Unadoptable? Unacceptable.

Sometimes I struggle with how to talk about the “types of” children we serve at WACAP. Certainly, the adopted persons I’ve met are remarkable, funny, creative and compassionate. However, in an adoption world where the historical idea of “healthy newborns” is continually evolving to a reality where children are older, may have a diagnosis or two, and have been waiting for families for years, what terminology is best to use when describing a human life, a child with remarkable potential?

Those of us who are in the adoption world, whether professionally or personally, are familiar with many phrases describing children who wait for permanent families. “Hard to place,” “waiting children,” “special needs” are just a few, and I neither endorse nor condemn these labels. It’s a challenge I’d like to take on in 2016, but for now, can we agree to discuss these complex and wonderful children as having “individual needs?”

In 2015, WACAP worked to help 206 children connect with permanent families. Of those children, 92 percent had needs specific to them — an individual need of some kind. Whether those needs are related to a child being older than 5 years, having medical or developmental diagnoses, having a history of abuse/neglect, or  having siblings, these children are described by some as being “hard to place.” I’ve even heard some say that children with such needs are ‘unadoptable.’

It baffles me to hear this.

These boys and girls, and these teenagers, are not hard to place. The wonderful WACAP staff, with our passionate and committed families, are welcoming these children home all the time. It’s normal, in fact.

Because adoption fees don’t cover our advocacy work, our generous donors make it possible for us to tell the stories of children waiting to be adopted, finding and introducing them to the family ready to become theirs. This is how we will achieve our vision, claiming that there is a family for every child.

Learn more about the children we placed in 2015 in the statistical graphics below … and let us know your thoughts:

  1. How would you want to be described as a child with “individual needs?”
  2. If you have adopted one of these children, how would you advise other aspiring adoptive parents?
 Let’s talk about it on social media! Tweet to @adopt_an_orphan or @gregeubanks with the hashtag #hard2place.
The general categories of individual needs for children who have joined families over the last year through WACAP, represented graphically
The types of individual needs of children who have joined families over the last year through WACAP, represented graphically

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.


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.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Facts and Figures, From the CEO, International Adoption, Staff/Board Spotlight and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Unadoptable? Unacceptable.

  1. Pingback: Strong Families | wacap

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