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  • Weekly updates of newly registered or relisted waiting children
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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.

Who We Are

The Adoption Exchange is a non-profit 501(c)(3) child welfare organization that was founded in 1983 to help establish safety and permanence in the lives of foster children. Although the Exchange was 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 engenders a powerful impact on national trends in child welfare, employs over 50 paid staff, and counts on scores of volunteers to carry out its mission.

Today, The Adoption Exchange continues to innovate the adoption process by working towards creating a world where every waiting child will find a permanent family. Through rigorous collaboration with state, federal, and other relevant agencies, we focus on innovative child-specific strategies that provide vibrant pre- and post-adoption services that speed waiting children to caring and loving relationships that last.

What We Do

The Adoption Exchange takes a holistic approach to adoption and provides expertise and support before, during, and after the adoption process.


  • Finding families for children who have survived abuse and neglect.
  • Providing web, email, social media, television, and other media-based recruitment efforts.
  • Producing intensive, personalized recruitment for individual children who have been waiting for long periods of time.
  • Holding adoption events where kids and families can get to know each other.
  • Creating hands-on, personal connections between The Adoption Exchange staff and case managers.


  • Guiding adoptive families through every phase of the adoption process.
  • Educating families on the critical steps necessary to start the adoption process.
  • Reviewing the steps to take while the family waits and answering any and all questions that may arise.
  • Supporting families after adoption through support groups and training sessions.


  • Training child welfare professionals, and foster and adoptive families.
  • Providing technical assistance to promote capacity building and systemic changes in state and tribal child welfare programs.

Where We Work

Headquartered in Colorado, The Adoption Exchange now operates in Missouri, Nevada, and Utah. Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming are also participating member states. In addition, we provide educational and informational services to families across the nation.

Why We Do What We Do

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

Without a permanent family, these children do not have optimistic futures. National statistics reveal that 50% of youth who are emancipated from foster care at age 18 will drop out of high school--compared to only 13% of the general population. Additionally, 20% of foster children will be homeless within two years (The Pew Commission 2009).

Through adoption, we are able to dramatically improve these childrens’ lives.

Outcomes of Children Who are Adopted vs. 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 from 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.

Waiting for a permanent home is not only hard on children - it is also expensive for the community. Experts estimate the annual cost of foster care in the U.S. is approximately $40,000 per year/child, and - even when adoption assistance is factored in - the state saves approximately $28,000 per year/child when a child in foster care is adopted.

Furthermore, the lifetime societal costs (e.g., incarceration, public assistance, and lost wages) for every youth who leaves the foster care system without a permanent family is more than $300,000. Since its inception, the organization has helped place nearly 9,000 children - saving society more than $2.7 billion!

Not only does adoption produce a better outcome for the children, but it also reduces child welfare costs to the state. This notion is what drives us to do the work that we do every single day.