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How to Adopt a Child | Part 5: Grants

Most grant organizations want to see your finalized home study as part of the application process, so you’ll have to wait until that piece is ready, but don’t wait much longer.

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Table of contents:

Introduction

Step 1: Domestic, Foster Care, or International

Step 2: Choose a Country to Adopt From

Step 3: Choose an Adoption Agency

Step 4: Adoption Fundraising Tips and Ideas

Step 5: A List of Adoption Grants

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ADOPTION GRANT TIPS

I’m definitely not the most experienced or savvy at grant applications, but I did learned a lot along the way that I wish I had known earlier. So here’s your head-start.

1. START ASAP

It’s true you can’t really start applying until you have a completed home study report in-hand, but you can get organized. Download or copy my adoption resources spreadsheet and start by:

  • Looking into each grant opportunity (Have I mentioned there are about 50 on my list?) and strike out any that you don’t qualify for. Some are for residents of certain states or members of certain churches, etc. Thin the list.
  • If you don’t have a monthly budget on paper, start getting it sorted out. (There’s a tab on the spreadsheet especially for that.) Everyone will ask you for it.
  • Organize your list by due/review dates and review periods. Most of the bigger organizations will post deadlines, so apply for the nearest ones first. Others will post the length of their review periods, so apply for the longest ones first. Dates and review periods are also included in the notes on the spreadsheet, if I have that info.

Once you have your home study in-hand, start applying. I started working on grants the day after we got ours, and I still ran out of time to apply for a couple.

Every grant organization works on a different schedule. Some open for applications and take the first X-number that come in. Some are always open, but they review quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. Some do their fundraising, open for applications when they hit a financial target, and then award grants until they run out of funds.

The point is, you never know where you’re going to land in an organization’s application cycle. If you have to wait months and months for a verdict, you don’t want those months to be racing your travel date. Most grants will pay current fees, but they won’t reimburse.

2. BLOCK OUT TIME

It’s going to feel like you’re applying for the adoption itself over and over and over again. Every application is different, and most are somewhat grueling.

I set aside several hours every Saturday morning for grant applications and would usually get through one or two in that time. And I’m pretty darn organized. Grant applications are serious paperwork.

3. STAY ORGANIZED

Once you get your tax documents and cost estimates and budget numbers (and everything else) organized, be super diligent about keeping them that way. Almost every grant organization will ask you for line-by-line details about your income and expenses, adoption cost estimates, etc., but they all require it on their own forms.

Get your numbers organized however is easiest for you and then keep them updated. You don’t want to have to hunt them down every single time. Tabs on the spreadsheet.

4. APPLY FOR ALL THE GRANTS

Unless there’s a fee and you really don’t think your family/situation matches what the committee is looking for, apply for as many as you can, as soon as you can. I inquired or applied for about 50 grants, and got five.

Maybe your story is more compelling, your need is greater, etc., and your ratio will be better than 1:10. I hope it is … but it might be 1:10.

5. APPLY FOR ALL THE GRANTS QUICKLY

Every grant application will ask you to list other grants you’ve applied for and which (if any) you’ve been awarded. I’m told that agencies and board members like to see a list, because it indicates that you’re working hard to raise this money.

But, and this is just my hunch, it seems less inspiring to list a bunch of grants you’ve already been awarded. Applying for grants quickly means you’re going to type up a hefty list of applications you’ve submitted, with no awards to report (yet).

6. LEARN ABOUT THE GRANT BEFORE YOU APPLY

First, so you know if it is relevant to your family and your adoption situation. Grant committees look at hundreds of applications. They do NOT need to you apply for a grant that you clearly don’t qualify for. You will not convince them that yours is a special case.

Second, so you know how to apply. Most applications will ask for a statement or testimony. Learn what’s important to the committee, why the founders started this grant, what the organization’s goals are, etc., so you can highlight those same values in your story.

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The people behind grant organizations don’t want to simply write checks; they want to know that they are making a difference in people’s lives. When you apply for grants, make it personal. Attach a note and a photo. And don’t forget once you’re home as a family to send them a new note and a new photo. Each one we’ve received from a family we have helped has been passed around our team and has encouraged each one of us to keep helping.
– Kelly Raudenbush, The Sparrow Fund

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7. KEEP THE COMMITTEE UPDATED

This is one I wish I had done more of. I assumed that the people behind the organizations did not want to be bombarded with my adoption updates, but in most cases that’s not true. I actually had one ask me why I hadn’t emailed them about something.

There is often one or two people keeping files together. Committees come together once every X months, and they want the latest information as they start making decisions. If you didn’t have a referral when you originally applied, for example, and then you accept one, send a quick email with the update. It will give them the best info and it will keep you on their radar.

Note that some organizations specifically ask you NOT to content them. So don’t.

THE COMPLETE LIST OF ADOPTION GRANTS

These are all on the spreadsheet, with even more notes and columns for you to update so you can stay organized. Reminder: You’ll need to either copy the Google sheet or download it as an Excel file so you can edit it.

adoption resources
Spreadsheet includes links, notes, required documents/info,
due dates, time frames, and room for your notes.
  1. A Child Waits
  2. Adoption Story Fund – Closed?
  3. Boatner Family Foundation – Closed
  4. Caring Connection Fund 
  5. Children’s Lantern
  6. Connected Hearts Ministry
  7. Dillion International
  8. Dream4Adoption
  9. Elijah’s Truth
  10. Ephesians 3:20
  11. Families Outreach
  12. Family Formation Charitable Trust
  13. Forever Families Foundation
  14. Gift of Adoption
  15. Global Orphan FoundationClosed
  16. God’s Grace Adoption Ministry
  17. Golden Dawn Adoption Assistance
  18. Hand In Hand
  19. Heart of the Bride
  20. Help Us Adopt
  21. Helping Kids CopeClosed?
  22. International Adoption Resources – Closed?
  23. Joseph’s DreamCoat
  24. Joseph’s Hope Foundation
  25. JSC Foundation
  26. Kael Man
  27. Kaleb KaresClosed?
  28. Katelyn’s Fund
  29. Kids for Kyla
  30. Lifesong
  31. Lifetime Adoption Foundation
  32. Muskogee Church of Christ
  33. National Adoption Foundation
  34. One Chance
  35. One17 Foundation
  36. Pure Gift of God
  37. Reclaimed Project
  38. Sacred Selections
  39. Saving Children
  40. Show Hope
  41. Sowing Roots
  42. Stone Family Adoption Assistance
  43. The Lydia Fund
  44. The Sparrow Fund
  45. We Care for Orphans
  46. Zoe’s Fund

If you know of any that I’m missing, please let me know so I can add it! Happy grant applying!

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