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Types of Adoption

Waiting Child Adoption

Our Waiting Child program may be a good fit for you! This program helps match families with children waiting to be adopted from the United States foster care system.

Our Waiting Child Program

Waiting child adoption

Read more about Charlett's story in the Arlington Catholic Herald

Foster Care Adoption

Catholic Charities’ “Waiting Child Adoption” program helps families grow through foster care adoption.  There are currently over 100,000 children in the United States foster care system in need of a forever family.  We believe that every child is worthy of healing, love and a forever family.  You don’t have to be perfect, but you could be the perfect family for a foster child awaiting adoption.  

Foster Children Awaiting Adoption

On average, foster children available for adoption are 8-9 years.  They have been removed by the state or local authorities and placed in foster care due to abuse, neglect or their birth family’s inability to care for them.  On average, they have been in foster care for 20 months.  A majority of them are siblings, seeking adoptive homes that are able to keep the siblings together.  

There is especially a need for families who are open to children with complex medical needs, 3 or more siblings, and children over the age of 12.

Children in foster care have been mistreated by the adults in their life.  They have lived through loss, trauma and are hurt.  They may have emotional, physical or behavioral needs and will need families who will be patient and committed to them so they can heal, develop trust and grow into healthy adults.  

Preparing Adoptive Families to Adopt from Foster Care

Our “Waiting Child Adoption” program seeks to set your family up for success.  You will complete a foster care adoption class and will also work with your worker throughout the home study process to apply concepts and learn more.  Parents complete trainings during the home study process and after to best equip them with the skills they need to care for a hurt child and to promote healing.  Training includes but not limited to:

  • PRIDE Training
  • Trauma-Informed Parenting
  • The Connected Child Book & Application 

There are many resources and supports available to help families be successful and meet the needs of their adopted child.  We will provide this information but will always remain a lifetime resource for any future adoption related needs.  

Finding Your Child

Once you are home study approved, we will work with you to begin the matching process.  When families seek to adopt from foster care, the inquiries and ultimate decision will go to the child’s legal guardian- typically the social worker with the local social services.  There are many ways in which families are matched with children, such as: 

  • Local referrals

Efforts will always be made to keep children close to their community.  We work with Virginia public and private agencies to process their requests for adoptive families as well as to make sure they know what families we have available. 

  • AdoptUSKids

This is a national database of children available for adoption who are currently in the foster care system.  Our families will set up their own adoptive family profile on this site and can search for children that are in their parameters to express interest in learning more about those children. 

  • Other Adoption Databases

There are many other state or agency specific listings that families are able to access to search for children available for adoption before they are posted to the National Database.  Your worker will provide you with a list of these resources.   

  • Older Child Adoption Referrals (non-foster care)

There are times when we are asked to match an older child with an adoptive family.  In these instances, our Waiting Child families are the families considered as they have the background and training to best equip them for adopting a child over the age of 2.  

  • Marketing & Relationships 

Our staff at Catholic Charities have extensive experience in working in the public and private side of foster care which helps us to build relationships and share relevant information about your family in effective ways.  Here are a few ways in which we promote our waiting families: 

  • -Attending & promoting matching events
  • -Featuring our waiting/available families to counties/agencies in a quarterly newsletter
  • -Developing and distributing a family fliers to share with social workers when inquiring about a child 

Your worker will work with you throughout the matching process to discuss different referrals and determine how to move forward.  We advocate for our families every single step of the way and help you to navigate the tricky and complex child welfare system. 

Support Available 

Here are a few ways in which we support and prepare our families to ensure that they are being set up for success:

  • Resources for friends and family to help them know how to best support you in your adoption journey
  • Opportunities for monthly trainings and connecting with other waiting families, connecting and strengthening your adoption support network; annual events for all adoptive families
  • Exploring and advocating for available adoption assistance:  Most children adopted from foster care are eligible for adoption assistance so that their families are best able to meet their needs.  Adoption assistance typically includes monthly payments until the child reaches the age of 18 and may also include Medicaid, legal expenses, respite care, etc. Once matched, your worker will help you to explore adoption assistance that may be available to you to help you best meet the needs of your adopted child(ren).
  • Case management and service referrals (e.g. in-home services)


Thank you so very much for allowing me the opportunity to work with your agency! It was truly a pleasure and I will be sure to recommend your services to our families here. As mentioned many times before, it was a breath of fresh air to feel a sense of "teamwork" with (Catholic Charities Staff) during the last few months. The attention to detail and efficiency spoke volumes about how much you care for the families you work with. If you need anything from me in the near future please do not hesitate to reach out!