Forty Years Ago and Today, “Giving Tuesday”

Two parents look happily at their son; part of a graphic inviting others to join WACAP in giving children the hope of a family through a donation on Giving Tuesday.40 years ago a group of adoptive families began meeting in living rooms and around kitchen tables. They traded stories, offered support to one another, and talked about what could be done to help the children who continued to wait for the love and stability they needed. Out of these conversations, WACAP was born.

Over the next 40 years, we went from placing sisters from U.S. foster care with an adoptive family, to working with children in need from Korea, India, Colombia and a dozen other countries. We delivered medical supplies, food, and education to over 200,000 children around the world. We started finding families for children with special needs from China and partnering with our local NBC affiliate and community to find families for children in U.S. foster care. It’s been an adventure every step of the way, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Now, as Giving Tuesday rolls around and we near the end of our 40th year (and counting), we’re looking back at what we’ve accomplished. 11,500 children have come home to WACAP families. That’s 11,500 lives changed forever. We can’t wait to see whose lives we touch over the next 40 years. Children are still waiting, and once again we’re calling on our families, friends and supporters to help.

Celebrate Giving Tuesday with a celebratory gift to WACAP!

Your gift will be used to help us travel to meet children in need, prepare materials necessary for their adoption, find their families, and bring them home. Let’s meet the next 11,500 WACAP families, and let’s do it together.

Blue donation button

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“Adoption is a ‘second birth'”

Daniel was born in China in 1996, and was nearly 6 years old when his parents, Pam and Thomas, adopted him through WACAP. Now 20 years old, Daniel looks back at where his story began. Although his journey has not been without questions, he has always had friends and family along the way, reminding him about unconditional love and what home means.
Thank you, Daniel, for sharing your story.

Day of adoption; child between his parents in ChinaA common conversation starter for college students is our diverse backgrounds. When people ask me about my cultural heritage, my conversations goes something like this:

“I was adopted from China.”

“You were adopted? That’s so cool! What is that like?”

This reaction never fails to amuse me. I don’t really see anything particularly cool about being adopted. That would be like me telling a non-adoptee, “Wow, you were born? That’s really cool, what’s that like?”

The origins of an adoptee and non-adoptee are more or less the same. None of us get to choose our starting lines, or the families that we are born into.

To me, being selected for adoption is like a “second birth.” I didn’t choose the adoptee life; my family quite literally chose me.

Although I stand behind the same starting line as everyone else, I can tell you that my journey isn’t the same. And it is only fitting I share my story with you now, as November is National Adoption Month.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to never have to see color. Having a diverse group of friends was normal for me, and I was never aware of any negative or complicated implications regarding race toward me or anyone else I knew.

I never felt different because my family is white. Everyone I went to school with knew I was adopted, but I never felt ostracized or discriminated against because of it.

It wasn’t until I went back to China to adopt my little sister, who is not biologically related to me, that I started to notice and view the world in its true, complex spectrum of colors.

The people in China would look on with interest or confusion as they saw a Chinese boy joyfully and casually walking alongside two white people. It was because I was a foreigner, since it felt more like a vacation to me than some epiphany where I was returning to the motherland, “my home.”

I wasn’t really “Chinese” to feel a connection to my country other than birthright because my upbringing in America molded me into an Asian-American. The battle of my duality was further exacerbated when I went to a predominantly Asian and white high school.

I wasn’t “Asian” enough to perfectly fit in with the Asian crowd, and I was only white in culture, but not in color. Being an adoptee made me a different brand of Asian-American than my peers. I was on a balancing beam, and I could never fall to one side or the other. I would always be somewhere in between.

All I wanted was to relate to my Asian-American peers.

I longed to feel like I understood all the jokes about growing up Asian.

I remember I asked an Asian friend of mine to have her mom make me fried rice so I could know what an Asian childhood tasted like.

At that point, I actively tried to seek out people that looked like me.

I would go to lengths to befriend other Asians and try to dub them a surrogate family of sorts, even calling some of them “big sister” or some other familial title.

It was through them that I could feel some sort of artificial kinship and slightly satiate the curiosity of what it might have been like to have Asian siblings back in China.

Wondering about those “what if’s” does not consume me, but it persists now and then.

When I look in the mirror and try to piece together if I had my birth mother’s eyes or if the gray streaks that run through my hair are because of my birth father, I’ll never know.

It is bittersweet knowing the closest thing I have to knowing anything about my birth parents is myself, but I am not making it a lifelong mission to find them, and I’ve accepted the fact I may never get answers to questions I have.

One rewarding thing about being adopted is finding other adoptees. We often become quick kindred spirits with one another. They are a rare coalition of people that can fundamentally understand me in ways nobody else can.

But it doesn’t always take an adoptee or adoptee family to understand the notion of unconditional love.

One of my biggest role models and a “big sister,” Riyanka, gave me a surprise t-shirt as a gift before she graduated high school. The shirt read that “family is more than blood.”

I am a living embodiment of this quote. Blood is something that can be diluted, but love can’t. That is where family stems from — an unconditional love and acceptance from the people that happen to enter your life.

I am fortunate enough to know that love in limitless capacity.

To my adoptee family: mom, dad, Ty, Meg, Mark and Lola, I love you all and am thankful for each of you. This is something I never express enough.

To my birth parents who have made the biggest sacrifice of not getting to watch your child grow up: I carry the burden of not ever being able to thank you or tell you that I am living a happy life.

To anyone I have ever called “family:” know that I love you too, and you have also played a part in my understanding of who I am.

When people ask me where my home is, I respond with home is wherever my precious people are. Being adopted, I don’t place much value in one geographical location; rather, I find home with the people that love me.

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Shining a Light on Adoption: “The Capacity for Love”

photo of lightbulb with spotlight and light reflections, some in shape of heartsSaturday, November, 19 is National Adoption Day. It’s a day that shines a light on adoption, celebrates the children and teens who now have a permanent family, and raises awareness for the children in state foster care across the U.S. still waiting for a family.  

On this day, WACAP — joined by hundreds of friends and supporters at our Ruby Gala and Auction — will be celebrating 40 years of helping children in state foster care find the stability, love and permanency of family.

Below, a member of WACAP’s US Kids staff, offers his thoughts about National Adoption Month, and what we need to remember on this day.

National Adoption Month is instrumental in bringing to our hearts and our minds the needs of children looking for a family. This year’s particular focus on adolescents helps remind us as well that you never outgrow the need for support. While this is most assuredly a heartening message to see go out, the fact remains that such an ephemeral spotlight cannot ably highlight the needs of these teens. They need stability every day, and a family for life.

As WACAP’s foster care licensor, I support families adopting a child from state foster care, helping them through the process of becoming foster care licensed in their home state. I have the dual role of assisting foster/adoptive parents not only to attain, but also adapt their licenses as they grow to see their abilities match the needs of a greater demographic of waiting children and adolescents. Families frequently find that once they get past the paperwork, the process is not nearly as frightening as they might once have thought, and these same families come to feel they may be open to a child older than they may once have considered. I love seeing families expand their horizons, and—working with our case managers—I am happy to adjust the licenses to grow alongside the families.

I receive numerous daily announcements of teens needing placements and looking for families of their own. Monthly consortiums with state social workers and staffing meetings also highlight teens hoping to become part of a stable home. While there are dozens of families in our program, only a scant handful are open to teens, and the number tapers off as the age goes up. However, families who may never have considered older children often find themselves drawn to a profile for one reason or another, and learn that while a teen or adolescent may not have been what they were expecting, the capacity for love is every bit as great.

A final point we can remember today is that a child’s simply being on the verge of adulthood does not mean that child is ready to leave the foster/adopt system. Children of all ages need support and security to help them thrive, and many people may not realize that even legal adults can and do get adopted! Adolescent and adult adoptees may have a more extensive backstory before you came into their lives, but it does not make them any less a part of the family. Nor any less in need of one.

Grayscale Photo of WACAP Foster Care Licensor, US Kids ProgramAbout WACAP’s US Kids’ Foster Care Licensor, Logan Bussey: Logan joined WACAP in the spring of 2016, a “proud US Kids program licensor since Star Wars Day (May 4th) 2016,” he notes. Before joining WACAP’s staff, Logan earned his M.A. in psychology and spent two years in the social work sector. Working with families to become foster care licensed in their state, Logan is looking forward to the impact he can make in his role – and how he can help the children and teens in state care find the permanency they need.

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Proposed Changes to Intercountry Adoption Rules by the U.S. Department of State

Most of us agree on the major things. It’s the details that often trip us.  Such is the case with recently proposed regulatory amendments for the Intercountry Adoption process by the U.S. Department of State, the central authority for adoption in the United States.  Here’s what we know:

  • Everyone agrees that children should remain with biological family members when possible.
  • Everyone agrees that children should remain within their culture and country of origin when possible, through domestic adoption options.
  • And, most everyone agrees that when these two things cannot happen safely, intercountry adoption can be a valuable method for connecting children with a permanent, loving family in which to grow, thrive and reach their greatest potential.

How these ideals are achieved, however, is a different question, and there are plenty of opinions. Which brings us back to the Department of State’s proposals, consisting of twenty-two pages of fine-print details on how to achieve the above goals.  Some of the most provocative additions include increased training requirements for prospective adoptive parents, amplified regulatory oversight at a country-specific level, guidelines to assess and disclose fees, and obligations for supervision of foreign entities providing adoption services.
WACAP graphic showing people connecting with the words
Many are concerned that these might have the unintended consequence of further slowing the adoption process for children. Thankfully, the Department of State has invited comments from agencies, organizations and individuals in response to the draft regulations and has extended the deadline for commenting through November 22nd.  WACAP has been carefully reviewing the proposed changes and will be providing thoughtful and constructive feedback, item by item. Some, we welcome.  Others, we strongly oppose.

If you desire to engage with our governmental agencies on intercountry adoption issues, we offer some possible options:

And, since November is National Adoption Month, we encourage you to share your WACAP adoption stories, and shed light on the following facts:

  1. The vast majority of intercountry adoptions occurring are very successful.  See some of these faces here.
  2. Today, however, children continue to wait for families with no option for reunification or domestic adoption in their country of origin. They need us to act now!

These children, like those in U.S. foster care, are the motivation behind WACAP’s energy and passion. Our desire is to find permanent, safe, loving, and skilled parents for them.  We change the world by changing their world, connecting each child with a family in which they can celebrate their unique history and culture while discovering the promise of a brighter future.  Find out more about adopting.  Maybe they are waiting for 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.

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Strong Families

Last year, when WACAP leadership re-evaluated our mission statement, we decided to take a stand, and declared our intention to offer lifelong support after adoption. Questions were asked, “Do we really mean it?”

We do.

As we’ve mentioned previously, the vast majority of children adopted through WACAP’s work bring with them individual needs. They have lived life and are older, some have siblings, many have medical diagnoses, and others have developmental delays. All bring to their new adoptive families, unfortunately, a significant trauma history. These families, and their adopted children and teenagers will need our support if they are to remain strong.

Adoption is to be celebrated, but these children aren’t lucky. They’ve experienced profound trauma and loss. Neither are adoptive parents saviors. We just love our children and want the best for them. We make mistakes and we keep loving, anyway.

Our desire at WACAP is to stand with families striving to love each other each day, and serve as a lifeline for families and adopted persons who experience our shared struggles. We want to connect those who walk along the same path. Our hope is to provide resources, and a listening ear.

pie chart showing wacap post adoption statisticsTo do that, we gather families online, via facebook to offer support from a social worker, and from each other. We offer regular support groups in Western Washington. We listen to families and adoptees over the phone (at 1-800-732-1887) as they tell their stories and seek assistance. We offer training and connect families to local professional practitioners who are adoption competent. We help adult adopted persons search for birth family information. And, in those rare instances when it is no longer healthy or safe for a child to remain with their original adoptive families, we walk families through the dissolution process and search for a subsequent family to adopt their child, equipped to meet very specific needs. The commitment of these original adoptive families remains steadfast, as they work with a licensed agency to find the best possible second family for their child. As each family member grieves, WACAP remains connected with them.

Launching a conversation about the dissolution of adoptions is a challenging one. But we must honestly acknowledge that an adoptive family’s commitment to a child may require helping their child transition out of their home. It’s heartbreaking, and it is rare. Though data on dissolution rates is often difficult to obtain, some U.S. studies allude to dissolution rates as high as 5%.† At WACAP, the rate of reported dissolutions for the past 15 years is 1.6%.‡ We attribute our success to our unwavering commitment to educating our prospective adoptive families and providing them with all available information about the children they are adopting. We believe that by vetting, preparing, and fully informing our families, we minimize some of the risks inherent to adoption that lead to dissolution.

There are times, however, when it is in everyone’s best interest to seek a second adoptive family. WACAP remains committed to helping find, evaluate and prepare those subsequent families to welcome these children and youth into their homes. The alternative leaves families to navigate dissolutions alone. Called rehoming, this practice places children at risk of abuse or neglect by well intended but ill-prepared families or, worse, by predators who seek access to children through this avenue.

No one should struggle in silence. Help is available. Needing help is normal, and seeking support is laudable. Without judgment, WACAP staff is ready to respond when families and adoptees need us. Our donors make it possible for us to offers such supports with minimal, if any, cost to those who are often in crisis. We thank those supporters, and with outstretched hands, stand ready to respond when needed.
‡ 68 of 4,145 adoptions between October 1, 2001 and October 1, 2016

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.

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Adversity and Triumph and Honesty

There is power in story. There is beauty in story. The children I know who come from hard places have incredible, inspiring stories that deserve to be heard.

The details of such individual experiences are important for us in the adoption world to hear, both the celebratory and the hurtful. Triumph through adversity sometimes takes a while. It takes time to find families for children. It takes time to complete the work required to provide permanency. It takes time for healing to take place. But it can and does happen, particularly when we are honest with one another about our experience.

As any adoptive parent or adopted person will tell you, an adoption doesn’t end when a child moves in with his or her new family. No, there is much more to come. Adoptees spend a lifetime finding their place in the world and in a family to whom they weren’t born, managing their grief and working out identity. I imagine there could be a family reading this post – perhaps your family – who may feel lost, and isolated, and as though no other family is experiencing pain like yours.

You would be wrong.

You are not alone. You have a tribe of people who are walking this same road and who understand. There are people who “get it” because they’ve walked a similar path to yours. We adoption professionals spend a great amount of time communicating about the joys of adoption, and those moments are abundant and spectacular. I often wonder if, by glossing over the pain and the loss and the fear and the resentment frequently felt by adoptees and adoptive parents, we may be failing to create opportunity for healing. I wonder if, by focusing on the positive, we minimize the authentic experience of those we love so dearly.

The job of any parent is rough and is fraught with mistakes and regret and frustration. Every child would justifiably argue that theirs is a parallel experience. When adoption is mixed in to such a social gumbo, there’s guaranteed to be some hurt feelings and resentment living alongside the comfortable. As we move into November, which is National Adoption Month, let us at WACAP lead an effort to create space for every story to be told. Let us make room for each experience and struggle. And let us seek to find forgiveness and understanding and reconciliation in that place.

To adoptive families, and adoptees, we celebrate you – every bit of you.

Find support here and here and here and here.

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.

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Intercountry adoptees facing deportation following Presidential election?

First, a disclaimer is important. This post is not intended to praise or criticize any candidate currently seeking election. Nor is the purpose here to argue for or against a particular issue. With that said, however, the ongoing political debate regarding immigration in our country is having a direct impact on intercountry adoptees and their families. Have you been impacted? Odds are, your child is experiencing some form of reaction, confusion, and possibly fear in response to our national conversation.

profile of child next to an art composite with faces of world figures that merge with the American flag

At WACAP, we are hearing from families whose children, adopted internationally, are voicing fears that they will be deported after this November’s election. Sometimes such fears are founded solely on a child’s internal reaction to news coverage or well-intended classroom assignments or discussions. Other times, they are based on comments made by friends and classmates.

Can you believe it? Our children are afraid they will be forced to leave their families. How can an adoptive parent respond?

  1. First, make space for the conversation. You know your child best, so intentionally create some conversation starters to which he or she might respond. Usually, it’s best to have these conversations while in the car or engaged in an activity, like a walk or cooking dinner.
  2. Listen to your child. Focus on their opinions, feelings, and experience. Truly listen. Let’s face it, any political discussion can feel like an invitation to add your opinions to the mix. For now, though, just listen. It’s important to discover how this issue may, or may not, be affecting your child.
  3. Educate your child about citizenship and permanency. If you think it would be helpful, bring out the documents from your child’s adoption. Make a copy of their citizenship papers, passport, or other items and allow your child to keep it handy.
  4. Be mindful of your political conversations at other times, and with other people. If your children are in proximity, they will hear your statements and can interpret, and misinterpret, based on their own experience.
  5. Talk to your child’s teacher(s). Let them know that they have an immigrant in the classroom, and open a dialogue with them to help them pursue inclusive language and scenarios.
  6. Seek resources to help you and your child make sense of this issue. At WACAP, we suggest the following sources:
    • Ask to join WACAP’s Facebook parent support group, where other adoptive families and a WACAP social worker discuss this and other factors of life as an adoptive family
    • Seek information from this website about race:
    • Download this guide about transracial parenting and adoption.

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.

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Saturday Snapshot


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A Question Many Wonder, But That Few Ask

Why on earth does an adoption agency need donations? I am rarely asked that question, but surely many people wonder. Adoption is expensive, and surely those funds are enough to support WACAP‘s work. Don’t they?

Fees paid by families go directly to enable the services we provide to the family, yes. Preparation and home study services, and all of the services related to adoption, from translations, to immigration processing, having documents authenticated and apostilled. This work is paid for by fees.

There is much of our work, however, that fees don’t begin to cover.

The assistance we provide internationally to support children who wait happens only because of donations. Gifts to our Humanitarian Aid Fund allow us to provide caregiver training, and access to much needed care for children who wait in orphanages.

Chart showing the amount of WACAP’s work funded by charitable donations, broken down by each fund/focus.

In this chart you’ll see the percentage of our work that is funded through charitable donations. We thank the donors that enable us to do this work!

Our advocacy work to find families for children can only happen when donors step forward to help us tell the stories of children who wait, introducing them to families across the USA. Donations to the Every Child Fund allow us to do this work and change their stories.

Our work to bring permanency to children and youth in U.S. foster care through adoption is only partially covered by fees and state contracts. By donating to the Fund for US Kids, you can help end the wait for a child or youth in foster care, and support WACAP families during challenges of placement prior to adoption.

And, because we believe that families should be strong and permanent, WACAP wants to commit as much as our adoptive families do. We offer lifelong support after adoption, through online support groups and phone consultations. We offer education and opportunities to connect with other families. We help families find professional service providers close to home who are adoption competent. A gift to our Strong Families Fund allows us to offer these services without fees, because the commitment made by adoptive families should be honored.

Is WACAP an adoption agency? Not really.

WACAP is a dynamic, global nonprofit seeking to transform lives through our expert services. Yes, we help out in the creation of families, but our work extends prior and after the work of adoption. Our work is urgent, because children are waiting in orphanages. Children in the USA are growing up in foster care without parents who will be there after graduation. So we invest in their lives, we go find them and meet them and tell their stories, introducing these wonderful children and teenagers to families open to adoption. While they wait, we help their caregivers through training and consultation. We support efforts to provide education, and nutrition and access to health care. We earn the right to bring them home.

And then, after these children are safely in the care of their new, permanent family, we continue to support those families. When those children grow up, we offer support for them as adults.

Won’t you help us?

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.

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Save the Date for a Fun and Inspiring Event!


WACAP Invites you to celebrate the 40th Anniversary Ruby Gala Children’s Hope Auction.

Share in our event experience as you celebrate 40 years of success and stories!

Join us at the Seattle Marriott Bellevue, located in downtown Bellevue, on Saturday, November 19th at 6 p.m.

Registration opens Tuesday, September 27, and will be available on our website.

 If you are interested in volunteering, procuring or donating items for this event, please contact our Event Coordinator, Tami Music at

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