Coming to America: International Adoptions of School-Age Children on the Rise

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World Association for Children and Parents is pleased to see that the adoption of school-age children has been growing; recent adoption of Monika from Bulgaria is one success story

World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP), a veteran international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agency, has seen a rise in the number of school-age children being adopted by U.S. families in recent years. While the numbers of children adopted internationally overall has continued to decline, statistics from the U.S. State Department report that the number of international adoptions of children age 5–12 has increased by nearly 15 percent between 1999 and 2012. The recent adoption of 9-year-old Monika from Bulgaria — a country where just over a year ago more than 62 percent of the children adopted by U.S. families were between these ages — is one story of success.

Staff at WACAP met 8-year-old Monika in 2011 when traveling to Bulgaria to discuss opportunities for international adoption with government officials and visiting Bulgarian orphanages. Monika had been born with hydrocephalus, a condition causing fluid build-up around the brain. As an infant she had received a shunt operation to drain the fluid, an operation common for children with this condition. Monika had seen other children with the same medical issue being adopted into families, but year after year she continued to wait.

Shortly after WACAP traveled to Bulgaria, Brenda, a 53 year-old single mom who’d always hoped to adopt, began seriously considering international adoption and specifically adoption from Bulgaria. With her three birth children grown, she started exploring WACAP’s webpage of children currently in need of families. Soon after WACAP opened its Bulgaria adoption program in the fall of 2011, Brenda saw Monika’s photo and read about the little girl’s needs from the description posted by WACAP staff. Learning more about her need for a family and how long she’d waited, Brenda knew that Monika was the child for her, even before boarding a plane to Bulgaria nearly a year later to meet her.

Brenda traveled a second time in June 2013 to complete the adoption and bring her daughter home to the U.S. Since adopting Monika from Bulgaria, Brenda is able to provide for Monika’s needs and they share a great life together. They both agree, they are a match made in heaven.

For Monika’s full adoption story, click here.

According to the U.S. State Department, the number of adoptions of school-age children, 5–12 years, accounted for nearly a quarter of the adoptions to the U.S. in 2012. And since 1999, 1,541 children from Bulgaria have come home to their families in the U.S, with the number of school age children — children like Monika — growing from 30 percent in 1999 to 62 percent in 2012.

WACAP's vision is A Family for Every Child. WACAP is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the U.S. Since 1976, WACAP has placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children worldwide.

Julie Snyder
Communication Manager

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