Most will agree that all children deserve to grow up in a loving and protective family. All children deserve to be fed, to receive an education, clean clothing, shoes and to sleep in a warm and safe bed at night, all basic necessities provided by a family. All children deserve the warmth, love, protection and guidance of a parent or parents. Yes, we agree. As a rule however, most people do not know the number of children worldwide who are parentless or forced to grow up in an institutionalized setting not having access to things we all agree every child should have access to.
It is estimated that there are 147 million orphaned children worldwide who have lost one or both parents. Consider this, 81.5 million Americans about 40 percent have considered adoption. If just 1 in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family. Seemingly, as with everything else, we become distracted or think someone else will take care of that and we go about our days or we just turn a blind eye and choose to ignore that a child somewhere is suffering. While we look away or get distracted, more children suffer and some die while in institutionalized care. While we look the other way, more children age out of institutionalized care to fend for themselves with little to no education or training and without the support of a family. There are currently 107,000 children eligible for adoption in the U.S. foster care system and every year, about 28,000 children age out of foster care in the U.S. Many who age out are forced into criminalized behavior, such as prostitution and theft, simply to survive. Aging out of the system without preparation and a safety net affects not only the child, but also society at large. Each child that we lose whether through death or talents lost due to criminalization, we lose another potential gift to the world and society loses as a whole. We have a responsibility to these children to care for them, to nurture them and to ensure they grow into loving, educated functioning adults who can contribute to society.
In international adoptions alone, we have seen a dramatic drop. The number of children adopted to U.S. families from other countries peaked at 22,884 in 2004. In the past 18 years, the numbers have consistently dwindled every year and now are just under 2,000 adoptions annually, and continue to drop. Yet despite the decline in adoptions, the number of children in need and the need for adoptive and foster parents continue to rise. What a sad state of affairs for our children. They say a society is judged by how it treats its elders and children. What does that say for us when we sit by and allow so many children to go parentless and without families?
There are vulnerable children suffering worldwide every day. You hear about them in the news, you see them on TV. While many of these children cannot be adopted, there are many who are eligible for adoption in the U.S. and abroad, who are in desperate need of a family.
Whether you are hoping to adopt a younger child considered to be “healthy”, an older child, a sibling group or a child with special needs, there is a child out there waiting for his or her own family to call their own. A child waiting for the love and protection of a family.
If you feel you are being called to adopt, we encourage you to look at our waiting children eligible for adoption on Adoption Bridge. Additionally, many of Nightlight’s intercountry programs are accepting new families such as Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Albania. Many of our country programs have short wait times for families to be matched with a child, especially if you choose a waiting child. If you wish to pursue adoption from foster care, Nightlight can assist adoptive parents navigate the U.S. foster care system and adoption process. If you are unsure about adoption and want additional information, schedule a free initial telephone conference at your convenience to explore your options, by filling out Nightlight’s online interest form.
If you feel adoption is not the way that your family wants to care for the orphan, there are other ways you can be involved. By volunteering or making a donation. Nightlight is a non-profit organization. Making a tax-deductible donation provides assistance to families adopting and children in need in the U.S. and countries where we serve.
For more information on all adoption options available to families through, please visit our website or contact us.