The Wait is Over!

Since 1983, 7,936 children have joined their families

143 have families, since January 1, 2015

  • 57% belong to a minority group
  • 78% are 9 years old or older
  • 40% are 14 years old or older

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about us

The Adoption Exchange believes every child deserves a family... therefore, we are the connection between children who wait in foster care and families who adopt.

We provide expertise and support before, during and after the adoption process.


The Adoption Exchange envisions a world in which all children are valued and grow up in safe and permanent families, and where families are supported in their critical roles.


The Adoption Exchange is a non-profit 501(c)(3) child welfare organization founded in 1983 to work for safety and permanence in the lives of foster children. Initially an exchange point for caseworkers to discuss placement of children with families seeking to adopt in the Rocky Mountain region, the organization has grown considerably over the years and now impacts national trends in child welfare, employs over fifty paid staff and counts on scores of volunteers to carry out its mission.

Headquartered in Colorado, The Adoption Exchange offices now operate in Missouri, Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada. Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming are also participating member states, and The Adoption Exchange's Education Center has established a national presence.

What We Do

The Adoption Exchange recruits families for children who have survived abuse and neglect, supports adoptive families throughout every phase of the adoption process, and trains child welfare professionals. The Adoption Exchange maintains a national training presence, and connects children in eight member states CO, MO, NV, NM, OK, SD, UT and WY with American families living here and abroad.

Who We Serve

Currently, more than 102,000 children in the United States are waiting for adoptive parents to release them from the uncertain future of living in foster care (AFCARS 2014). The Adoption Exchange serves waiting children, current and prospective adoptive families, and child welfare professionals.

The children are survivors of traumatic abuse, neglect and abandonment. Many face barriers because they are school-aged, members of sibling groups who don’t want to be separated, are coping with physical disabilities and struggling with emotional challenges as the result of their painful pasts. They are our nation's waiting children. And what they all want, more than anything, is a family to love them.

Since 1983, we have connected nearly 8,000 waiting children with permanent adoptive homes. In fiscal year 2013-2014, we served 1,094 waiting children: we helped connect 338 of these children to loving adoptive families and continue to diligently recruit on behalf of the remainder. Of the children served,  

♥ 78% were over 9 years old or older
♥ 40% were 14 years old or older
♥ 35% were siblings groups
♥ 57% were children of color.

Expenses to the Community

Waiting for a permanent home is not only hard on children; it is also expensive to the community. Experts estimate that the annual cost of foster care in the U.S. to be approximately $40,000 per year per child and even when adoption assistance is factored in, the state saves approximately $28,000 per year per child when a child in foster care is adopted. Not only is adoption a better outcome for the children, but it also reduces child welfare costs to the state.

National statistics reveal that 50 percent of youth who emancipate from foster care at age 18 will drop out of high school compared with only 13 percent of the general population who fail to graduate. Twenty percent will be homeless within two years (The Pew Commission 2009).

Outcomes of Children Who are Adopted Over Those in Long-Term Foster Care
(based on study by Hanson 2006)
• Education: Higher IQs, 50% more likely to perform at grade level, 55 % fewer special education placements, 23 % more likely to complete high school or equivalent, 110% more likely to attend college
• Health: 25% fewer childhood hospital/ER visits, 19 % fewer teen pregnancies, 200 % more likely to seek treatment when needed (emotional/psychological)
• Behavior: 21% less likely to get suspended/expelled form school, 54 % less likely to get arrested, 34 % less likely to have poor relationship skills
• Economic: 15% more likely to be employed, 75 % higher income, 47 % less likely to experience homelessness

Click here to view our PUBLICATIONS
(Newsletters and various other publications)