In February, we reached out to all of our friends, child sponsors, adoptive families and more to raise money for the Special Needs Adoption Fund, which provides financial aid and grants to eligible families waiting to bring their child home. Your gifts are already working miracles in the lives of children and families. Since the beginning of the year, you’ve helped more than 39 families receive SNAF grants.
For over two decades, Holt supporters like you have helped children come home through the Special Needs Adoption Fund. Since 1994, over 600 families have received SNAF grants — giving them the critical support they need to adopt a child with a special medical or developmental condition.
But every year, the need grows bigger and bigger. Most of the children Holt now places with families have some form of special need — and in 2014, over half had moderate to major needs. As many of these children will face expensive medical procedures once home, the financial burden on families is often unbearable.
Last year alone, Holt awarded 37 SNAF grants totaling $91,300. This year, we will need to raise the same amount to ensure we can support every family who needs help funding their adoption. But so far, our 2015 SNAF campaign has raised just $42,346 of our $100,000 goal.
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.”