“Some babies grow up in their mommy’s bellies — you grew up in my heart.” This is what my sister used to say to explain adoption to my niece and nephew as toddlers. I knew I loved Ariana and Anthony from the moment I met them, but I didn’t know that they would one day inspire me to start a company that helps parents create loving families through adoption.
My introduction to the adoption world began 10 years ago, when my sister adopted two children internationally. The process was a multi-year, difficult, stressful, and very expensive endeavor. When she finally went to the orphanage, which housed over 300 children, she asked the women who ran the orphanage, “Do most of these children get adopted?” They replied, “No, you are the only parents to visit in the past 3 years.”
I was shocked. There seemed to be a disconnect. If there are so many orphans in need of loving families, why is it so difficult and expensive to adopt? Other than validating that the families are qualified to provide a safe and loving home, shouldn’t the process be expedited to encourage more families to take in orphans?
My personal experience led me to research adoption more broadly. I discovered that each year, roughly 6 million children are orphaned worldwide, 3 million families express an interest in adoption, and 1 million families take steps to adopt. Yet only 250,000 parents end up adopting. The reason why more than 90% of families drop out of the process is due to the difficulty and cost. It can cost anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000 to adopt a child. It takes 1-3 years. And there are more than 50 documents to complete.
I also read about what happens to children who are not adopted. If a child grows up in an orphanage without a family, research shows that children tend to have attachment disorders and other emotional issues. If the orphanage has insufficient funding, children can grow up malnourished and receive poor education. This leaves them with very little opportunities in life. Without a family’s support or skills, they become extremely vulnerable to sexual or physical abuse, drugs, illegal activity, child prostitution, or child marriage. Orphans “age out” of orphanages at different ages depending on the country and institution. In some parts of Africa, children “age out” at 5 and are put on the streets, simply because the orphanage can’t afford to keep them there. Many of them die.
The thought that my niece and nephew came very close to spending their life in an orphanage seemed completely unacceptable to me. I decided that one day I would get involved in adoption in some way. I first pursued a career in business and technology at McKinsey, then in tech in Silicon Valley, and finally in venture capital. After working in tech, I realized that software can help the adoption process tremendously. The majority of the adoption process is done manually with parents printing, signing, scanning and faxing documents, which greatly adds to the burden.
I decided to start Binti with a focus on reducing the cost, administrative hassle, complexity and frustration from the adoption process. Binti creates a TurboTax-like experience for adoption, using online tools to streamline the process. Combined with close partnerships with local adoption agencies and highly attentive account managers, Binti provides a best-in-class project management service for adoptions.
Binti’s mission is to make it easier for qualified parents to adopt, ultimately increasing the number of adoptions and therefore, the number of orphans who are given homes. My dream is a day when every child has a loving family. I’m extremely excited to be working in an area I’ve been so passionate about for many years.
Please join Binti and me on our journey. Here are ways you can help:
Thank you for helping to support the future of adoption.
Founder and CEO, Binti