I’m often asked about the specifics of how adoption has changed over the years. Like most questions about adoption, the answer begins with a qualifier, “It’s complicated.” At the end of the answer, we’re left with the reality of children who continue to wait in imperfect systems of temporary care, both in the U.S. and around the world. They wait for parents to step forward and say, “You are more than your history, more than your diagnosis, more than your current limitations. I commit to you, and I am yours forever.”
These children bring with them a history, a story that is filled with real people and experiences. Far from the beginning of their stories, these children bring along their past, marked by memories and complications and trauma. One of our favorite tasks at WACAP is the heart of our “Family Finders” program, telling those stories and finding families for every child. We have a team of dedicated staff and volunteers who can bring a child to life from the child’s government file and a few photos.
Before a family ever submits an application, or pays a fee, WACAP is at work on behalf of these children. We travel to meet them and learn their stories. We collaborate with the appropriate adoption authority in each country to determine how we can best tell their stories. We cut through red tape to obtain permissions. It takes time and effort. We then edit any facts, photos and video we may have into portraits of children who are more than the data found in a file folder. Thanks to our volunteers and staff, these children become real.
And families respond.
Almost two-thirds of the matches that occur within the scope of WACAP’s work are a result of our Family Finding program. The other third happen through a more traditional route, where a child is referred by a country’s central adoption authority to a family with a completed homestudy and who’s approved into an adoption program.
In an email recently received in our office, a prospective parent had this to say, “Thank you for all the info, and I will say that my spouse and I seem to be quite smitten with [the boys.] I know it’s very early, but with the one short online video [we are] quite emotional. We will be in touch shortly.”
Once families “meet” these children, they begin to see the potential beyond the past history. They find the intersection between a child’s needs and their abilities. They begin to picture what is possible. At this point, WACAP professionals and the prospective parents get to work in preparation and study for a future adoption. Families pay for this guidance and education provided by agencies like WACAP.
But the storytelling, that happens because of donors. Adoption fees don’t cover this family finding work. The adoption world is changing, and the majority of our placements happen because a family responds to an individual, waiting child. Adoption isn’t for everybody, but every person can help to forever change the future for a child, or children, who are waiting. Your donation to WACAP’s “Every Child Fund” can transform a life.
Help us tell their stories. Help us change their stories.
About 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.