Our CEO talks about why, and what’s ahead.
I’ve worked in child welfare for 25 years and have seen change time and again. In the life of every nonprofit, there comes a time when you must embrace that change or risk becoming unable to fulfill your mission. This past year, the leadership and Board of WACAP have chosen to face the need to adjust our strategy for serving vulnerable children.
WACAP recently announced our decision to merge with Holt International, and though we are extremely optimistic about this future, change is hard.
We’re confident that this merger, the combination of two terrific organizations into one, will allow us to continue services to children and families in the U.S. and around the world. As we join Holt, we will be merging with an historic and well-respected organization offering a diverse array of services, including not only international adoption but also domestic infant adoption, family strengthening programs, and care for orphan and vulnerable children through child sponsorship. WACAP will bring to the table our experience in international adoption as well as a strategic approach to grow foster care programs here in Seattle, Oregon, then in other locations. This continuation of services (and expansion!) is only possible because we can do more together.
But this involves change, and that can be challenging for several reasons. Though most WACAP families currently pursuing international adoption will experience a seamless transition and will continue to work with staff they know and trust, this will be a new organization with unique procedures. Change brings uncertainty and with that, anxiety. So we have been working, and will continue to work, with Holt leadership and now with our families to make the transition as smooth as possible. We’re confident that you will quickly come to know and trust them as well.
Why is WACAP choosing to merge with Holt?
Facing the realities of International Adoption lead us to admit that the fourteen-year decline was impacting our ability to continue services in a sustainable manner. As you may have read, there are positive aspects of this decline: a decrease in corruption, an increase in domestic foster care and adoption in many countries, and an increase in reunification and family preservation efforts.
But these aren’t the only factors.
In the past decade, several countries have closed international adoption by US families: Guatemala, Russia, and Ethiopia to name the top examples. Others have changed their eligibility rules, or adoption processes, which have drastically limited the number and types of families who can adopt. This can be understandable, at times. It can also be frustrating.
Finally, the political climate in our own country have had a significant negative impact on this work. Many families are concerned about ongoing debates over immigration, access to health care, and regulatory oversight that drives up costs of international adoption. As we examined all of these complex factors, our decision became very clear. We must change course in order to continue our mission. As we considered how we might collaborate and combine with another organization, though, we saw a clear path forward. Once connected with Holt, the future became increasingly bright.
For our Board of Directors and our Senior Leadership, many of whom are adoptive parents, it was a choice worth making. We have always held Holt in the highest regard for both its breadth and quality of services as well as its ethical and inclusive practices. When we began to connect with Holt leadership and staff at all levels, we quickly confirmed that we are a good match. By combining our expertise and resources, our mission will go on. As a part of the Holt organization, we will continue to serve children and families, both internationally and in our own communities. We will work to ensure every child has a loving and secure home.
This merger will also allow us to continue the expansion of services to children in the foster care system.
For years, WACAP has found adoptive families for children in foster care, over 800 children as a matter of fact. As we continue that work, and implement innovative recruiting efforts for adoption, we are now seeking families to become foster parents. These families will provide temporary care for children of all ages until they might reunite with birth parents or relatives, or until they are legally free for adoption.
When I read about the crisis in Washington State, and when I read about children sleeping on the floors of government offices or in hotels because there are not enough safe and nurturing families ready to care for them, I find purpose in becoming a part of the solution for these children.
We can find families willing to parent these children, whether for a short time or a lifetime. We have passionate donors who are willing to fund this work. We have staff trained in cutting-edge, trauma-informed models that can change everything for parents and for children.
We can do this.
Beyond foster care and adoption, this merger allows us to stand by our missional promise to offer lifelong support to families of all types. Holt International has a strong and vital post adoption support network, for adoptees and adoptive parents as well as biological parents. Together, we will continue empowering families to become and remain strong, establish healthy relationships, celebrate every family member’s unique identity, heritage and cultural background, and heal from past trauma or adverse childhood experiences. This, we can do.
We are all very thankful for the families, volunteers, donors, staff and adoptees who have walked with us over the past 42 years. You have written the story of WACAP, and it’s a great one. Together, we now have the opportunity to continue that story, transforming lives through the power of family as a part of Holt International Children’s Services. I am excited for this next chapter, and I invite you to join us as we carry on, together, for children.
For every child,
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.