Adoption Information

Who are the Children that Wait?

More than 120,000 children wait for permanent homes in the United States.

Most waiting children are school-aged or older. There are several brothers and sisters who need to stay together. More than 60% of the children come from minority cultures.

The majority are boys. Many have emotional, physical, learning disabilities or mental retardation. All are waiting for the love and security that only a permanent family can offer.

The Needs of Children Who Wait

Emotional Needs: The children AFFEC serves have been removed from their birth families. due to
neglect, and/or abuse, and have varying degrees of emotional needs.  Many of these children are slow
to trust a new person or family, having suffered past losses and often finding the adults in their lives
unreliable or unable to care for them. Emotional difficulties can also result in a child having behavioral
difficulties. Hoarding food, withdrawing, having difficulty telling the truth and competing for attention are
among the most common behaviors.

It can be especially challenging to deal with a child who has been through a traumatic experience. If a
child is unwilling or unable to discuss these experiences, the frustration may be so overwhelming that it
affects the child’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. A sense of security and support services will
often help a child make great strides in a new family. Many of the waiting children benefit from counseling and other therapeutic services.

Physical Difficulties: While most of the waiting children are healthy, some do have physical difficulties
or disabilities. Some may have asthma, cleft palate, mild forms of bronchitis or allergies or easily
treatable medical conditions. Other children have more severe physical disabilities, such as limb
deformities, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart disease, life-threatening
illnesses and various types of developmental disabilities.

Learning Disabilities: Many waiting children have difficulties comprehending, processing or retaining
oral and/or written information. Within the general public school population, 10 to 20 percent of children
have some form of learning disability. Learning disabilities can manifest themselves in any number of
ways. The most common problems are Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), hyperactivity and dyslexia.

The Older Child: Older children, though often unable to verbalize their needs, long to be part of a family
and need love like any other child. Conflicting emotions are often present, and an older child may still
have ties to a biological or foster family, or be grieving over the loss of biological and/or foster families.
More than anything else, these children need strong, permanent commitments from their adoptive
families. An older child may have lived in several foster homes along the way or have had disrupted
adoptive placements. These children have never had the support or the opportunity to build positive
relationships and, as a result, may suffer from low self-esteem.

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