The Adoption Resource Library contains recomended books and articles by adoption professionals, birth parents, adoptive parents
and adopted children, who share their unique insights.
Spence-Chapin has been a leader in African-American infant adoption since 1946.
"We came to adoption planning to adopt a young, healthy child. As we went through the process, we learned that it might take years to adopt. Because we'd already been through years of trying to start our family and we weren't getting any younger, we just wanted to move forward faster. When we started looking at waiting children, we were definitely afraid of the unknown, but we stayed the course and were soon matched with a 3-year-old girl with orthopedic special needs and developmental delays. We did our homework, we got prepared, we brought her home, and we haven't had a single regret since. She is the joy of our lives and we can barely remember life without her
– Mark & Carol, Adoptive Parents to a Waiting Child.
Spence-Chapin has placed children of all ages, and with varying histories. With every new family created, we have seen these children thrive, championed our amazing parents, counseled older siblings, and advocated for adoptee's rights in school placement, counseling services, and medical care. Our team is committed to the mission of seeking a home for all children growing up without one, regardless of their age, race, gender, or medical history.
With so many stories about international adoption entering the public sphere, families are wondering if this type of adoption is a feasible way to build their families.
It is true that the landscape of international adoption has radically changed over the past 10 years. Many changes to the practices and regulations of international adoption have included countries passing their own legislation, while others have signed on to the Hague Treaty for Inter-Country adoption (http://adoption.state.gov/), aimed to protect the rights of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents on a global scale.
At the same time, this protection has added long waiting periods to the process. In almost all cases, countries are focusing on building viable domestic adoption programs before releasing children for International Adoption. Each birth country manages the process and timing of this differently, offering little to no control to agencies. If and when a child does not have a permanent plan in their birth country, international adoption is one solution to providing children with a stable, loving family that can nurture their growth and potential.
So while international adoption has certainly changed a great deal in the past decade, it is indeed a viable and tremendously rewarding way to start or grow a family, while providing a child the chance to have what all kids should have; unconditional love, stability, and the occasional ice cream for dinner!
The current focus of international adoption is on the placement of school-age children, sibling sets, and children of all ages with identified special needs. Opening your hearts to one of these children can be deeply rewarding for families who have realistic expectations, flexible parenting strategies, lots of patience, and a healthy sense of humor!
Below is an overview of the children typically available for international adoption:
School-Aged Children: These children were not adopted earlier in life due to family reunification efforts, legal difficulties, lack of an appropriate family for that particular child, or because the child was being raised by his/her parents and came into care when they were older. These children are typically age 7 and up. You can learn more about how you can be an adoptive parent for these wonderful, resilient children .
Sibling groups: Spence-Chapin and all of our birth countries do not want to separate siblings, and are always seeking families who can keep siblings together. Often, the ages of children in sibling groups vary greatly, as can the general medical or developmental history of each child.
Children with Special Needs: Many children overseas have medical, emotional, or developmental conditions that cannot be fully addressed in their birth country. These conditions vary from mild and correctable to moderate or severe. Contact us (link to webform) for a detailed information packet about parenting a child with special needs.
Most families are able to adopt internationally. While each program sets its own eligibility criteria, birth countries are very motivated to place the children who have been waiting longest for a family.
Medical, legal, or mental health history may impact a family's program options. Spence-Chapin works closely with each family, before starting an adoption, to ensure eligibility and appropriate expectations. Of course, the more open a family can be with their child request (i.e age, medical history, ethnicity), the more flexible the birth country is able to be when considering an application.
With over 30 years of experience placing children through international adoption, we are able to prepare, guide, and support every member of an adoptive family at all stages of pre- and post-adoption. Learn more at Spence-Chapin's Adoption Resource Center
If you are ready to make a difference in the life of a child living in an orphanage, or would like to have an exploratory conversation about international adoption, Register for one of our free information meetings to learn more about how to get started.
Meet Our Staff
Chief Program Officer
“Adoption, as a field, is a never ending opportunity to explore interesting issues. I am honored to work at Spence-Chapin with a staff of passionate and skilled professionals who work tirelessly to connect children with loving families.”