We are adopting two adorable girls who have a little something extra, Down Syndrome!
We are excited to add them to our family.
We will use this blog to update family and friends on our adoption progress and fundraising efforts.
Just joining us? Click on the 2011 posts in the archive to find out why we are adopting the girls.

Question 11: Why not adopt from the US?

I am going to preface this question by saying that I do not think one type of adoption is better then another.  I believe that you need to go where the Lord calls you because that is where you will find YOUR child.  I believe that ALL children are deserving of a loving family no matter the geographical location, race, disability, age, etc.  Kids here in the US do not deserve to be adopted more then kids in any other country.  We are all God's children and geographical boundries mean NOTHING to HIM.  My family has adopted domestically and internationally.  We went where the Lord called us.    And now He is calling us to adopt these two girls.

That being said, there is A LOT of misconception about domestic adoptions. 

For every healthy non-african american newborn placed for adoption in the US, there are 35 waiting adoptive families.  For every healthy african american newborn placed for adoption in the US, there are 12 waiting adoptive families.  There is not a huge NEED for families to adopt healthy babies domestically. 

But what about babies and toddlers with Down Syndrome?  Robin Steele runs a fantastic adoption ministry placing babies with Down Syndrome for adoption domestically.  There are currently over 200 families on her wait list and she does an average of 26 placements a year.  Why the great demand?  Because a) children with Down Syndrome are a huge blessing and b) they are aborted at a rate of 90% in this country so very few ever are born, let alone come available for adoption.  Again, the need is just not there for adoptive families.

What about other special needs?  I actually run Special Angels Adoption in which we help agencies find adoptive families for special needs newborns and toddlers (www.specialangelsadoption.org) domestically.  I LOVE this work.  It is very rewarding.  The demand is much lower for babies with significant special needs but so far (knock on wood) we have yet to have a situation where we could not find a family for a baby (as long as the fees were in the realm of reasonable).  No matter what level of special needs, we have been able to find loving, qualified, wonderful families.

What about all the kids we hear about in the media languishing in the foster care system waiting to be adopted?  I am sorry to say that much of what you have heard to propaganda.  Seriously.  Through my work with Special Angels Adoption, we have helped many, many couples adopt special needs little ones who were legally free through the foster care system.  Unless the child has a trach, there is typically 50-100 families applying for every child under the age of 8 no matter what the special needs or race of the child (for some reason, children with trachs are very hard to place).  Why do they wait on the photolistings so long?  Because the process through the state is very slow.  They are not waiting for lack of families but they are waiting for the process.  The need is just not there, in fact, it is the highest level of competition.  Now, for children over the age of 8, the story is much, much different.  There are many, many teenagers who need loving homes.  And they do deserve one no matter what.  That being said, we do not feel qualified as a family to deal with the issues that are frequently present with older child adoptions.  It takes a very special type of person and we are sooooo glad that there are wonderful families out there adopting older children from the foster care system.  It is just not our calling.

So why all the propaganda to adopt from the foster care system?  Well, first of all, they need foster parents.  The vast majority of children who enter the foster care system never come available for adoption because they are reunited with their families.  That is the goal of the foster care system, when they are safely able to bring families back together they do so.  Thus foster families are needed much more then adoptive families.  Also, there are many, many older children waiting to be adopted through the foster care system.  Especially if you are able to handle teenagers, the need is high.

Contrast all of this with the region our girls are being adopted from.  In the last 4 years, there has only been one child with Down Syndrome adopted from there per year.  Only one!  Despite the fact that there are SEVERAL waiting.  This year, there will be 3 children with Down Syndrome (ours and one other), setting a huge record.  Our daughter has been in the orphanage waiting for a family for 5 YEARS.  No one has come forward, until now.  If they stay, they will end up in mental asylums, never to have a normal life in society.  In fact, they have been totally rejected by their society because of their special need.  There is literally no place for them.  In this region of the world nearly 100% of children with Down Syndrome reside in orphanages. The NEED is HUGE. I have been to dozens of orphanages around the world, both good and bad, and I can honestly say that an orphanage is no place for any child to grow up. 

Even a child in the foster care family, though FAR from ideal, lives in a home within the community.  They are allowed to attend school, get proper medical care, live with a family, etc.  I am not saying these kids don't need permanent families, THEY DO!  But compared to our daughters' fate if not adopted, they have several advantages.

Again, I am not saying that one type of adoption is better then another.  You should go where the Lord calls you because He knows where YOUR child is.  That is why we are going where we are going.  But be careful not to be judgemental of those adopting international vs domestically.  Your perception may be based upon emotional misinformation instead of the facts.


  1. I have always hated that question. Why don't you go after your own first? Thank God Jesus didn't just come for his own people but came for all people.

    Be blessed


  2. Great post! I'm going to share this when ever I hear that question! :)

  3. Thank you so much for posting this and stating it so eloquently!
    My heart hurts when I am confronted with that statement again and again and I'm afraid I don't always keep my cool. Now I can direct them to your post. :)

    Many blessings to your family

  4. Very well said! Thank you for this post!!!

  5. We found also that the children that were in most need of being adopted in the US were the children that were large sibling groups or if they were under 8 they needed to be the youngest or only child in the family.

    Family dynamics play such a huge role in who you can and should adopt. We knew we were not up to adopting 5 children at once and our youngest is 4 so unless we wanted to strictly foster again we would never be able to adopt a child under the age of 4.

    Even when we adopted our daughter from the US foster care system after 2 1/2 of the state trying to reunify her with her birth parents the judge told us there were over 200 people on a waiting list who would have adopted her. They just didn't want to take the risk of being foster parents first.

    But in the end I always tell people to go where the Lord wants you to go. Because He does not want us all to go to the same place.

    Carlene's soon to be momma :)

  6. Thank you for posting this. There are struggles both domestically and internationally. But, the domestic front is not all propaganda. I think that's slightly a strong word. Totally respect where you are coming from and see the heart of it. But, I think our views on the domestic front do need to shift. Is the goal on the domestic side to "get" a child and have a judge claim them as "ours," or are we willing to do life with the teenager who never wants to be adopted; he or she wants to maintain his or her family name; but he or she still needs a family. Just as on the international front it can sometimes be challenging to find the true orphans (which I know is not the case I know with special needs international adoptions) the majority of children in the domestic system are sometimes hard to get to. They would be considered "orphans of the living," which honestly many are afraid of pursuing. Are domestic adoptions truly orphans? When a mother who deeply loves her child, chooses to place her child in the arms of another so that, that baby can have what she believes is a better life of hope? My 30 foster children are not orphans. They have mothers and fathers who have made steps forward or steps backwards. Even the ones who have been adopted, still have parents whose story is not over. But it is amazing how often I attend conferences and hear, "Good for you. There are domestic needs too." I hope our longing in this orphan care movement is not one or the other, but the Gospel going forth throughout the world so that His kingdom can be made known among the nations. He doesn't need us for any this, but He's inviting us in. Wouldn't it be beautiful if we tore down the walls between the views of domestic and international orphan care, became educated about each and celebrated God's mercy and work through our stories?

  7. Not to stalk :) But, I will also say, yes, my fosters (ages infant to teen), do have access to available medicine, food etc. But they have not had that in the past. And their trauma looks exactly like that of international adoptions, as we have fostered displaced international adoptions who have been not been able to stay with their adoptive families because of attachment disorders. They are all just children, and the horrors they have all experienced are so real, and we could say that the future of an international child who ages out is more bleak, but I have had kids in an out and know of foster children who have been trafficked, been forced to kill and seen so many of the same horrors we say are limited to across the world. It's all about us not drawing lines in the sand, but realizing God is moving among us all to bring His people and children to Himself.