When considering various options for adoption, families sometimes overlook smaller or lesser known programs, such as WACAP’s terrific Thailand program. Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles,” and it only takes walking around for a day to understand why. The people are so friendly, welcoming and generous. This is a smaller program, with a smaller number of adoptions (47 to the U.S. in 2015, according to the U.S. State Department website). However, there are many reasons to adopt from Thailand:
- The need is urgent. Thailand is a nation with its share of struggles, its population separated by a large wealth gap and that has felt the impacts of drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, and poverty. These challenges, as well as the social stigma single mothers experience, have led to many children living in institutions. While there has been an increase in adoption within Thailand in recent years, it is still not enough for the number of children in need of permanent families.
- There are children waiting for a family. There are a number of children who are currently waiting for a family to say, “yes” to them. Of these children, many have medical or developmental needs, such as heart defects, epilepsy, limb differences, cerebral palsy, deafness, HIV, vision impairment, or another need. There are also older children, age 10 and up, without known medical needs. For all of these children, their greatest need is a family.
- Travel is short and easy to manage. Most families find Thailand easy to navigate, as the majority of people speak English, and they are friendly and eager to help. Only one trip of 10-14 days is required, and both parents must travel. The majority of children referred for adoption live in institutions located within Bangkok, and often families are able to have a day or two of visits at the start of their trip before taking custody of their child.
The most important quality in a parent adopting from Thailand is flexibility, so if you’re considering adoption from this country, this is a quality that will also serve you well when parenting your child. Timeframes for the various steps can be uncertain and information about your child limited, but WACAP’s staff will do their best to help you through the challenges, will be excited to celebrate when your child comes home, and will be there to support you in the years ahead.
To learn more about adopting from Thailand, contact our adoption information specialist at email@example.com.
About Thailand Program Manager Lindsey Gilbert: Lindsey became a member of WACAP’s China adoption team in 2011, after joining WACAP as a volunteer. She’s helped numerous families through their adoption process as a case manager, and she currently dedicates her time to both managing WACAP’s Thailand program as well as advocating for waiting children in China. When not at work, Lindsey can be found in the garden, on a hiking trail, or volunteering to help others … with husband Geoff and dogs Quincy and Ross by her side.