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Photolisting web sites

Photolistings are lists of children available for adoption (usually through public agencies), with photos and descriptions. They may be printed in a book or newspaper, shown on TV or posted at a web site. The Internet is just the latest medium for communicating photolistings to the public.

There are thousands of children waiting for permanent homes. These "waiting children" available through public agencies often have special needs, making them harder to place than healthy children. Photolistings are one way to find families who want to adopt. Many jurisdictions choose to increase the chances of recruiting adoptive families by publicizing the children's photos and profiles online, in print and on television programs.

Photolistings started out as books available at national or local agencies, with updated pages sent out by subscription. Recently photolistings on the web have gained favour; they typically include a photo, description and medical information on each child.

Photolisting web sites are common in the U.S., less so in Canada. There are state, regional and national exchanges, offering online profiles of children available for adoption

These sites aim to make it easy for potential adoptive families to quickly see the children available. Objections have arisen that photolisting sites don't respect a child's privacy and feelings. Older children -- and their classmates -- know that their picture is on the Internet, and that no-one is choosing them. Some sites now restrict the information displayed, use pseudonyms or show photos of models, not actual children. (The site should tell you if it does this.) Other sites make you register and get a password to access the photolistings.

In the adoption field photolistings are one of the techniques of "child-specific recruitment", so-called because it seeks to recruit families to adopt specific children. Experience over the last 40 years in Canada and the U.S. has shown that child-specific recruitment is the most effective, compared to general recruitment or to public education. It highlights actual children; seeing their photographs personally engages interested families.

Underlying all photolistings is the principle that the privacy of the child must be respected. For this reason, last names are never given, the detail in the descriptions is restricted and any contact occurs through an intermediary -- the social worker handling the child's file. Web sites may impose a further level of protection by having visitors register for a password before viewing the photos and descriptions.

David Kruchkow, a victim of adoption fraud in Mexico, proposes six guidelines for ethical photolistings at Photolistings and Ethics.

Photolisting sites - Canada

National: Canada's Waiting Children, A selection of Canadian children in the care of provincial agencies and waiting for adoptive families. Password needed to view the listings. Get more info on a child by sending in the Family Information Form. Adoption Council of Canada.
BC: Adoption Bulletin, Profiles of children in care and awaiting adoption. Names are pseudonyms. B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.
AB: Adoption Profile Lookup, Ministry profiles of children to be placed with Alberta families. Exceptionally, families in other provinces may be considered. Alberta Children's Services.
AB: Wednesday's Child, Children's Services profiles one special needs child a week, from the one-minute program on Alberta CTV stations.
ON: AdoptOntario, Ontario children in the care of provincial agencies. Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO).
ON: Today's Child, A photo and profile of one child a month, as in "Today's Child" newspaper column. Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
ON: Winning Kids. Web site was at; now expired. Children in the care of 12 children's aid societies in Eastern Ontario.

Photolisting directories - U.S.

The following directories point to photolisting sites for U.S. and international adoption.

Adoption Photolisting List, Photolisting sites for: U.S. National and Regional Adoption; State Adoption Agencies; International Adoption; Non-profit Adoption Agencies (Asia Only).
State Adoption Exchange Websites, Adoption exchanges sponsored by state child welfare agencies (provide adoption information to educate prospective adoptive parents, and connect waiting families with waiting children). CWIG.
State Adoption Photolisting Websites, State photolisting services, providing pictures and descriptions of children in the state's foster care system who are available for adoption and waiting for families. CWIG.
Waiting Child Photolistings, Photolisting sites, by state, and internationally. Article on children's privacy and dignity.

Photolisting sites - U.S.

U.S. adoption exchanges publish photolisting books for one or more states, for regions or for the nation, and provide other information about children with special needs who are available for adoption. A sampling of state exchanges is shown below. Some private services, shown here, also display photolistings. The leading site is AdoptUSKids.

Adopt America Network, Toledo OH. Photos and info on special needs children in 47 states. U.S. agencies register their waiting children; parents register to adopt., Photolisting of 1,600 U.S. foster children and children abroad.
Adoption Album, Photolisting of New York State's waiting children. Registry for adopting parents. Subsidy information.
AdoptUSKids, National photolisting site showing 3,000 U.S. foster children available for adoption, and families approved to adopt. Families can search for children. Social workers can register children's photos and profiles and search for families. Adoption Exchange Assn., Baltimore MD. DHHS funding. Publishes "Lasting Impressions: A Guide for Photolisting Children", in print and online (PDF at
Children Awaiting Parents, CAP Book has photos and biographies of over 500 waiting special needs children from 44 states. Rochester NY.
Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Massachusetts children available for adoption. Boston MA.
National Adoption Center, Photos and descriptions of U.S. waiting special needs children. Learning Center. Adoption RoadMap. 300 children at Wednesday's Child web site. Philadelphia PA.
The Adoption Exchange, Waiting children from CO, MO, NV, NM, OK, SD, UT. Aurora CO.
Waiting Children of Asia in the U.S., Asian children waiting in U.S. state agencies for adoption.
Wednesday's Child, Children from the weekly U.S. TV show. National Adoption Center.

Photolisting sites - International

Answered Prayers, Photolisting of children available for adoption in Haiti orphanages.
Internet Adoption Photolisting, Over 900 children available for international adoption through 60 adoption agencies and over 15 countries. Annette Thompson, Precious in His Sight.
Rainbow Kids - Waiting Children, Children in many countries, submitted by agencies who place in the U.S.
Russian Orphan Database, Russian-language site with names and photos of 260,000 Russian orphans. Search by city, hair colour, eye colour, sex, etc. Category for disabled children. Launched June 1, 2005. Education Ministry, Russia.
Waiting Children of Asia, Special needs children of Asia waiting in orphanages.
Waiting Child Photolisting, U.S. private agencies list their waiting children. Mainly Eastern Europe and Asia.


 Adoption Resource Central
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Contact: Robin Hilborn,
Box 1353, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
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URLs verified, Jan. 25, 2007
Updated, Aug. 28, 2015

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