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"A Family Is What You Make It" That’s what National Public Radio Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep says. He should know – Steve is both an adopted person and an adoptive father. A few years ago Steve, Carolee, his wife, and their daughter, Ava, traveled to China to welcome Ana Xiao, a vivacious three-and-ahalf-year-old, into their family. Steve and Carolee shared their adoption story, and why they trusted Barker to help them on their journey.  

Choosing the right adoption agency to see you through this journey is nearly as important as making the choice to adopt 

Carolee researched a number of adoption agencies and options before choosing Barker. “Barker’s non-profit status was important to us and it had the right spirit. We felt good about its experience and connections.” Barker’s work with birth mothers both before and after placement was also a factor. “We wanted to work with someone who made sure birth mothers had access to counseling before making their decisions and forever after. We felt it was a marker of ethics and integrity,” Carolee says. The Inskeeps chose to adopt through Barker’s China Waiting Child program, a program that places children with mild to moderate special needs or slightly older ages with families. “Ana was born with a hole in her heart, but surgeons had already corrected it by the time we met her,” Steve explains. Today, Ana is an adorable, rambunctious, funny little girl who adores her big sister and thrives at a bilingual charter school, where she studies in both Mandarin and English.

See the need, meet the need

Carolee urges prospective families to be open to Barker’s China Waiting Children program. “Ana had amazing care. The loving nannies who cared for her taught Ana how to build and maintain proper relationships. She was also aware that children get a mommy and daddy and move away so when she came to us she understood she was supposed to be in a different situation.” Children waiting in the CWC program range from 2 to 6 years old, and while the children in this program may have minor to moderate medical needs, the majority of the children joining families in the U.S. have minor, managable or correctable conditions. This is one of Barker's fastest moving programs within International Adoption. Steve says going through the adoption process made him even more comfortable with his own adoption at 10 days old. In an interview with Newsweek, Steve shared that since bringing Ana home people have said things like "You're doing a noble thing." He goes on to say "Thanks, but I'm not. Adoption is hard, but not a sacrifice. We did not bring Ana home to save her or change the world. We did it to add to our family, just as my parents did years ago."  Read more about Steve's Newsweek story here.  

There are many children that are awaiting their Forever Family. If the China Waiting Children Program sounds like an option you would like to explore or if you would like to learn more about other countries we work in, visit our International Adoption page or email tij@barkerfoundation.org