoption are school-age.  Many of the siblings groups we see are pairs of two, and they need a family to adopt them together.

We have sometimes seen larger groups of siblings — up to as many as five — that need families. 

What if my family can’t adopt all of the children in a sibling group?

India only refers siblings for adoption together, and WACAP agrees that keeping siblings together is in the best interest of the children.

How can I trust that the adoption is ethical?

There have been major changes in India as the government has become a Hague country, and as the Indian government has reviewed and overhauled its adoption laws and process.

The Indian government agency that oversees adoption (CARA) ensures these laws and processes are followed and understood by the orphanages and courts across India so that adoptions are done ethically. That includes CARA overseeing and ensuring that the process has been followed regarding a child’s background and the child being legally able for adoption.

I’m starting my homestudy to adopt internationally, but what if I’m not positive I’ll be adopting from India?

You can still start your international homestudy, and begin gathering the necessary documents, without making a final decision on the country you’ll be adopting from.

However, you will need to decide on the country you’re adopting with before the homestudy can be completed, as all international homestudies are country-specific.

In the meantime, though, we’ll help you with your questions as you work on the paperwork and collecting the documents you need. You can also contact us at familyfinders@wacap.org if you’d like to talk about your options and learn more about the children waiting for families in the countries where we work.

Child home with adoptive family

What’s one of the most important things I need to know about adopting from India?

A child can only be matched with your family once your homestudy is completed, which means … the child or children that you’re going to adopt from India will become known to you after your homestudy is completed.

There are no photos/profiles of waiting children from India on WACAP’s Waiting Child webpage (because of India’s posting requirements), but you are welcome to request a listing of the children by emailing us at familyfinders@wacap.org.

If you’re hoping to adopt a very young child with manageable or correctable needs, you won’t see that child’s file on the list of children we’re advocating for — because they’re matched right away with families whose homestudies are completed.

Visit WACAP’s website to learn more about adopting from India, and let our Family Finders staff know how we can help answer your questions.

Child home with adoptive family


Jo Reed of WACAP's Family Finders Team smilesAbout WACAP’s Family Finders Program Manager, Jo Reed: Jo came to WACAP in 2004 and with her, an unyielding commitment to bringing children and families together. An adoptive parent of two girls herself, Jo is also a daily advocate for every child growing up without permanency. Through her work with WACAP’s Family Finders, she has helped share the stories of thousands of children who needed advocates and a family.

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