I recently had the opportunity to talk to Kimberly Ashbrook, the program manager at Dream4Adoption. Dream4Adoption is a new grant for families for any type of adoption. The unique thing about this grant is that while adoption grants require an approved home study to apply, this one is intended to help families have the funds they need to start a home study.
Please tell me a little about your family and how you became interested in adoption.
Our family was the standard American family for many years. A few years ago, we had a great surprise with the miracle of our little guy. What makes our story different, is this ever long dream to adopt a child.
From the very beginning of our marriage, there was a discussion about having our own children or adopting. Twenty-one years and two almost grown children later, the discussion came up again. This time it was because of a difficult pregnancy with the news that we should not try for any more children. Although it would be great to raise a child without a sibling near his age, we felt that we could fill our dream and adopt. With only boys in the house, we have optioned to adopt a girl.
What made you decide to start the Dream4Adoption grant?
The birth of Dream4Adoption was born out of two specific thoughts. First, it was based on our inability to commit to the cost of adoption along with that inability to research like we can today. Lastly, during our current adoption process, we found many grants that we did not qualify for. It was very heartbreaking to know that only certain people can get grants. It was frustrating and unfair in our opinion for some of these organizations to limit funds based on anything other than the parent(s) ability to raise a child. Understandably, there are criteria reasons to consider, like criminal history and certain health issues.
The Dream4Adoption grant came to light from our stopping point twenty-one years ago; the fear of the cost upfront. If Dream4Adoption could help fund the home study phase, how many more candidates would take the next step instead of waiting like we did?
Grants usually require a completed home study to apply. Since your grant is to be used for a home study, what is your process to make sure only serious applicants receive the funds?
Dream4Adoption has put together a pretty good application, guidelines and financial worksheets that will help in making sure serious candidates have applied. As a secondary layer, Dream4Adoption will only make the initial funds payable to the agency, lawyer, home study provider or other qualified third party. We also have a small application fee of $35 to apply, 3 references with letters and a personal essay to be included in the package.
Can individuals or families apply if they have already started or completed their home study?
The initial grant process for this cycle will allow those in the process of adoption to apply. The client must have an agency or other provider approve them. With a grant approval, Dream4Adoption will reach out to those parties identified on the application to verify approval. The client must also have their application in prior to bringing the child home. Therefore, we have left the cycle open to a larger audience to help us learn and help as many in the adoption process as we can during this cycle. We will assess what we learned and may change criteria. We are also hoping to add other programs next year to help other families, but the home study grant will be our staple.
I notice that part of your grant funding is a $500 “Welcome Home” grant. Can you tell me more about that?
Our “Welcome Home” portion of the grant is a type of bonus for making it through the process. We have thought deeply about how the grant will work and how we can make it one step better for returning families. Many families use every bit of money they have to finance the adoption process. By giving them a “Welcome Home” grant at the end, the family can take a look at the needs that have in front of them and they will have $500.00 to help. From medical costs to repayment on loans, there is always something that the family will need when they bring the child home.
Is there anything else you would like to share about Dream4Adoption?
While in the process of adoption ourselves, we decided to move forward with the charity. Even though we cannot help ourselves through the charity, it is a way to stay focused during our wait to be matched. The adoption community is pretty close and are very passionate about family. That easily help us to pursue the charity prior to our adoption being completed.
Our goal at Dream4Adoption is to fund adoptions in any way we can. We are looking for funding around every corner we can find. We have began developing two more grants that we are contacting sources of funding for their support. To be the premier organization for funding is something that we take seriously and our board is focused on growing rapidly to help people get that Dream4Adoption. There are way too many orphans out there that need a forever family.
As our website states, we want to be an organization that is “Connecting the World, One Child at a Time”.