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Seven Things You Should Know About Orphans and Adoption

The best way to start advocating for orphans is to become as informed about the orphan crisis as you can. When you gather information and seek to be more educated about the issue, you will be able to share what you know with others, encouraging them to join you in the movement to care for orphans!


  1. It is estimated that more than 140 million children worldwide, ranging from infants to teenagers, have lost one or both of their parents.

  2. Nearly 13 million orphans — who have lost both parents — are now living in orphanages or on the streets. These children lack the care and attention required for healthy development, resulting in a greater risk for disease, malnutrition, and even death.

  3. HIV/AIDS has orphaned 17.9 million children, the majority of whom reside in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

  4. In the United States, there are almost 400,000 children living without permanent families in the foster care system.

  5. More than 100,000 of these children [in foster care] are eligible for adoption, but nearly one-third [32%] will wait over three years before being adopted.

  6. Roughly 55% of these children [in foster care] have had three or more placements before their adoption is complete, potentially changing schools five or more times.

  7. According to the U.S. State Department, American families adopted more than 7,000 children in 2012, the majority of whom come from China, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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