How to Fund Your Adoption: a Q&A With The Adoption Finance Coach

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. 

Kelly Ellison is the creator of Your Adoption Finance Coach. She holds a master’s degree in business administration, has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years and is also an adoptive parent herself.
Kelly Ellison is the creator of Your Adoption Finance Coach. She holds a master’s degree in business administration, has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years and is also an international adoptive parent.

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”

Older Child Adoption: An Expert Adopts

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.

“Are you hungry?” Celeste asked her son, Max.

Continue reading “Older Child Adoption: An Expert Adopts”

At Heart, Their Greatest Need

Heal a Child’s Heart

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. 

Continue reading “At Heart, Their Greatest Need”

Special Needs Adoption Fund: Bringing Home Shelby

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.”

Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family.
Shelby at her orphanage in China before coming home to her family. While living in the orphanage, Shelby spent part of every month in the hospital due to pneumonia or bronchitis.

Continue reading “Special Needs Adoption Fund: Bringing Home Shelby”

Alcohol Exposure: What Does it Mean?

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.

Continue reading “Alcohol Exposure: What Does it Mean?”

How We Fundraised $45,000 For Our Adoption

Adoption Fundraising

Adoptive parents Alex and Todd Smith share how they fundraised $45,000 in adoption costs!!

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.

Through God’s grace, our family and friends raised $45,000 in 8 months.  Praise Jesus! Continue reading “How We Fundraised $45,000 For Our Adoption”

Waiting For So Long

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.

“’I’m so happy to meet my parents,” he says. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long.” Continue reading “Waiting For So Long”

5 Things to Know About Adopting an Older Child

  1. A child is considered “older” if they arrive home older than 5. After age 5, a child’s chance of joining a family through adoption decreases significantly.
  2. All parents of older adopted children say that despite missing out on the earliest days of life, there are still many joyful “firsts” to experience together!
  3. Older children in orphanages often develop self-protective behaviors. With Holt’s education and training, you will learn how to help your child heal from a traumatic past.
  4. Some kids will have few problems in school, while others will need some specialized support or pacing — particularly if they are also learning English!
  5. Adopting an older child is less about helping a child fit into your family, and more about the entire family adjusting to their newest member and his or her culture, history, language and more
…Plus 5 more!!

Continue reading “5 Things to Know About Adopting an Older Child”

You Are Wanted, You Are Loved

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.

And my life so far had been full of many disappointments, so what if this was no different? Continue reading “You Are Wanted, You Are Loved”