What happens to children who age out in China?

In the United States, only 8% of children adopted from China were adopted at ages older than 4. Statistically, that means once a child turns 5 their chances of being adopted dramatically decrease. In China, once a child turns 14 they are no longer available for international adoption. As our ministry seeks to advocate for all children, we especially feel the clock ticking for these older kids at risk of aging out.

We are often asked, “what happens to kids when they age out.” The short answer is “we don’t know.” At best they may be able to stay in the orphanage, finish school and get a minimum wage service job. The opportunity for higher education, a better job, or starting a family are virtually unattainable for these kids. Worst case scenario, the 14 year old child, who may have significant medical special needs, is released to the streets, alone, with no resources.

I recently had this conversation with a supporter of Lifeline. She felt particularly burdened for these older kids who were approaching their 14th birthday. She has two grandchildren, who could have been one of those kids that aged out. Thankfully, by God’s grace, these two boys have been adopted into a loving family and will grow up with unlimited opportunity and unending love. Unfortunately, this isn’t the story for every waiting child in China. While no longer in a position to adopt , this supporter felt incredibly burdened to do SOMETHING, anything, to help these kids for whom there seems little hope.

For many of these kids, the best option and their only chance at a good education, medical attention, and a loving family is adoption. This particular supporter wanted to start a grant fund in an attempt to remove every obstacle to the adoption of kids in danger of aging out. She has generously provided the funds to cover the agency fees for 4 children who are at risk of aging out. Those 4 boys are (from left to right) Randall, Jimmy, Samuel and Wyatt.

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china grant blog 5Another supporter met a young girl from China at our Kids Camp last summer. She was so impressed with Landry, but at age 12 she worried about what would happen to Landry if she wasn’t adopted before her 14th birthday. With Landry on her heart, this supporter has worked tirelessly to raise funds to provide an $8550 grant for the family who pursues Landry’s adoption.

china grant blog 6Similarly, Emerson Rose Heart Foundation, whose mission is to change the future for those affected by congenital heart defects and to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ, saw a need to help families who were interested in adopting a child with a heart defect. Knowing that, once home, children with CHD may need significant medical attention, ERHF has provided 10 grants for children with heart defects. The goal is to provide financial assistance to families who are willing to parent a child with significant medical needs. One of the children with a grant is Pierce. ERHF Executive Director, Susan Smith met him on a trip to China. Susan was taken by Pierce’s beautiful smile that lit up his entire face. Susan decided that she needed to do more for children like Pierce whose chances of being adopted where narrowing.

By providing grants, these supporters are changing the future of children who otherwise might turn 14 without knowing the love of a family. Adoption takes incredible sacrifice, and for families who adopt children who are older, or have significant medical special needs, that sacrifice is even greater. These supporters have answered the call to support their brothers and sister who are able to make those sacrifices. We are blessed to have ministry partners who meet the needs of the faithful families who are adopting. If you are interested in answering the biblical call to defend the fatherless by contributing to our grant fund contact me Lauren Taylor at [email protected].

Randall, Jimmy, Samuel, Wyatt, Landry and Pierce are all above the age of 5 and have medical special needs. Each of them represent children who are at risk of aging out. Members of our staff have met all of these beautiful children. We have gotten to know their incredible personalities, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and their challenges. To me, they are no longer a statistic, they are souls who need families and deserve the best opportunities.

If you would like more information about any of these children, please contact [email protected]. Lifeline has grants available to families willing to pursue one of these children. Please keep in mind that several families may be reviewing this child’s file at one time. At any given time, this child’s file can go on hold or be taken back to the Shared List by the CCCWA.