Thursday, February 26, 2015

International Adoption Grants and Loans

Last Updated:  February 26, 2105.  Currently active grants are in green.  Outdated grants are in red.  

There are TONS of adoption grants out there. Go ahead, type it into Google and see what you come up with. The list can be overwhelming and, a lot of times, out-dated. This list will not be comprehensive by any means but I will try my best to have the most updated information.

I literally spent hours googling and came up with about 20 grants to apply for. Some I've heard from. Most I have not. But, in the end, I think the applications were definitely worth my time. They can be overwhelming at first but they all ask for similar information in slightly different formats.

General Tips:
1. Most of the grants require a completed home study before you can apply. Others require I800A or I600A Approval. A few require an official referral. Go ahead and fill out the applications and gather them ahead of time. That way, you can mail them in as soon as you have the approvals you need.

2. A lot of grants are reviewed quarterly. You may think that your adoption will be completed by the time the review date roles around. Apply anyway. You never know how long an international adoption will take.

3. Google. Try using the type of adoption--international or domestic. Try using your child's country or disability. Try using your religious affiliation. Try your geographic area. Don't give up! There are lots of grants out there if you can find them.

4.  Ask your agency what grants they recommend.  They may have agency-specific grants that you qualify for.

5.  Don't be discouraged by the grants you don't qualify for.  There will be lots (especially if you are single).  Focus on the ones you do.


Grants Applied for:

1. Affording Adoption.
UPDATE:  September 2014:  Affording Adoption is no longer giving out grants because of a lack of funds.
*Reviewed quarterly.
*Must have a referral.
*Most grants are $1,000.
I got an email thanking me for sending my application.
*Received a grant.


2. Beautiful Feet Global Outreach
UPDATE:  February 2015:  The grant fund is temporarily out of funds and applications are not being accepted.
*Must have USCIS approval.
*Big supporters of Reece's Rainbow.
*I heard from them but was already fully funded.  

3. Boatner Family Foundation - This organization is listed on almost every grant list. You are told to send a letter asking for an application. My letter came back to me.


4. CARE - Christian Adoption Resources and Encouragement, Inc.
UPDATE:  February 2015:  CARE is not currently accepting applications.  They are waiting to have their non profit status reinstated.
*Applications are accepted from May 1 to October 1. Funds are dispersed the first week in November.
*I had to email to get the application. The one online had a fee involved.
*You must have an adoption agency to apply for this grant.
*Received notification of receipt of application.
*Was offered a grant but was already fully funded.  

5. Child of the King
UPDATE:  February 2015:  Their link is no longer active.
*I received my application in the mail marked "return to sender" more than 2 months after I applied.

6. A Child Waits Foundation
*Starts with a short pre-application.
*I was denied based on my pre-application.

7. Gift of Adoption
*You can apply when you have an approved home study.
*Requires an official referral before decision is made. Monthly emails and updates are required until you have an official match.
*Received a grant.
*I heard from another family that they were denied because they didn't have 50% of the funds they needed before applying.  

8. Golden Dawn Adoption Assistance
*For LDS and other Christian families. Requires a letter from your minister.
*For families adopting children with special needs and other hard to place children.
*Applications reviewed quarterly.
*Was offered a grant but had already returned home from the adoption trip.  

9. International Adoption Resources
UPDATE:  September 2013 - The link to the application is no longer valid.
*I have not heard anything regarding my application.

10. Kids for Kyla
*Usually reviewed annually.
*Also give grants for fertility treatments.
*Priority given to applicants who do not have children.
*Must have a completed home study.
*I received an email that I am a finalist.  

11. National Adoption Foundation
*Reviewed quarterly.
*Need to have a homestudy in progress.
*I have not heard anything about my application.  Others have not gotten responses either.  

12. The OATH Ministry - Orphans Awaiting Their Homes
UPDATE:   February 2015:  They are not currently accepting applications.
*Must have a completed home study.
*I received a small grant.  

13. ONELess Ministries
*Requires a pastor questionnaire.
*I received an email asking for a status update.
*I informed them that I am fully funded and to please take my name out of the running.


14. Open Hearts for Orphans
UPDATE:  February 2015:  Open Hearts for Orphans has been folded into Bethany Christian Services and is no longer giving grants.
*Christian Families
*Chicago area only
*Received emails promptly.
*I received a grant from this organization after an interview.


15. Room for One More
UPDATE:  February 2015:  None of the links on this page currently work.
*Received an email confirming receipt of the application.

16. Saving Children, Building Families
*You must have a completed home study.
*I haven't heard anything regarding my application.

17. Show Hope
*A very long application but well worth it.
*Reviewed 6 times a year.
*Must have a completed home study.
*For Christian families
*SH is now working with the Tim Tebow Foundation to give one grant a month specifically to families adopting children with special needs.
*Received an email confirming receipt of the application.
*Received a grant.

*I heard from a family that was denied.  They said it was still worth it to apply because they got a large list of resources and ideas from SH.  


Other Grants: (Because I am a single woman, I found a lot of grants that I don't qualify for.)

1,  America's Christian Credit Union
*Must be a member of the ACCU.

2.  Both Hands
*Partners with Lifesong for Orphans but can be applied for separately.
* Families set up teams and get pledges to work on a widow's home.  The pledges go to the adopting family.
*Must have completed home study.
*Singles may apply.

3.  Brittany's Hope
*Must use an affiliated adoption agency.
*Must be a special needs, international adoption.
*The family must raise half of their grant amount.

4.  A Brother's Love
UPDATE:  February 2015 - The link is no longer valid.
*Must have a completed homestudy and a referral.
*Hague countries only.
*Singles may apply.
*Letter of reference from pastor is needed.

5. Caroline's Promise
UPDATE:  February 2015 - The link is no longer valid.
*Christian couples
*North and South Carolina only

6.  Elijah's Truth
*Qualified Christian adoptive families
*Approved by a licensed agency
*Adopting a minority infant or have a referral from another country
*Only in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota
*Must have completed home study

7. Families Outreach
*Christian, married couples with the endorsement of their pastor.
*Must have a completed home study.
*I have heard of a couple of families that received grants from them.

8.  God's Grace Adoption Ministry
*Matching grants.
*Married, Christian couples only.
*Income of $60,000 or less.

9. GRACE fund
UPDATE:  February 2015 - The link is no longer active.  
*Only for families adoption from Ethiopia.

10. Grace Haven Ministries
UPDATE:  February 2015 - The link to the application is no longer active. 
*Christian couples only.
*Must have approved home study.

11. Hand in Hand
*Christian couples only.
*Matching grants only.
*Requires you to send out support letters to friends and family.

12.  Heart of the Bride
*Must have a current homestudy.
*Must have an adoption agency.

13. Help Us Adopt
*Must have a completed home study.
*Grants are given twice a year--in June and December.

14. IBSEN Adoption Foundation
*Washington State Families only

15.  Jeremiah 29:11 Project
*Currently fundraising for future grant cycles.
*I have heard of a family that received a grant from them.

16. JSC Foundation
*Only offers grants to married couples. (Since I attempted to apply, they have made this clear on their website.)
*Strict guidelines regarding family size and previous adoptions.
*I have heard from several people who have received grants.  

17.  Kael Man
*You must have a completed home study.
*You must be using an agency.
*Requires a statement of faith.

18.  Katelyn's Fund
*Christian couples only.
*Must have an agency.
*Focus on families making under $100,000.
*Process involves an interview. 
*Another family I know got a "no" from this agency.

19.  Kyle Reagan Foundation 
*Indiana Residents
*Must be using an agency.
*Must have dossier in country.
*Requires a letter from a pastor or church leader.

20.  Lifesong for Orphans
*Matching grants only.
*2 parent Christian Families only.
*Must have a completed home study.
*Requires a letter from your pastor.

21.  Lost Stork Foundation
UPDATE:  February 2015:  The link is no longer active.  
*Heterosexual married couples.
*In July 2013, the website says the grant applications will open in Spring 2013.
*Must show financial need.

22. Love Has Come
*Must have completed home study and a referral.
*Must have a licensed agency.
*Priority given to Montana families but others may apply.  

23.  Lydia Fund
*Christian couples only.
*International adoptions only.
*Must have an agency.
*Homestudy and USCIS in process.
*Apply at least 3 months before travel.
*Another family I know got a "no" from this agency.

24.  The Orphan Foundation
*Must have a completed home study.
*10 grants of $500 given each year.
*The child must be in an orphanage or institutional foster care.
*Another family I know got no response from their application.

25.  Orphan Impact 
*UPDATE: February 2015:  The link is no longer active.  

26.  Parenthood for Me
*As of February 2015, the 2015 grant cycle had been postponed.  
*Grants for adoption and fertility treatments.  
*Approved home study.
*Available to private or agency adoptions.
*Must demonstrate financial need.

27. Perpetual Change
*UPDATE:  February 2015:  Their website is currently under construction. I'm not sure if they are currently offering grants or not. I could not find an application on their website.

28. Sacred Selections
*Must have completed home study.
*Couples only.
*Do not need to have an adoption agency.
*Must be "members of a conservative, noninstitutional, noninstrumental, church of Christ."

29. Sea of Faces Foundation
UPDATE:  February 2015:  They are no longer giving adoption grants.  
*Christian, married couples only
*Must have a referral from a developing country


Other Fund Raising Organizations:

1.  Abba Fund
*Christian Families only
*Can be used for home study costs.  

2. Adopt Together
*Allows you to post a family profile and receive tax-deductible donations.
*I had a profile with them and raised $49.
*Another family mentioned that they were given a small grant in addition to the money they received in donations.


3.  Connected Hearts Ministry
UPDATE:  February 2015 - The links to their family sponsorship program do not work.  
*Allows families to post profiles and receive tax-deductible donations.
*Completed home study and matched with a child.
*Older or Special Needs Children only.
*Must have an accredited agency.

*Allows you to post a profile and receive tax-deductible donations. 
*Child must have special needs.
*Funds released at travel.



Adoption Loans:
1.  Abba Fund
*Interest Free Loans
*Process takes 6 to 8 weeks.  
*Christian Familys only

2.  A Child Waits Foundation
*Must have a licensed agency.
*Covers only final payments when all other avenues have been exhausted.
*Low interest loan.
*$10,000 limit.

3.  America's Christian Credit Union
*Up to $50,000
*Also an Equity Loan Option
*Adotion Visa is also an option
*

4.  Hebrew Free Loan
*For the Jewish Community
*Up to $15,000

5.  National Adoption Foundation
*Up to $35,000.

6.  Oxford Adoption Foundation 
*$5,000 per child
*Only after adoption has been granted by the foreign country
*0% interest for the first 3 years

7.  Pathways for Little Feet
*Interest free loans
*Up to $7,500
*Monthly payment amount set by the family.  



I know that there are many, many more grant and loan organizations out there. If you've had experience with another one, please let me know. I'd like to keep this list as updated as possible.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

Some big changes are coming to our little family.  Big changes.

The first huge change is moving.  We are planning to move this summer to be closer to my family.  I've been almost 600 miles from my family since I finished college 15 years ago.  I've enjoyed my independence and never planned to move back.  But, kids change everything.  There are tons of reasons to stay and tons of reasons to move but I really want Sara to be near her family and that trumps the rest of the list.

My parents and I are working on a housing situation since rental options in the middle of no where are pretty limited.  I have almost finished the process to transfer my teaching license to NY.  (Although I'm open to lots of employment options.)  I've met with a Realtor and am cautiously optimistic about selling my house here.  I've been looking for jobs but it's still pretty early to get serious about anything.  Please pray with us for a great job (I love the one I'm leaving here) and that we will at least break even on the house.  

A big bonus of moving is access to free babysitters---aka the grandparents!  I have been blessed with amazing sitters for Sara after school and on her days off.  I would not be able to make it without them.  I also have respite care through a local agency but Sara will not stay with them.  (The emotional impact was not worth a few hours away.)  My parents adore Sara and she loves them.  They are pretty much the only ones I can leave her with without major tears and trauma.  (Although my dad learned at Christmas that she doesn't really like to go out without mom.)  Knowing that I will be able to run to the store alone occasionally or go to the doctor without a shadow is very relieving to me.  I'm glad that we've had these two years together to establish our little family but it's time to accept some help.  This mom is tired.

Now that I've admitted I'm exhausted, it's time to announce something else.  I might just be crazy but I'm planning to start another adoption once we are settled.  I have my eye on a little one but I'm hoping and praying she doesn't have to wait that long for a family.  (You know those prayers.  Dear God, please help me find her a family quickly.  If not, please let my agency have her file in the fall.  Because I want her to have a mom.  Soon.  But I really want to be her mom.)  I swore I would never go back to Sara's country but I think adoption is like labor.  It doesn't seem to bad from this side of things.  It was hard but totally worth it.   Sure.  I'd do it again.  

Sara has adjusted so well and is becoming so independent.  She loves babies and I think will do really well with a younger sibling (once she learns to share mommy).  I've had people asking me for the last two years when I was going to adopt again.  Reading this little girl's file and really thinking about what life would look like with another one makes me think that the time is near.  As long as the transition to our new home and life goes well, I really think we'll be in a position to start a new adoption in the fall.  

I have set up a Future Adoption Account and will change some of my advocacy and fund raising efforts in order to be as financially ready as possible when I can finally commit and start a home study.  (I know I won't save enough for the whole adoption by then but I'm hoping for enough to get me started.)  I'll be adding a small amount out of each pay check to the account.  I'll also be putting in any money that I make from selling items that we won't be moving.  (I love online garage sale sites!)  I'll be using my Swagbucks points to get paypal gift cards which I can transfer to the account.  I'll also be adding some money from Scarves and Skirts for Sara and Avon for Adoptions.  And once my car is paid off in the new few months, that account is really going to grow!

I will continue to use Scarves and Skirts for Sara to raise money for friends who are adopting.  When I sell items, I usually charge twice what the yarn cost me plus shipping costs.  (There are a few exceptions.)  I keep half of the money from each sale to cover my costs.  Up until now, the other half has gone to an adopting family or waiting child.  Starting with any new orders, I will give 25% of the price to the current family or child and put the other 25% in my future adoption account.  

I will also continue to use Avon sales from Avon for Adoptions to help adopting families.  I have always donated my 20% commission to adopting families.  Starting March 1, when a family is holding a fund raiser, they will get 15% of each purchase and I will keep the other 5% for my future adoption fund.  If there is not an active fund raiser going on, all 20% will go into my savings account.  

I realize this is probably a lot more technical information than a lot of you wanted but I really strive to be honest and forthcoming about all of my fundraising efforts--whether they are for myself or someone else.

Those are the two big changes that I'm ready to vaguely announce for our little family.  Who knows what other changes our future holds.  Stay tuned.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Baby Leo---So Many Thoughts

Everyone in the Down syndrome community (and society in general) is all abuzz about Baby Leo and his dad.  When the story first broke, Leo's Dad claimed that he was given an ultimatum:  His baby (who has DS) or his wife.  He was declared a hero and thousands upon thousands were raised for him and his son on their Go Fund Me page.  A few days later, the mom came out with her side of the story.  It's a story that struck a chord with me because it's so true all over the world.  She knew that her son would not be accepted in her native Armenia so she wanted to place the baby in an orphanage.  After all, that's what people do in Armenia (and around the world) when their child is born with a disability.

Now, of course, there are a million questions and speculations going on:

*Why isn't the mom going with the Dad to New Zealand? 
*Why couldn't they raise the child together in Armenia?
*Do most kids with disabilities in Armenia really end up in orphanages?
*Does the dad really need all that money?
*Were the parents going to get divorced any way?

*Is that dad really a nice guy?
*Doesn't the dad already have tons of money?

*What is the dad going to do with all that money?
*Did the dad already have a disabled child and family in New Zealand?

And on and on and on.....

I have no idea where the donations are coming from.  Are they from mostly Americans?  Armenians? Or people all over the world? I don't know.

I find it fascinating that so many people care about this little baby.  I'm glad they do.  They should.  But there are so many kids around the world (and in our own country) with Down syndrome and other disabilities that no one cares about.  In the US, an estimated 92% of women who get a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to end that pregnancy.  Americans have no right to judge how other countries deal with children with Down syndrome.  We don't even let them exist.

In many countries around the world, children with disabilities are given up at birth and placed in orphanages or institutions.  (That is my daughter's story.)  It wasn't that long ago that we did just that the in the US.  Hid kids away and told their families to forget they existed. I won't judge birth parents for doing that.  They don't know any differently and are following the advice of doctors and "experts."  To say they are unwanted or were unloved because of their disability majorly oversimplifies a very complex issue. 

People all over the world have a lot of work to do to overcome the huge stigma of disability.  This is true of the US, Colombia, Armenia, and the entire world.  Until then, we need to find ways to support families so they can have the confidence and ability to raise their children.  All of their children.  Mission to Ukraine is a great example of an agency doing that every day in Eastern Europe.

If you want to help children who have already been placed in orphanages because of their disability, you can check out Maya's Hope.

If you would like to help some kids in the same country as baby Leo find adoptive families, you can make a donation to any of these kids.  Or pick one and share their profile!

If you would like to help a family that is adopting two kids from the same country as baby Leo, you can make a donation to the VanHalle family here.

Let's not worry about who is right and who is wrong in the situation.  Let's use it to highlight the plight of kids with Down syndrome around the world.  Let's use it to make a child or family's life a little better!  

If baby Leo's story makes you mad or  sad or indignant or even curious, do something about it!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 - Our Year in Review - Part 1

I know.  I've been very negligent when it comes to updates.  It's certainly not because there aren't things going on.  Maybe it's because there is too much going on.  Here's a summary of our 2014:

January:

We rang in the New Year in Maine with my Dad and my brother.  Our actual New Years Eve was not very exciting.
However, I got to spend New Years Day with my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and many of my cousins.  We picked my Uncle up to take him to see my grandmother.  He himself had been in the hospital since the fall.  It was fun to be with him while he experienced life outside of those four walls for the first time in months.  Sadly, my grandmother passed away two days later.  

On the 14th, we celebrated one year together.  


We went to Disney Princesses on Ice.  It's possible that Tia and Mommy enjoyed it a little more than Sara.  


The rest of the month was cold, snowy, and uneventful.  




February:  
February was more cold and snow.  



March:
In March, we got to meet our friends the Aschoffs in real life.  They also have a daughter from Colombia.  We met up with them at the IDSC's meet up at Great Wolf Lodge.  Sara was in her glory!  

We rocked our socks for World Down Syndrome Day! 

April:

We drove to Cincinnati and  NY for Spring Break.  Sara is a serious road trip warrior.  

We got to hang out with the Allison family in Cincinnati and meet their newest additions.  They adopted their son around the same time that I adopted Sara. 

A few days later, we flew to Maine for my grandmother's memorial service.  

Sara started swimming lessons.  

We had a quiet Easter with just the two of us.  



And then my poor baby got pneumonia.  

Sara took a tumbling class.  



May:

Sara rode a pony at her school's Family Fun Night.  This was something she refused to do in the fall.  

We did a 5k for my work.  She ran some, walked some, and rode some.


She loved the Memorial Day parade.

June:  

She was in her first ever school program!

My baby finished Kindergarten.

We were both in Tia Anna's wedding.  

I officially finished my 14th year of teaching.  

Sara went to summer school in the mornings for a few weeks while I tried to remember what I used to do before she consumed every minute of my life.

We made a quick trip back to New York to see my brother George graduate from high school.

I love her confidence.  


Check back soon for the rest of the year!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Christmas Scarves


Here is one of my Christmas Fund Raisers for Angel Tree.  $10 from each scarf purchase goes to help this little girl find her forever family.  


The scarves are made from beautiful Christmas ribbon.  They can be sewn into cowls upon request.

These fabrics are also available.  

These scarves are available for $15.

If ruffles aren't your thing, you can check out other hand knit items here.  50% of each purchase will go to Kimberley's grant.

If scarves and knit items don't interest you, you can order Avon items here.  10% of each purchase during October and November will go to Kimberley's grant.  During December, that number doubles to 20%!  Make sure to follow the Avon Facebook page to see current sales and new items.

The Angel Tree officially starts on November 1st.  During November and December, you will get an adorable ornament with Kimberley's picture for a donation of $35 or more.




Monday, October 6, 2014

From Unwanted to Wanted

My new friend Priscilla has started the Ribbon Box Project.  You can read the original story here on her blog.  The general idea is that someone gave Priscilla a box of ribbon.  The woman wanted to help her with her adoption but didn't have money.  Rather than just give up, she gave what she had.  A box of ribbon.


Priscilla has turned this into the Ribbon Box Project.  She's going to document every dollar that comes in from that box of ribbon so she can show this precious woman how much she really did give.  Above and beyond that, she is going to use these ribbons and other donated supplies, to make bows for other adopting families.  Priscilla is adopting.  She doesn't have cash to help other families.  But with donated items, she'll do what she can!

So here is where you come in.  I'd like to replicate her project with yarn.  (I wouldn't have a clue what to do with ribbon.)  If you or someone you know have yarn sitting around the house that you're never going to use or you just don't want, please send it my way.  If you are local, we can figure out a good time for me to pick it up.  If you aren't local, you can message me on my knitting page and I'll give you my address.  For the cost of shipping, you could help a child be united with their forever family!

I will take the yarn and make something new, usable, wanted.  These items will then have their own album on my knitting page.  They will be available at no cost to families who are adopting and fund raising.  They can use them for auctions, give-aways, or whatever they want.  The cost of the shipping of the finished products will be my donation.

By taking something unwanted, and giving it away, you can help a child who is very much wanted!



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Angel Tree - Kimberley - Year 2

I'm not going to lie, I'm sad to be advocating and fund raising for Kimberley again this year.  I wasn't going to do the Angel Tree project again this year (I'm pretty busy with my own little munchkin, Avon sales, knitting, and 5/5/5 for families) but I just can't let this little girl down.  She needs someone to gush over her progress and take before and after pictures.  She needs a Christmas stocking and gifts.  She needs LOVE!  She NEEDS and DESERVES a family.  

I'll be working hard this Christmas season to raise money for her grant.  I hope that people will help by ordering items and sharing fund raisers.  More importantly, though, I'd love for my friends, family, and followers to SHARE HER!   She needs to be seen.  She needs to be loved and cherished.  

As you probably know, I found my daughter through an organization called Reece's Rainbow.  Each year at Christmas time, they have a huge Angel Tree project with a goal of raising $1,000 for hundreds of children on their site.  This money is held in a grant and then used to help pay for that child's adoption when a family is found.  (Sara had $0 in her grant when I committed to her.  $1,000 would have been a huge blessing!)  

Again this year, I have signed up to raise money and awareness for Kimberley.

She is an adorable 7-year-old in a country that I love in Latin America.  The country has a very small international adoption program.  For a long time, the country leaders felt that kids with Down syndrome were unadoptable.  Some brave families have worked very hard to change that perception.  Wouldn't it be great if Kimberley was the next one to show them that kids with Down syndrome are wanted by families?

I'm working on a virtual craft/vendor fair that will raise money for Kimberley, for my friend Emily's AT child, and for the school where I work.  This fund raiser has the potential to be huge.

I'm also thinking about ways to raise the rest of the money.  Just in case the local fund raiser isn't as epic as I'm planning.  

*All orders from my Scarves and Skirts for Sara page will benefit Kimberley during the months of October, November, and December.  It's not too early to think about special orders for Christmas!  I've found some great Christmas ruffle fabrics for really fun scarves.  

*10% of all AVON orders from my Avon site will benefit Kimberley during the months of October and November 20% of all sales from AVON will go to Kimberley during December.  (I am part of the Virtual Craft Fair that benefits the IDSC during October and November so they get 10% of all orders as well.)

*I will have some items in a large group auction that will benefit multiple children in November.  (I'll post the link as soon as I have it.)  

If you would like to help in any way, please let me know!  If you are interested in helping your own child this Christmas season, you can check out the Angel Tree page on Reece's Rainbow.

*Anyone who makes a donation of $35 or more to any child on the Angel Tree will receive an adorable ornament with the child's picture.  What a great gift for those people on your list who have everything!