Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. This is an important observance for me because there are approximately 140 million children worldwide who are orphaned and in desperate need of a family.
At the same time, an estimated 25% of Americans consider adoption each year, but just two percent will complete the process. According to Adoptive Families Magazine, international adoptions cost an average of $44,000, while U.S. newborn adoptions cost an average of $40,000.
Being an adopted child myself, I was introduced to the Gift of Adoption, a national charitable organization in 2017. The organization’s mission aligned with my own passion of connecting children in need with a loving family so I helped found a local chapter here in California. The Gift of Adoption assists families by providing grants to qualified parents — giving children a permanent home and a chance to thrive. This includes grants to families who are working to unite or keep siblings together, those adopting children with critical medical conditions or those welcoming children who are aging out of orphanages.
I am proud to say that over the past 22 years, the Gift of Adoption has distributed more than $7.6 million in adoption assistance grants, uniting 2,619 children with adoptive families from varied walks of life. As of June 2018, our California chapter alone has awarded $205,500 in adoption assistance grants to complete the adoptions of 64 children across California.
Some of the local families we helped unite include:
- Devan, a teenage boy adopted by a family in Stockton, CA. Close to aging out of the system, there would not have been many opportunities for him to find a forever family.
- Rocky, 4-month-old baby boy was adopted from China by a couple in Ridgecrest, CA. Today, Rocky is growing and thriving under his parents love and care.
- Kensington, a baby girl adopted from South Africa by a single mom in Ramona, CA. Kensington was able to travel home with her mother to CA in July with the help of a grant from Gift of Adoption.
These are examples of the success stories we want to see repeated over and over again. Gift of Adoption is the largest provider of adoption assistance grants given without consideration of an applicant’s marital status, sexual orientation, age, race, or nationality when awarding adoption grants. Any U.S. citizen with an approved home study from an accredited agency and a financial need is invited to apply for a grant.
We are constantly responding to need. Our grants range from $1,000 – $15,000, but we don’t have the resources to help every child so we’re in a constant state of fundraising.
We urge everyone to join in on the cause–especially during National Adoption Awareness Month in November. You don’t have to adopt to give a child a safe and nurturing home. You can help by spreading awareness about available adoption grants, donating to the Gift of Adoption fund or volunteering with us. We also invite anyone to attend the California chapter’s annual fundraising event in February 2019 that will be held at the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, featuring keynote speaker, Olympian Ryan Hall. For more information on the event, visit www.giftofadoption.org.
Jeff Baker is president of California’s Gift of Adoption, a national 501(c)3 charitable organization that inspires adoption by providing grants to qualified parents–giving children who need families a permanent home and a chance to thrive. The organization helps fund domestic and international adoptions of vulnerable and at-risk children. Visit www.giftofadoption.org to learn more.