• Waiting Children

Waiting Children


Login to view the WHFC Waiting Kids who are waiting now for a family.


Wide Horizons For Children is committed to bridging the miles, financial barriers and fears that stand between adoptive families and vulnerable children waiting for families. All over the world, children are growing up without an adult to protect and love them. The lucky ones live in a home, not their home, just a temporary place to be safe for a while. Many more live in orphanages and some are on the street. Could your family help one of these special children?

Could your child be waiting?

Children are waiting now because they:

  • are over the age of eight years old (a second grader)!
  • have one or more siblings who are school-aged
  • have a medical diagnosis or need (often correctable or cosmetic)

If you are interested in the adoption of a young child without any significant medical needs, please return to our Adoption Services and Information page.

Who Are Waiting Kids?


These children are:

Physically healthy - Their bodies are growing. They are getting taller and stronger and their brains, whether or not they have access to school, are capable of understanding and interpreting the world and making new connections.

Emotionally hurt - They have been in institutional care from birth or their parent died or suffered from addiction or disease or extreme poverty. These conditions prevented these children from receiving the love and nurturing they deserve.

Resilient - Almost all of the older children WHFC places for adoption want to do well in their new homes. They have survived a lot in their young lives and deserve the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

These children are:

All different ages - Many of these children are under five years old, some of them are infants and toddlers. Of course, older children with medical or special needs also wait.

In need of medical care/stigmatized - Even simple surgical intervention or physical therapy can be unavailable or inadequate for a child living in a poor country. Sadly, in many countries the conditions and care for children with a medical need is beneath the standard of care for orphans generally.

Resilient - The ability of these children to survive in the harsh conditions of an orphanage or an extremely poor birth family with any medical need is a remarkable testimony to their strength and potential.

These children need families who are:

Experienced - Ideally, a family will have direct experience parenting children older than the child being considered. First-time parents, however, can have valuable experience and can be successful adopting an older child. Helpful experience includes growing up in a large family, having an active daily role with nieces, nephews or stepchildren or working in a profession that brings the prospective parent into close and consistent contact with children.

Flexible - Children who have a history of trauma often have behavioral and emotional needs different from their peers. Families need the ability to empathize and understand that these behaviors are not choices or disobedience, but normal reactions to growing up with instability, loss and abuse. These children almost always require their parents to have a different set of parenting tools than a child raised in the same loving home from birth. Parents need to be flexible in their approach and comfortable learning from others and from their child.

Resourceful - Families adopting older children should have a thorough understanding of educational, therapeutic, language and cultural resources available to them in their geographic area. An ability to access resources and advocate for appropriate services in a variety of contexts is critical to success in parenting an older child. WHFC will help families prepare and anticipate what their child or children may need.

These children need families who are:

Knowledgeable - When children have any medical need or physical difference, they need parents who are comfortable seeking education and information about treatment and/or management of the condition. WHFC helps families connect with other families parenting children with the same or similar conditions, and directs families to valuable medical resources. A prospective parent's ability to actively engage in learning and preparation is critical to making an initial decision to move forward in adoption and even more critical to everyday parenting.

Flexible - No parent knows any child's full potential at the moment they enter the family. This is certainly true for children with a medical need or physical difference. Families need to be comfortable with unknowns and helping their child grow and reach their highest potential.

Resourceful - All of these children will need medical follow up once they come home. Some will need relatively simple pediatric care while other children will need surgery, physical therapy or to be fitted with a prosthesis. Families need to have a high comfort level with accessing medical resources and ideally, geographic proximity to excellent hospitals and medical specialists. Many of these children with medical needs or diagnoses are also our older children with complex histories. In some cases, the medical diagnosis may be secondary to a child's emotional or psychological needs. Parents adopting older children need to simultaneously learn about issues of trauma, loss and institutionalization.

Resources for older child adoption:

Book Recommendations

  • Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children, by Daniel A. Hughes
  • Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids a Guide for Parents and Professionals (3rd edition), by Gregory Keck
  • Connected Child, by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

Additional Adoption book titles can be found at

Helpful Websites

  • Adoption Learning Partners - Helpful site with online educational classes about adoption issues. Recommended classes include Adopting the Older Child and the Tough Love series. 
  • Child Trauma Academy - Provide online courses and information that offer creative and practical approaches to working with maltreated children.
  • Center for Cognitive-Developmental Assessment and Remediation - A variety of offerings that help prepare parents and professionals for dealing with the behavioral, emotional, developmental and educational needs of internationally adopted older children.

Resources for adopting a child with medical needs:

Recommended Article

Helpful Websites


Advantages to Adopting a Waiting Child

  • FAMILY INVOLVEMENT: Most families are directly involved in identifying the “right” Waiting Kid for their family.
  • FAST: Unlike in the conventional process where you may wait on a list of families, these children are waiting now. You could have a child in your home in under a year!
  • FLEXIBLE: Many countries are willing to waive or relax parent eligibility criteria for the hardest to place children.
  • OPEN: Families not yet working with WHFC can receive counseling with an adoption professional and can be pre-matched with a child prior to application with the agency.
  • AFFORDABLE: Adoption subsidies and grants are available for all Waiting Kids adoptions. WHFC offers a $5,000 subsidy for each child and some families may qualify for a second subsidy of up to $5,000 by completing a Statement of Need. In addition, The Good Morning Adoption Fund, a non-profit organization, works with us to assist families with the cost of adopting certain children. Some families may also qualify for a Seedling Gifts Program subsidy from Brittany's Hope, a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping place children with special needs from around the world. In addition, there are many other funding organizations devoted to helping harder to place children.
  • EXCELLENT SERVICE: All of our clients will benefit from WHFC’s years of experience in older child and special needs adoptions. Our experienced case managers will guide you through comprehensive pre-adopt education and provide information on other valuable resources, including international adoption clinics and organizations focused on special needs, financial assistance and subsidies. In addition, our post adopt team of social workers is here to support you during the initial adjustment period after your child arrives home and beyond.

Learn More:

Wide Horizons For Children
375 Totten Pond Road, Suite 400, Waltham, MA 02451
Phone: 800-729-5330


© 2017 Wide Horizons For Children Inc. All rights reserved.Wide Horizons For Children is dedicated to the well-being and security of orphaned and vulnerable children globally

Wide Horizons For Children is a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law.


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