A few years ago, Amber Kanallakan and her husband began to feel God prompting them to grow their family through adoption. They felt prepared to parent a child with a limb difference and because China has so many children with this particular special need, they applied to Holt’s China program in August of 2013 after holding a garage sale to cover the cost of Holt’s application fee. Fearing finances may hold them back from adopting, the Kanallakans started hosting fundraisers and ultimately ended up raising the money to cover 100 percent of the cost of their adoption. Amber and her husband travel in March 2015 to bring their son, Oliver, home from China. Here, they reflect on their journey and give advice to other families considering fundraising to cover adoption costs.
When my husband and I began to seriously consider growing our family through international adoption, there were two giant mountains that quickly overshadowed our conversation.
When the three families featured in this story felt called to adopt, they feared that the expense of adoption would be a major obstacle. Rather than focusing on their bank accounts, the families turned toward God and fundraising to bring their child home.
When families interested in adopting a child express their financial concerns to Laura Sykora, she nods her head with genuine understanding. As the Branch Assistant for Holt’s Midwest branch, Laura knows — really knows — how scary it can be to adopt without upfront financial backing. But then, she looks at the picture of her son on her desk, a beautiful 4-year-old she and her husband brought home from Ethiopia at 10 months old in 2010. She thinks about Maci her 5-year-old daughter, who is still in care in Ethiopia while the Sykoras wait for their second adoption to finalize. They are just a few weeks away from boarding a plane to pick her up, and take her home to join their permanent, loving family.
At the same time that Laura helps other couples through the process of adoption through Holt, she fund raises to pay for two of her own, back-to-back.
“Most people don’t have an extra $25 or $30,000 lying around,” Laura says. “Families come in and one thing they want to discuss are the costs. They are fearful because they may have already tried other expensive options, like fertility treatments.”
The colorful autumn leaves, the scent of pumpkin pie in the air, and trick-or-treaters knocking at your door — all wonderful indications that November is just around the corner.
And while all of these sights, sounds and smells evoke wonderful feelings during this festive season, we at Holt recognize the month of November for another important reason. This month, we all rally together to celebrate adoption and renew our dedication to advocating for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children!
That’s right, November is National Adoption Month!
Here at Holt, raising awareness about children who need families is a year-round effort. But this month, especially, we can do more…and we hope you will join us!
Here’s the plan:
During this year’s awareness campaign, we will be sharing wonderful family and adoptee stories on the Holt blog and social media pages. We will also post stories about children waiting for families, and helpful information about everything from affording adoption to post-adoption services for families and adoptees. As an adoptive parent, you can encourage others to consider adoption by sharing your own story. Or if you’re considering adoption — what a wonderful month to begin your journey!