Preventing a Child From Becoming an Orphan Changes Everything

Saigon, 1972. Eighteen years into the Vietnam War.

That’s when it all started for us. Vietnam was overwhelmed with children who had been orphaned by the war. Don and Marilyn Scott, who were relief workers there, founded a nutrition center to keep as many of these orphans alive as possible. At the same time, they asked Pam Larsen, an adoptive parent they knew, to pursue licensing for adoptions in Massachusetts. Many of these children had fathers who were American servicemen, and the Scotts knew most of these orphans would have a better life in loving families in the U.S.

By 1974, our adoption license had been granted and we began placing orphans from Vietnam in the U.S. This all came to an end when Saigon fell, but as there were so many other countries in the world struggling to handle the number of orphans in their care, it just marked the next stage in our development.

Known as International Adoptions, we soon started building loving families for orphans from South Korea, Colombia, and the U.S. We became Wide Horizons For Children in 1991, and soon started adoptions from China. After 20 years and having placed more than 2,000 orphaned children in their forever families in the U.S., one thing was clear:

The experience of being an orphan never disappears fully from a child’s soul.

We knew our mission from that point onward was to do everything we could to help prevent a child from becoming an orphan.


Keeping a Family Intact


Intervene Early

Before a perfect storm of risk factors overwhelms a family



Make sure the family is safe, getting at least two meals a day, and that the children are in school.



Teach the family life and business skills, help them become economically self-sufficient, guide the children towards graduation.

keeping a family intact | wide horizons for children

Building a Family When a Child Has None

For children who are already orphaned when we first meet them, we do everything we can to help build nurturing families within an orphanage or through adoption.


In their words…

Thank you for being with me in my most difficult times and helping me develop the capacity of helping myself and my family. I am very happy to see another family get my precious chance. —Aberash Mother of Sponsored Child, Ethiopia
I’m very thankful to you, dear sponsor. You are supporting me in my education and I promise I will not let you down any time. I’ll keep my words, and I’ll be a very bright person in future. Thank you for your helpful, I’m very thankful towards you, dear sponsor. Thank you so much. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. —Dipta Sponsored Child, India


We Are High-Impact and Agile

At Wide Horizons For Children, the verifiable impact of our work at transforming the life of each child and family we help is what matters. We look to expert evaluators to review our program design, and we use data to continuously review and monitor our impact — and make changes accordingly. We cease programming that is not performing at the level of our expectations and expand programming that demonstrates true impact for children and families.

Our willingness to re-work any and all of our initiatives — no sacred cows — has paid off. We are a hugely impactful organization and punch way above our weight — we have transformed the lives of 1,000,000 children and their families beyond all recognition.

  • We are child-centered and personalized — leveraging our adoption social work roots, we know that a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work.
  • We are data-driven — we constantly monitor and measure the impact of our work, changing what we do in response to this.
  • We are agile, responsive, and ingenious — we have no stifling bureaucracy and work in communities where we have a deep connection, using local staff.
  • We are disciplined — we are intentional and responsible in everything we do.
  • We are collaborative and respectful — we listen to our local staff and the families themselves and take our direction from them.
  • We are holistic and deep — we know the most life-transforming approach is multi-faceted and deep, not scattered or shallow
  • We lead with our values — compassion, transparency, accountability, non-judgement and kindness guide us and we only work with partners who share these values.

Ways to donate

How You Can Help