Tag Archives: Adoption Resources

Taking the bus to Hong Kong

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Although American families end their adoption trip in Guangzhou, China, many will travel to Hong Kong to fly home. There are a few reasons for this. First, the Guangzhou airport has a reputation for having major flight delays. Secondly, Hong Kong was a port city to the West for many years. For this reason there are more direct flight options available. Fares are often significantly cheaper departing from Hong Kong, enough to make it worth the trouble of traveling there and getting an airport hotel for the night. Most families travel to Hong Kong by either private van or train (tickets are around $25/adult plus taxi fare to the station). However, taking a bus is a lesser known option. This is a guest post from adoptive parent Kaylin who recently returned from China. She has helpfully provided photos as well.

34132891_10109209027467165_312276424868233216_nWe are flying out of Hong Kong in the morning and came to HK by bus this afternoon. I wanted to provide some additional information as my research indicated this is an underutilized resource. A $400 private van or challenging (yet more economical) train ride are not your only options for getting from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. I made notes as we used the CTS Bus this afternoon and am including as much detail as possible so that hopefully others will benefit from this information. The bus station is literally steps away from the entrance to the China Hotel. When you exit the China hotel (where we stayed), you immediately turn left and walk down the sidewalk. You basically will run into the bus station. Have your guide help you purchase tickets the day before you plan to use the bus… there are tickets that are direct to the airport and others that aren’t. Our guide was able to help ensure we got on a direct bus. The bus runs about every 30 minutes from 5:30am to 9:00pm.
33987311_10109209037077905_4086098307636527104_nThe bus is an approximately 50-passenger air-conditioned Greyhound-style bus. It costs 210RMB ($32.81 USD) per ticket; Free for kids under three. We bought two tickets for 1:00 pm today since our daughter is 2. At 12:50 we arrived to the bus station and an English-speaking CTS staff looked at our ticket and told us which bus to get on. We loaded our own suitcases onto the luggage area beneath the bus. The bus left China hotel promptly at 1:00pm. It made no additional stops but other passengers were on the bus who had already been picked up. The bus was a little over half full.

 

34016200_10109209041024995_8570710649095585792_nAt 2:52pm, we arrived at HK customs/immigration station where everyone got off the bus. As soon as we got off the bus, CTS staff (in shirts indicating they worked for CTS) identified us, confirmed where we were going, and told us to grab our luggage. They directed us to a minivan going to the airport. Before we got in the minivan, we were handed short immigration forms to fill out. We were directed by CTS staff to the appropriate minivan going nonstop to HK airport. The times with just an airplane beneath them are direct to the airport.

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At 3:05 pm, after we got into the minivan, we gave the completed forms and our passports to the driver. One other passenger was in the minivan going to HK airport. The first stop the van made was to China immigration inspection. The driver simply handed the agent the form we filled out and passports. The other passenger was asked to show his boarding pass (he handed them his phone with that info pulled up), but we weren’t asked to show a boarding pass. We stayed in the van. The driver then drove forward to the customs declaration kiosk-an agent came to van and took our temperature with an infrared thermometer — again, we stayed in the van whole time.

By 3:11pm, we were heading to the airport. No additional stops were made.

At 3:46pm, we arrived at the HK airport. The other passenger in the minivan with us got out and then we asked the driver if he would take us to our hotel (Marriott Skycity) which we could see from the airport drop off spot. He graciously complied. If he hadn’t, we would’ve found the shuttle to the Marriott Skycity that runs every 20 minutes.

At 3:51pm we arrived at Marriott Skycity. The whole process took just under three hours. If we had planned to take the bus from china hotel to HK airport tomorrow morning to make our 2:30 pm flight, our guide was suggesting that we leave at 5-6am due to the possibility of traffic in GZ and HK. We did not run into traffic at the hours we traveled today.  That would’ve made for a very long travel day so we opted to come to Hong Kong a day early. The bus also stops at the garden hotel.

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How does this all work now, anyway??

Those who are new to adoption are always a little confused by the process but lately confusion about the China program process is by no means limited to newbies. Maybe you adopted from China a really long time ago, like back in the ancient of times of late 2016, and now that you’re ready to start the process again you find yourself bewildered by all of the changes. My goal with this post is to give a short summary of the current process, as well as answer common questions. I will try to make it clear when I’m giving verified information as opposed to giving my own speculation as to how some things will be effected by the changes. Let’s start with the process.

  1. Preliminary

Make sure you qualify to adopt under China’s current eligibility guidelines. The June 2017 eligibility requirements are more restrictive than those issued in December 2014. The CCCWA reiterated in January 2018 that they will not be granting waivers for families who do not meet the requirements. However, I always suggest families contact a reputable agency about the requirements before ruling out the China program, particularly if the issue is the health or financial requirements. There is a lot of complexity to the guidelines so often people assume they are not eligible when they in fact are eligible.

2. Begin the home study process

The new US guidelines require a family have a completed home study before they can be matched with a child. Everyone should start on their home study as soon as possible because you cannot be matched without it. The home study process will take several weeks, so you can choose your placing agency during that time.

If you previously preferred to find your child and sign with the agency which held the file before beginning a home study, that is not an option any longer. It’s my understanding that you could get your home study to the point where it needs a placing agency to finalize, then sit in a holding pattern until you have found a child you wish to pursue. The placing agency which holds the file can work quickly to finalize your home study so that you can be matched with the child.

For those families who only need a home study update, you could choose to look for your child before beginning the update. However, you cannot submit LOI until the update is complete so you would need to understand there is the possibility that someone else could lock the file during that time.

3. Have a finalized home study and be signed with a placing agency

Congratulations! Now you can be matched with any special focus file.

4. Have your dossier logged into the CCCWA’s system

Congratulations! Now you can be matched with any file, whether it is designated LID or special focus. In addition, if you would like to pursue a child whose file is designated to another agency, they are required to transfer the file to your agency. If you would like to understand how the shared list matching process works or how to minimize your wait for a match, read this blog post.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are these changes going to effect wait times to be matched?

It is difficult to predict wait times at the moment because partnership files are only now tapering off. We don’t have a lot of shared list matching data to know what the average is going to look like. In my opinion:

  • If you are open to older children or those with moderate-greater special needs, you will still be able to be matched almost immediately. There are thousands of children who have a completed file who are waiting for a family right now. Close to half of them have either Down syndrome or cerebral palsy as their diagnosis. About one-third are over ten years of age.
  • For small agencies which couldn’t afford to have dozens of partnerships, the wait time to match will probably decrease because they will have access to more files under an all shared list program.
  • For agencies with a long list of waiting families who used to have a guaranteed supply of files through their dozens of partnerships, the wait times will probably increase.

I anticipate that wait times to match will vary greatly among agencies, as they did under the partnership system. However, I would not suggest choosing an agency based solely on their promises of a quick match time. Read through the various blog posts I have written on how to choose an agency that is a good fit for your family to make sure you are choosing a reputable agency.

Does the wait time at an agency really matter since agencies have to transfer files now?

I think it does. The partnership system was really a disadvantage for children whose files fell into the middle ground of parent preferences. Suppose an agency received a partnership file for an 18 month old girl with dwarfism. If none of the 40 families in process at their agency were open to dwarfism as a special need, she would be placed on their photolisting to hopefully recruit a family. Dwarfism is not a need that a large number of families are open to, but it’s not a completely rare need for families to accept either. Today, when her file gets placed on the shared list it is certain that several of the thousands of families waiting around the world would be happy to lock the file. A file with that profile will be matched more quickly under the shared list program than it would be tied to a particular agency for 3 months.

Under the partnership system, it was easy to find the files of young boys with minor needs or girls under the age of five with moderate special needs on photolistings simply because there were no families at that particular agency which could be matched with them. I believe that with all files going to the shared list, we will be seeing a shift to older children or those with more involved needs on photolistings which were designated to the agency by the CCCWA for advocacy only after the file had been on the shared list for some time without being matched. If you are signing with an agency that has a long list of families to match, I don’t think you should count on being able to easily find a file that meets your criteria at another agency to transfer to your agency.

You said if I find a file at another agency, they’re required to transfer it if we’re LID, but I thought the rule was that they had to transfer it to any family with an approved home study?

It depends on which rule and what method of transfer. The US Department of State says that files should be transferred for a family with a completed home study. However, they are writing generally for any type of adoption program. China’s policy is that LID families are to be given preference. If an agency has no family to match with a file, the CCCWA will transfer the file to another agency for a LID family. In this case, the CCCWA policy will be the one that matters because they are the ones who can move files.

However, there are two types of file transfers. One involves appealing to the CCCWA and having them move the file. The other option is a coordinated file release. This is when Agency A and Agency B work together to move a file. Agency A informs Agency B that they will release the file at 2 pm EST on a particular day. Agency B is waiting to lock the file at that moment. There is a slight chance another agency will lock it instead, being unaware that a coordinated file release is taking place. However, most of the time the file is moved this way without incident. If you have an approved home study, an agency could chose to transfer a file to your agency in this way if they are feeling cooperative. If they are not feeling cooperative, they say the CCCWA won’t transfer the file unless the family is LID as a way to keep the file longer.

When I adopted before, I was matched with a partnership file. My agency was able to request an update so we had current medical and developmental information available to decide whether we wanted to adopt the child or not. How does that work now?

Agencies could use their partnership designation to allow parents a longer time to make a decision. In addition, they were often able to get updates quickly using their partnership connection. Shared list files can only be locked for 72 hours. Adding to the challenges, the CCCWA has said that agencies may not have direct contact with orphanages. All updates must now go through the CCCWA, so it will be impossible to receive an update before deciding to submit a Letter of Intent to adopt. You will have very little time to make a decision and it will need to be made based on the information you have in the file. It is best to have an International Adoption Clinic lined up for file review to make the most of the information in the file. I think that there will be more families who withdraw LOI later in the process once updated information is finally received as a result of this change.

I heard that we don’t have to pay the orphanage donation anymore. Is that true? It would be awesome to be able to save that money!

It is true that as of December 2017 the orphanage donation is no longer required. However, I suggest you plan to donate the customary amount. Please give careful consideration to this important issue before deciding to reduce the amount or not donate at all.

 

I hope this has made it easier to understand the process when you adopt through the China program. If you still have questions, please leave a comment or send me a message!

Five ways to shorten your wait for a match

I realize this is the closest I’ve come to a click-bait title. I do apologize, but “Five ways, which are not quick and easy, to maybe or maybe not shorten your wait for a match” was too long to fit in the title space.

Now that we are getting into May, we are starting to see more of a shift to matching by shared list rather than partnership files. The (generally) monthly release of new files to the shared list is becoming important to people waiting for a match. Everyone is anxious to be matched as soon as possible but wait times are unpredictable. Here are some things you can do to minimize your wait.

1. Make sure you understand what kind of wait you have before you

Assuming you are not able to be matched with a waiting child, your agency will match families in order of either MCC date or LID date. You are essentially in line at your agency to be matched. When a new file is released to the shared list, if your agency has a family open to that child’s profile, they can lock the file for that particular family. All agencies have access to the shared list, so while multiple agencies might have a family they want to match the file with only one agency will be able to lock the file. If the family reviews the file and decides that child isn’t a good match for them, it will return to the shared list. The agency which locked the file cannot lock it again for a week, so they can’t simply pass the file to the next family on their list.

Many families begin eagerly awaiting a referral call as soon as their dossier is logged in, but it could be months before your agency has matched enough waiting families that you are close to the top of the list. Here are a few questions to get a better idea of whether you should be expecting to be matched within the next 2-3 months or if you should settle in for a long wait (see #5).

  • How many families do you have waiting to be matched right now?
  • Where does our family fall in the list of waiting families?
  • How many families did you match from the shared list last month?
  • Would you say our MCC is very open, average, or restricted compared to other waiting families?

If you are very early in the process (have not yet sent your dossier to China) and find you should expect a long wait with your agency, you can consider switching agencies. Wait times are unpredictable at the moment, but it is undeniable that some agencies have a long list of families to match while other agencies are advertising that they have only a handful of families with dossiers in China. If agencies match, say, 3 families per month with new files from the shared list, you will be matched faster at an agency with 6 waiting families than one with 60 waiting families. I would not suggesting switching agencies without careful consideration, but some families might feel this is the right decision for them. I have several blog posts to help you evaluate potential agencies to make sure you are choosing an ethical agency that is right for your family. This post is a good starting place.

2. Re-evaluate age 

Your agency will ask you to give an age range for the child you wish to adopt. The age range is the upper limit, so if you write down that you want a child under two and your agency has the file of a child who is 26 months old, you will probably not be considered for that child. Because the majority of families will request a child under two, opening your age range will allow your agency to consider more files for you. However, age range preferences vary by gender so moving up to age three might not make much difference on your wait time if you are requesting a girl. More families are open to girl through age five, while the number of people open to boys steeply declines once a boy reaches age three. Here are numbers taken from the shared list in February 2018 to illustrate file availability by age:

  • Children under the age of 1: 0 girls, 1 boy
  • Age 1: 2 girls, 17 boys
  • Age 2: 17 girls, 78 boys
  • Age 3: 74 girls, 185 boys
  • Age 4: 82 girls, 200 boys
  • Age 5: 98 girls, 223 boys

Besides wanting to keep birth order, the factor which holds many people back from considering older children is the concern that older children will have more problems attaching. This could certainly be the case for some older children, but there is no major difference in attachment between a one year old and a three year old. It is also possible for children under the age of two to have attachment difficulties. So much of attachment will depend on what sort of care your child received, trauma your child might have experienced, how many placements they have had, and their own personality. There is really no magical formula for guaranteeing attachment. Take some time to consider whether a 3, 4, or 5 year old might be a wonderful addition to your family.

3. Re-evaluate special needs

When you are unsure of the idea of adopting a child with medical needs in the first place, it’s especially hard to know what to sign up for. It can be daunting to sift through the medical conditions list when it ranges from familiar scary medical diagnoses like spina bifida and HIV+ to unfamiliar yet still scary sounding medical conditions like thalassemia or Tetralogy of Fallot. If your medical conditions list only contains the “popular” needs like minor heart conditions, club feet, and cleft lip/cleft palate it will take longer for you to be matched than someone who is open to other less popular needs.

You absolutely should not mark needs you are not comfortable with simply to be matched sooner. However, while you are waiting to be matched is a great time to continue educating yourself about the needs available. As you learn more about a particular need, you may find it is one which would be manageable for your family. Here are two posts from my blog to get you started:

Which Special Needs

More considerations when choosing special needs

4. Re-evaluate gender 

Whether you look at domestic infant, foster, or international adoption, adoptive parents overwhelming prefer to adopt girls. Some people choose the China program specifically because you can choose the gender of your child. People have individual reasons for this choice. However, for many who are starting their first adoption from China the gender preference is not something they’ve thought deeply about. You thought you could only adopt girls from China, you’ve spent all this time visualizing your daughter from China, and the idea of adopting a boy just sounds strange.

If that’s the case for you, give some thought to becoming open to either gender. There is really nothing to lose by telling your agency that you will accept either a boy or a girl. When they send you a file, give it a look. If you don’t feel the child is right for you, you can decline the referral. However, by limiting your criteria to only a girl you might miss out on a wonderful opportunity.

For a longer discussion of the adoptive parent preference for girls, please read this blog post.

5. Accept the wait

If you are confident that you are with the right agency, and the age, special needs, and gender you have marked are really what you feel comfortable with, then accept that. It is worth it to you, despite the wait. Adopting a child is a lifelong decision–there are no shortcuts to finding that child. Your agency will let you know when they have found a file that they think is a good match.

My advice is to take a step back if you know you will have a long wait. Haunting the adoption groups and photolistings will only cause you to feel frustrated that it is taking so long to see your child’s face. Leave the groups until you have a match. Spend your time occupying yourself with projects that have nothing to do with adoption. Creating A Family has a list of 42 ways to survive the adoption wait that will give you plenty of ideas. Hopefully, you will get that phone call from your agency sooner than you think.

Potential upcoming changes on the US side

One big occurrence which I haven’t written much about yet is that the US entity overseeing intercountry adoption is changing from the Council on Accreditation to a newly formed organization called Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME). The US State Department has posted FAQs about this change on their website. Until now, adoptive parents and adoption advocacy groups have focused on the new fee structure. The Save Adoptions group is warning that new fees will shut down intercountry adoption altogether while adoption ethics advocates sensibly point out that having a paid team of employees who travel to sending countries to inspect agency offices is going to cost more than four volunteers who who monitor from stateside.

Earlier this week, new controversy broke out when an agency representative announced that IAAME will begin requiring all families to be home study approved before they are allowed to view files or be matched with children. We’ve all been trying to backtrack to figure out where this came from since other agencies said it was news to them. Apparently, it began with this footnote on the IAAME FAQ posted on the State Dept website:

An ASP is “adoption service provider.” Adverse action means any adoption agency who does this could lose their accreditation. This was the clarification given:

While the law referenced hasn’t changed, IAAME is apparently interpreting it differently than was the previous practice. This will have a significant impact on the China program, because China allows children with special focus designated files to be matched with families who have not even begun the home study process. This was allowed previously because there was technically no referral given until the LOA/LSC. The Letter Seeking Confirmation says, in effect, this is the child we have matched you with. Do you accept the referral?” All of the “matching” prior to that was more like “We have a family that is interested in this child. Could you hold the file and IF the family is qualified and IF you think they’d be a good match, THEN you could officially refer that specific child to this specific family?” Adoption agencies, China, and the potential family knew that it was a matter of being able to jump through hoops, but it wasn’t an official referral.

A significant amount of families choose the China program because they can choose a child first. It is no exaggeration to say that hundreds of families had no thought at all of adopting until they saw their child’s face. The concern of agencies and adoption advocates is that many people will simply decide not to adopt at all if they don’t have the motivation of a specific child’s face. The Save Adoptions perspective is that anything which puts up a barrier to children being adopted is bad. The top priority is to get these kids home to families, which a laudable goal.

However, the point of the Hague treaty and changes in regulations is to make sure adoptions are handled in an ethical manner. Lots of babies came home to families in the 80’s and 90’s that turned out to be children which were bought or stolen. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We also need to preserve the rights of the children. One of those rights is the right to privacy. Many countries prohibit photolistings altogether. Here in the US, you will only find children whose parental rights have been terminated on photolistings, not children in foster care who are not yet available for adoption. One of the concerns about the partnership system in China is that agencies could pressure orphanage officials to prepare files for children who might be able to be placed domestically, or even to unethically obtain young children with minor needs to fulfill a quota.

What we are talking about is a requirement that agencies make sure potential families are actually qualified to adopt before they start matching them with children. Is that really an extreme requirement to have? Before now most of the requirements have focused on the sending country side. However, the US has always been outside the norm in the way we do things. Other countries require families be approved to adopt and have a dossier sent before they are matched with a child. Of course, other countries also adopt only a handful of children a year compared to the US.

There are some valid concerns when you “soft match” a child with a family who has not been home study approved. One of them is that you tie of the child from consideration of other families. Children have been soft matched to a family for months, sometimes close to two years in a few cases, only to have the family not complete the process in the end. Having a home study already completed shows a level of commitment.

Another serious concern is that if a family is already soft matched to a child, the social worker is going to be under pressure to approve the family. Yes, most families will pass a home study. However, would the social worker have normally approved them for an older child or a child with serious medical needs if they hadn’t already been matched? It is not unusual for people to be motivated to adopt an aging out child when they had previously never considered adopting an older child. If a family is already matched, will they give real consideration to the challenges that adopting an older child will bring? Older children are at high risk of disruption or dissolution for this reason. When I pointed this out in an online discussion, someone said essentially that if we ruled out the people who decided to adopt an older child on the spur of the moment because of an advocacy post, no older child would be adopted. How many people start out by saying “I’d like to adopt a teenager”? Very few. And very few set out to adopt children with major medical needs.

While no one is sure at this time how this will play out, I hope that we will all remember that both sides want vulnerable children to find families. We all want to make sure that the adoptions which take place are ethical adoptions leading to a secure family bond rather than disruption or dissolution. It is very difficult to balance setting regulations to ensure ethical adoptions while not completely eliminating practices which are effective at finding families for children.

What I’m Reading #19

The US State Department has announced the fee structure for the new entity of IAAME, which will replace the COA as adoption oversight entity. You can read the announcement, fee structure, and FAQ here.

However, agencies are objecting to this fee structure is being likely to increase adoption costs for parents and possibly shutting down small adoption providers. They say that the above statement is written specifically to present the fee changes in the best possible light. The National Council For Adoption, along with many adoption providers, are asking concerned families to contact their member of Congress on February 7th and 8th to voice their opposition to it. You can read more about this here.

I’m still seeing a lot of questions about the move to an all shared list China program. I have a general post here which explains the changes if you are unfamiliar with them. I cannot give any information as to changes in referral time because many agencies are still receiving partnership files at this time. It is possible that many LID files will still be designated to agencies for matching even after the partnership files have officially ceased. I know this change is causing a lot of uncertainty for people, but unfortunately we simply have through 2018 to see how these changes play out.

The CCCWA’s change to not requiring an orphanage donation is still causing controversy and hard feelings among adoptive parents who have or are traveling recently. The CCCWA apparently released the notice without consulting or notifying the provinces. Many orphanages were completely caught off guard by donations ceasing because, very unfortunately, many families have taken the opportunity to donate little or nothing in order to save on adoption costs. Please families, take the time to read this post from Tammy Wombles, who works at an orphanage in China so is on the ground observing the changes, before you decide to skip the donation.

Don’t forget to catch 28 Days of Hearts 2018, where you can read the story of a child who was adopted with CHD every day in the month of February.

Echo Parenting & Education has a great concise summary of the impact on trauma which would be good to share with educators or family members.

From A Musing Maralee blog, read My Kids Are Not Your Sales Pitch which discusses how adoptive parents should consider their child’s privacy when deciding how much personal information to share. The Lifeline blog has an article on the same topic here.

The lunar new year will be here next week. The Living Out His Love blog has many great suggestions for celebrating including decorations, books, and recipes.

ABC News has an article discussing how bestsellers”Blue Nights” and “Steve Jobs,” expose an unspoken truth in the adoption world: Fear of abandonment is universal.

MLJ Adoptions has great post giving tips on how to help your child adjust to their fear of your family dog.

For a pick me up, check out this video from The Archibald Project focusing on Bethel China.

Utilizing Chinese search engines

Adoptive mom Jaime Butler has helped many families find additional information on their child through her instructions on how to search using Chinese search engines. This information could be pictures from an event at their orphanage or a news article about their finding. Jaime has allowed me to post her instructions here. I have added screenshots to help you through the process.

If you don’t have Google Chrome, download it. It is easier to use Google Chrome, because it has an option to translate everything for you, to English.

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Open a tab on Chrome with Google Translate in it.
  3. Open another tab
  4. Search for either Baidu or Soso (now merged with Sogou). Both are Chinese search engines. There are a few other search engines that you can use too, but those are the two that I have had the best luck with.
  5. After searching for Baidu or Sogou, click on it, to open it in that tab.

 

Now the fun begins!

In Google translate, type what you want to search for and translate it to Chinese characters.

Copy and paste these characters into the search bar in the Chinese search engine.

At the top of the screen, it will most likely ask if you want the page translated, and it will also sometimes ask if you want to always translate.

Once you have searched using Chinese characters, it will look similar to a google search, and you can choose to look at images, news articles, etc. I often will click on images or pictures. I then will scroll through the pictures and click on ones that look like they may be related. You can also scroll through the news or web or other options. The two I have had the best luck with are Images, and news.

Usually I will start out by right clicking on about 10 articles at a time and opening them in a new tab, so that they can load while I start looking at some of them, and so I don’t “lose” my search that I just did, and I can go back to it after I look at those 10, and open 10 more.

With baidu, you will then have to click on the picture again, to be brought to the new story. With soso, you have to click again, but I don’t remember where you click.

Again, if you haven’t set it up to auto-translate, you will have to click on translate at the top of the page.

 

 

There is usually a date at the top of the article, so you can tell right away if it is even close to the range that you are looking for. Then if it is, you can look for key things like where the article is from, etc.

Some tips for searching:

  • Things that I usually will translate and search for are: Gender, age at finding, birthday, finding day, specific finding spot, name in Chinese characters, city, province, SWI, and any other facts that would make your child stand out compared to another.
  • I will often only put one or two facts into the translator at once, and then combine them in the search bar. I also will often only search for one or two facts about my child at once. For example, Nanchang baby cleft.
  • I don’t include words that aren’t necessary when searching. So I don’t search for something like “A baby was found with cleft in Nanchang, on…” Instead I would search for “Nanchang baby cleft”
  • I try many different combinations of the facts that I have.
  • I also try the words in different orders. For example: Baby with cleft Nanchang
  • Try both being very specific and not very specific
  • When using Google translate you can hover over the Chinese translation, and it will let you see the translation of each character or group of characters. You can then choose other ones. Try them all.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find something right away. It took me two months of searching before I finally found anything about my son.

Here are some key words that I use in my searches: newborn, baby, child, specific city that the child is from, province the child is from, cleft or other special need, abandoned, found, left, foundling, orphanage, social welfare institute, near, boy, girl, and again anything different that would make your child’s situation stand out.

 

Dream4Adoption home study grant

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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”.

 

For more information or to apply, visit https://dream4adoption.org. You can find the current Dream4Adoption fundraiser Email From Santa on their homepage.