Seeing the Children: A Journey of Hope

Mary Moo, WACAP’s vice president of adoptions, recently returned from a special trip to China;  with photos and memories of the kids she met, she shares about her visit, and a little of the story that needs telling …

This past month, I traveled to China as part of an effort known as the Journey of Hope, along with staff from two other agencies invited by China’s central adoption authority.

Seeing the children who need families and talking with adoption officials, orphanage directors and caregivers — our partners — I was privileged to be among others who believe, as WACAP does, that each child in need of a family deserves to not wait a childhood to find that family. That there is no child who does not deserve a parent’s love.

group of boys walking down a corridor at an orphanage

Children at an orphanage

In China, my week passed quickly as we traveled to four different cities and saw more than 200 children from 10 different orphanages. Still, with each new place, we saw the same face. The child who has been passed by. Toddlers, school-age children, or near-teens who desperately need somebody committed to telling their story.

With the goal of bringing the hope of a family to these children, this Journey of Hope partnership reaches these kids who — without someone to advocate for their potential — continue to go unseen.

For each one of them, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

That’s especially true for one gregarious young man I met, fast approaching age 14. He’ll be too old for adoption at that age, according to his country requirements. He’s smart, and spirited, and seeing that he’s grown up without the support of a family breaks my heart. I watch him and see in him my boys, my two boys at home, carefree, adventurous and playful. “Why has he waited so long?” I wonder.  I learn that particularly in his earlier years, he had a history of incontinence; it is a mild diagnosis in his paper file,  but one that has prevented him from being seen … for thirteen years.

So sad to count the years of his childhood that have passed without a family’s love.

He is not the only child who has been passed by. I talked with several healthy older kids, a number of them boys. They’ve seen many kids younger than themselves leave the orphanage with families. For these older children, the more time spent in an orphanage, the less visible they’ve become.

Some of the children are younger; they have a medical need that’s more complex, and they need a family’s love to help them thrive.

Some have had corrective surgeries, they’re doing well, laughing with friends and exceling in school; but they have a condition such as post-operative cleft lip/palate or another medical diagnosis from childhood notated in their file … which keeps their full stories from being read.

Learning and sharing each boy or girl’s story can mean the difference of a family for a child. That’s why WACAP connects with each child one-on-one, gathering a more complete picture through photos and videos, and never wavering in our commitment to find the right family for each child.

There is only one outcome that is acceptable from a journey like this one, a journey of hope — it is the one we work toward every day. It is a family for every child.

And no more waiting.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will be posting information about these children on our Waiting Child website.

If you or if someone you know has any questions about adopting, or would like to learn more about any of the children from our Journey of Hope trip, contact our Family Finders team. By donating to WACAP’s Promise Fund, you can also help as we find the right families for these children and reduce financial barriers for families who otherwise couldn’t adopt these incredible kids.


WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the United States. Since 1976, we’ve placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children around the world.
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