Step #05 - Find a Child



So you have a country in mind, you've got a start on your homestudy and now you are ready to find a child to adopt.  "Find a child.  The phrase almost sounds surreal.  How does one go about that?  Can you just go out and find a child?  Here's what we know.  There are currently more than 147 million orphans in the world, with nearly half a million children in the United States foster care system alone. So there is one statement that holds true.  There are millions of children waiting to be found.

So where do you start?

Start with introspection.  And ask questions like:

  • Is there a type of child I'm naturally drawn to?
  • Am I open to adopt a child with special needs?
  • Do I want to preserve the birth order among my current children? 
  • Am I open to a sibling group?

A qualified adoption agency or homestudy provider can go a long way in helping you answer those questions.  Veteran adoptive parents can help you with that as well.

Referral Programs

Many country adoption programs operate on a referral system.  This a good system where a child is essentially selected for you.  China's healthy child program operates like this. Your dossier is submitted, you get "logged in to their system and then you wait to receive a referral of a child.  You generally have a small window of time to review the child's history and medical reports before you make a decision on that child.  This is often a good time to discuss the medical records, particularly in the case of a special needs child, with a qualified adoption doctor. This will help you make all the right medical arrangements your child may need when you get home. If you say "yes to the referral, you are officially matched to the child and travel preparations begin.  If you say "no to the referral you go back into the system to await a further referral.

Waiting Child Lists

Most adoption agencies have waiting child lists.  These are children from various country programs that have been officially designated by the child's country as ready for adoption.  These children are typically in foster care or an orphanage in their home country.  The countries have relationships with U.S. adoption agencies which are then authorized to share profiles of these children with their client or on waiting child lists.  Many of these children are profiled on the Precious.org Waiting Child Photolisting.  These lists are a wonderful resource for people wanting to adopt and for children who may otherwise go unadopted to find a home, but with a few caveats:

  • Many children on a waiting child list require the parent(s) to have a completed Homestudy for that country before they can be officially matched.  So it's important not to get your "heart set on a child before you find out the details.
  • Make sure the child being listed is with a reputable agency.  Though "bait and switches are very rare nowadays, sadly, it is something some disreputable agencies would do in the past.  So just be wise.

Above all . . . pray.  Ask God to open your hear to the unexpected and help you match up with child who needs you the most, and to give you the wisdom, discernment and patience to wait for them.

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Adoption Guide
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