Thursday, April 25, 2013

Adoption Grants Part 2

This post is a continuation of the adoption grant series, you can read part 1 here

For this post, I wanted to compile a list of reputable grant organizations that I either 1. received a grant from 2. know someone personally who received a grant or 3. could otherwise be verified as reputable. I hope you will comment if you know other grant organizations that are reputable.

So here is my list so far:

1. Show Hope
Criteria: Married, Christian couples who are home study ready.
Deadlines: quarterly deadlines with an online portion and supported documents sent separately

2. Gift of Adoption
Criteria: home study ready families, no religious criteria, agency or independent adoption
Deadline: monthly reviews

3. Affording Adoption:
Criteria: they are currently fundraising for future grants, but keep checking their website

4.Salvation International
Criteria: home study ready families
Deadline: quarterly grant deadlines, see website

5. A Child Waits
Criteria: home study ready families, prefer toward the end of adoption to give travel fund grants
Deadlines: ongoing

6. Help Us Adopt
Criteria: home study ready families, prefers families with no children currently
Deadline: twice yearly (April and October)

7. Lifesong for Orphans
Criteria: homestudy, pastoral reference letter. Offers matching grants and interest free loans
Deadline: n/a

8. One Less Ministries
Criteria, home study, statement of faith, pastoral questionnaire
Deadline: n/a

9. Jeremiah 29:11 Project
-watch the website for application periods, at this time they are reviewing and fundraising current applicants

10. Beautiful Feet Global Outreach
Criteria: home study ready families, statement of faith required
Deadline: ongoing

11.  Lydia Fund
Criteria: Married, Christian couples with home study.
Deadline: will review 90 days after application received

12. CARE
Criteria: home study ready families, faith based grant
Deadline: rolling based on funds

13. His Kids Too
 Criteria: Christian, homestudy ready couples
Deadline: n/a

14. Sea of Faces
I read that they are in fundraising phase right now, but keep checking the website for updates. Usually a quarterly grant program.

15. Families Outreach
Criteria: homestudy ready families, requires a pastoral letter
Deadline: will review in 4-6 weeks

16. JSC Foundation
Criteria: homestudy ready families, faith based grant
Deadline: 5 deadlines throughout the year

17. Heart of the Bride
Criteria: Christian, married couples with homestudy and agency
Deadline: ongoing

18. Love Has Come
Criteria: Christian family, home study complete, using a licensed 501(c)3 agency. Priority given, but not limited to, Montana families.
Deadline: Quarterly

Please stay tuned for part 3 in the Adoption Grants series. It's my favorite grant program of all time and a HUGE part of Afua's adoption story.And part 4 will include other ways to raise funds for your adoption, including tax-deductible adoption accounts, matching grants and fundraisers.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Adoption Grants Part 1

Adoption grants are one way to help with adoption costs. During our two adoptions, we have applied and qualified for adoption grants of various sizes. I have been so grateful that people have shared their knowledge of grants with us, and I thought I would "pay it forward". I also spoke with a  board member of a grant giving organization who chose us for a grant and it gave me some insight on what the organizations may be looking for.

Some tips when filling out the grant applications:

1. Be yourself
Really, the organizations, especially the smaller ones want to get to know you. Even though the application may be a "fill the blanks" type, there will always be a way to personalize it. Include your family picture, or if there are open ended questions, tell them your adoption story. Even if you have just finished your home study, you have a story. If they choose you for a grant, they will likely want to tell your story to their supporters. Just be yourself and let them see who your family is.

2. Include everything they ask for
A major reason for turning down an application right away, is due to missing documents. There is a reason why they ask for specific things and either have everything ready, or wait until you do. When an organization receives more applications than they can give grants to, this becomes the easiest way to thin down the pile.  If there is a major reason why you don't have a document to share with them, you could always explain (may or may not work) but at least acknowledge this with them. Also fill in every box in the application, double check this before you send it.

3. Focus on grants for your circumstances
Many grants have religious preferences. Don't apply unless you fit their criteria. Some grants have a domestic adoption focus, special needs adoption focus, older child focus, sibling group focus, Asia focus etc.  Some grant organizations post statistics on who received their grant, read those and see if you might fall into that category. Start your process by focusing on the ones that fit your circumstances the best, and then by all means apply for the others.

4. Make a goal for yourself
It's easy to look at the number of applications and get overwhelmed. I tend to do my applications in small batches. Like 2-3 at a time. However long you want to give yourself to get them done, make a goal and stick with it. Keep copies of all documents, some you may need multiple times. Ask for general reference letters from 3-4 people. Speak with your pastor, he or she will need to get involved with some grants.

5.  Don't focus on the "biggies" only
There are a handful of well known grant organizations that provide big grants for adoptive families. They receive many applications and are only able to help a select a limited number of families. It's a huge blessing to be one of the select few. But there are many smaller non-profits that also offer grants and the odds of being selected are in your favor. It may take a bit more work to find them, but so worth it if you are a recipient.

6. Follow up
This is huge!!!!!! I can't emphasize this enough. If a grant says they will review applications in a certain time frame and you don't hear from them, don't assume you have not been selected. One grant we applied for, I knew that their timeline for reviews had passed and I emailed them for follow up. It lead to a string of emails and ultimately grant approval. Had I assumed this was a denial, I would have missed out on a grant. Many organizations are small and things happen. One particular grant started out smaller, but they received unexpected donations and it ended up doubling in value. So please, don't only focus on the "biggies", the small ones are just as important.

7. Gratitude
When you receive a grant, make sure you keep them updated on your progress. Some grants depend on your story to be able to raise funds for future grants. Let them know when your child is home, send them pictures and thank yous. This will help future families and keep the grants going. And once you are in a financial position to do so, pay it forward by sending a donation to them. Another adoptive family will be blessed by you paying it forward.

Please post any tips you may have in the comments, I am sure others will have wisdom to share.

Part 2 will talk about actual grant organizations....

Friday, April 12, 2013


Yesterday morning I woke up to see pictures of my little girl. It does good to my heart to see that she is smiling and a little determined too. It will serve her well later on. Of course it brought more intense feeling of missing her, remembering how it feels to hold her and all the little sounds she makes. But I would rather miss her this intensely than not know how she is doing.

I especially love the last picture. I am not sure if Auntie Comfort will let me leave Ghana with Afua :) They have a beautiful bond and Comfort is such a blessing to us while we can't be with our daughter.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The middle

Between the leap of faith to adopt and having your child(ren) home, is the middle. It can be incredibly hard place to be. As a mother, my heart was not created to be split in two. My arms ache when my children are not near. I worry when one is away, even when I know they are safe and loved. But especially when one is in an orphanage, the worry, heartbreak and arm ache multiplies. Since we don't receive reports or updates, we operate on faith alone. We trust that this story will have a happy ending. It's already written, we just need to walk in it.