There are many countries in which intercountry adoption is not an option. Reasons vary as to why countries are “closed” to adoptions in foreign countries. The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international agreement to establish safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child. The Hague Convention went into force in the United States in 2008 and thus caused a great deal of change and a large decrease in adoptions to the United States from abroad. Further, the U.S. Department of State has worked diligently to ensure that adoptions are transparent, ethical, and safe.

In 2015, 5,648 intercountry adoptions were completed in the United States. This is down to the all time low since 2004 when 22,989 intercountry adoptions were completed. There were also children adopeted from 88 difference countries to the United States in 2015. UNICEF states that there are approximately 140 million orphans in the world. That leaves the massive majority of children, even after domestic, in-country adoptions are accounted for, without a forever family.

That leaves the question, how do you help these orphaned and vulnerable children without the safety, love, and protection of a forever family?

Give of Your Time and Talent

Children living in institutional care or on the streets need your help. They may not have an avenue to a forever family, but you can still help by volunteering through service organizations, nonprofits and adoption agencies which host volunteer trips to developing countries with children in need. Orphaned and vulnerable children need doctors and nurses. They also need volunteers to give of their time, talent, and treasure to build new infrastructure for their housing, schools, and playgrounds. They need delivery of supplies and food. They need people to spend time with them, love on them, and show them that they are supported.

Give of Your Treasure

Not everyone has the time or talent to assist in orphanages abroad. However, you can still play an important role in supporting orphans by sponsoring a child through a reputable, vetted child welfare organization which gives 100% of your proceeds to the child, like Headwaters Relief Organization. You can also support vulnerable children by hosting your own shoes, clothing, or school supply drive within your school, house of worship, or place of employment.

Support Strengthening Families

Oftentimes those of us who want to help children around the world who live outside the protection and love a family think of adoption as the only way. However, the greatest thing we can do for these children is to support policies and organizations that work to strengthen families within country. You can make this personal by financially supporting keeping families in-tact through a number of international charities working to alleviate poverty, famine, genocide, abuse and disease – all calamities leading to the orphaning of children - around the world.

Advocate

Be an advocate for children. Write articles about the importance of serving children who will never be adopted. Work to advocate for policies in the United States and abroad which protect families and open avenues for children to find forever families if they are orphaned. Talk to your state representatives regarding legislation that promotes the safety and protection of vulnerable children.