An interview with Kelly Ellison, creator of “Your Adoption Finance Coach,” whose team of coaches works with families across the U.S. to help create a comprehensive financial plan that matches their adoption plan. The service is free for families in the Holt adoption process, and families that use the Your Adoption Finance Coach system typically raise between $5,000 and $15,000 for their adoptions.
This Q&A is an edited version of the original interview.
How did you become the “Adoption Finance Coach”?
I am an adoptive parent myself. My husband and I brought our daughter home from China in 2007. … Prior to that I was in the nonprofit sector, so my lens on life was really about fundraising and community involvement and development. And so it just became very apparent to me going through the adoption process myself that there was just a huge gap between the adoptive family and the money that’s affiliated with the high cost of adoption. Continue reading “How to Fund Your Adoption: a Q&A With The Adoption Finance Coach”
Holt’s director of clinical services — Celeste Snodgrass — shares about adopting her son Max from Thailand at 9 years old. While an adoption expert by profession, Celeste affirms that no older-child adoption goes perfectly smoothly. But it’s the perfect option for many families, and for children who have been waiting so long.
Six-year-old Claire Peddicord has a heart condition and received heart surgeries both in China and once home with her family in Tennessee. But her parents, Kristin and Casey, have learned that one special need is even greater than her heart condition. It’s one that all waiting children have, and any loving adoptive family can meet.
Every day 2-year-old Shelby Jane spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker. She needed to come home to her adoptive family — and fast — but finances stood in the way. That’s when a Holt donor stepped in to help.
Two-year-old Shelby Jane had a hole in her tiny heart, a blood condition called thalassemia and chronic cases of pneumonia and bronchitis that caused her to be hospitalized just about every month of her 24-month life. She could not speak, could not crawl and could not chew food. Every day she spent in an orphanage in China, she grew weaker.
Her adoptive parents, Michelle and Adam Campbell, needed to bring her home — and fast.
“We knew we needed to go get her because she wasn’t getting the care she needed. Waiting,” Michelle says, “wasn’t an option.”
Exposure to alcohol. This may be the most vague and full-of-unknowns special need you’ll come across in the profiles of children waiting to be adopted. It includes a vast array of outcomes, sometimes including no effects at all. However, many parents jump to an extreme when they first read “alcohol exposure” — thinking, “This must mean they have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).” Or, families nearly skip over it — thinking, “It’s so common… it must not be a big deal.” An informed approach to adopting a child with alcohol exposure lies somewhere in the middle: informed by research, supported by other families’ experiences, and always with the best interests of the child as the deciding factor.
Adoption costs quite a lot, that is a well known fact and one of the main reasons people don’t pursue adoption even after they feel called to. But something I have learned through this process is that these costs have a purpose. There are hardworking people that are caring for these children and working on piles of paperwork and helping you jump through so many hoops to be able to bring your child home. I can only speak from our process, but even though our adoption costs seem like a lot of money, it provides jobs for those helping us along the way, a home for our baby girl and her foster family, and a way for our family to bring home our daughter.
With all of that said, the cost of this process was still one of Todd’s biggest fears, but standing on this side of the journey he said “can you believe I was scared about how we would be able to raise the money?” I strongly believe that God places you in a spot where you are not enough, so that He can show that He is.
As 16-year-old Van Dai prepares to meet his adoptive family, and his adoptive family prepares to meet him, they share what they’re nervous about, what they’re excited about, and why they are so eager to finally meet one another.
Van Dai is 16 years old. He likes math, soccer and computer games, and is naturally good at things that require problem solving and forethought. He’s a bit shy and introspective, and doesn’t show a broad range of emotion. But when you catch his eye and smile, he will return your smile a thousand-fold. His smile is absolutely radiant.
It’s a hot and humid January afternoon in the south of Vietnam, but cooler where we sit inside on wooden furniture, beneath a blowing fan. In the background, we can hear the sounds of children playing, the occasional squeak of metal swings.
“How are you feeling right now?”
Van Dai’s eyes gleam and glance around the room. He smiles.
Adult adoptee Ying Lamb, now 22, shares her advice for children who come home at older ages, and for the families who adopt them.
Living in China, as a 13-year-old orphan about to be adopted, was a difficult feeling. My whole life — the hard times, and the good times — were about to be left behind. In China, children in orphanages are often looked down on, and not treated with full human respect, so I did want a family, and a chance to have a different life. My life had not been all bad, though, and it is terrifying looking into a future with everything unknown.