Sunday, October 5, 2014

I could never... Down Syndrome Adoption

How many people have said that, or even just thought it, when adoption crosses their minds?
What about Down Syndrome Adoption?

The idea of adoption can be intimidating,
There are just so many unknowns,
And no one likes the feeling of failure or rejection.

I have heard on numerous occations,
"There is no way we would qualify"
but you will not know until you at least try.

And then figuring out the right route and where to start,
It can be quite overwhelming!
Narrow your options

Domestic or International?
The first thing you should do if you are considering international adoption,
Is to make sure you meet the income requirements that are required in order to receive immigration approval for your new additions.
You can look those numbers up HERE

If you qualify great, you can look into internation as well as domestic! 
If not, it doesn't necessarily rule out adoption from your future, domestic is still an option
Don't get discouraged!

~Domestic Adoption~
Foster Adopt, Waiting Child Adoption or Private Adoption

Fostering to Adopt, 
Getting licensed with your state to take in foster placements that are likely to end in termination of parental rights. You are able to specify the age range, gender, special needs, etc. There is no cost to you to adopt through foster care.
'But do I quality?'
Every state sets it's own rules, regulations, and guidelines,
So I really cannot answer that for you.
I know that for my state, there is no set income requirement,
That you must be able to show that you have enough money to meet the needs of your family.
I know that in my state you cannot have more than 4 children per bedroom,
And that there needs to be 40sq ft per child in a bedroom,
So if you wanted 4 children in a bedroom, the room must be a minimum of 160sq ft.
Each child must have their own closet or dresser.
You must have one full bathroom for every 8 people in your home.
There is a bunch more little things, like outlets must be covered, chemicals locked up, etc.
But that's the gist of it, for my state,
Yours will likely be different.

You will wait, some for a very brief period of time and others might wait for years.
I know for Down Syndrome specifically,
Our county told us that unless a fluke situation presented itself, 
We shouldn't expect a placement for 2+ years.
If one were to open their "criteria" up a bit to state,
Intellectual Disabilities, including but not limited to Down Syndrome,
You'd have a higher likely hood of sooner placement.

Waiting Child Adoption,
You will need to have a homestudy written,
This can be done privately or through the state.
Our private homestudy cost $2,500.
If it is a waiting child in your home state, the state will help license you to adopt at no charge.
I don't know about other states but the social workers that we have talked to would not do a state funded homestudy for a specific out of state child, unless you had already waited 12 months for a placement within your own state.
So for us personally,
If we were choosing to adopt a waiting child with Down Syndrome from out of state (There are none currently listed in our state, which is why I use this example)
We'd be responsible for our homestudy cost,
Which is often reimbursable upon completion of the adoption, through the state.
We'd be responsible for our travel expenses to go meet and visit with the child, as well as transportation home for the child.
This is often reimbursable too.
Criteria to adopt a waiting child will vary greatly,
But somewhat similar to that of Foster Adopt.
You do not need to meet the same exact criteria though,
Meaning if you want to adopt but don't qualify to foster,
It may not be a closed door.
Homestudies seem so intimidating but they really aren't,
A social worker isn't coming out with the desire to crush dreams and prevent adoptions,
They want to help approve you,
If there is room in your heart and in your home,
If your home is safe and not horribly over crowded,
If you are safety/child proofing concious,
If you can afford to add to your family,
If you aren't a criminal,
You really need to stop worrying,
Breathe,
And trust that everything will work out.
Lists children across the US that are just waiting for families to say yes!

Lists children with Down Syndrome within the US that are currently available for adoption.

Private Adoption
You're likely more aware of this one.
Private adoptions are through agencies vs the state.
Private adoptions will often cost a lot more,
But there is an aspect of adoption that you will not get through Foster Adopt or Waiting Child Adoption.
With a Private Adoption of a child with Down Syndrome,
You are often chosen by a birth family specifically,
And more often than not, you are chosen before the baby is born.
There is no past trauma that caused the child to be seperated from their birth family,
It was a choice the family made in the best interest of their baby/child.
You will pay for all of your adoption expenses yourself,
Homestudy,
Agency Fees,
Court Costs,
Travel Expenses,
Sometimes Birth Mothers expenses as well.
Private adoptions can cost anywhere from $7,500-$35,000.

The National Down Syndrome Adoption Network is a great place to start when considering private or waiting child Down Syndrome Adoption.
If you are wanting to adopt a child with Down Syndrome,
Contact a social worker to get your homestudy completed and then get in touch with NDSAN and send them your homestudy,
They will then add you to their database of waiting families and when a birth family chooses adoption, your homestudy will be among those able to be considered.


~International Adoption~

You could probably look into any country that is open to international adoption and find hundreds and hundreds of children with Down Syndrome available for adoption.

There is so much flexibility/variance in International Adoption from country to country.
Some require two parent travel,
Some only one has to travel,
Some allow for an escort to bring the child home to the US for you.
Some are open to single parents.
Some allow you to take custody of the child immediately,
While others have you wait until the adoption is finalized.
Some require one trip,
Some require three.
Some require 6 weeks in country,
Others only 5-7 days.
Some allow multiple unrelated children to be adopted together,
Some do not.
Some allow you to preselect a child,
Others will look over your homestudy and dossier and match you with a specific child.
Some are party of the Hague Convention and some are not.
Some are $15,000 and others are upwards of $50,000.
Some take 6-9 months to complete, others can take 2-3 years.

Like I said, huge variance.

I will use the country our children are from as an example of requirements.

-Allows preselection
-The child is officially on hold for you when you submit your commitment documents
- Allows single women to adopt as well as married couples
-You can adopt multiple unrelated children at the same time
- You will receive pictures and often videos of the child(ren) you are adopting
-You have access to their basic medical records prior to commitment
-Part of the Hague Convention
-Two trips required, first trip is one week and second trip is about 12 days
-Only one parent is required to travel
-An escort can be arranged for trip 2 (At least one parent must travel for trip one)

Many countries allow waivers and will make exceptions to certain rules when adopting a special needs child, so even if you are looking at criteria and something "rules you out" don't be so sure....China for example, is willing to grant waivers on a case by case basis for almost every guideline EXCEPT minimum age requirement that states you must be 30 years old to adopt from China.

You can often adopt older infants and very young toddlers with Down Syndrome through international adoption.
Older children are available as well.
US law allows for the international adoption of children 0-16 into the US,
China's law states that children must be adopted by age 14 before they age out and are then forever unadoptable. But all other countries that I can think of allow adoption through 16+ years of age, it is US Immigration requirements that don't allow a child over 16 to be adopted into the US.


Adoption is expensive!
Why yes, it most definitely can be!
But it doesn't have to be,
There are low cost and no cost ways to adopt,
Namely Foster/Adopt and Waiting Child Adoption.

Beyond that though,
There are grant agencies that no how costly adoption is,
And that many families don't have $35,000 just collecting dust under their mattress,
They want to help!!
There are many many grants available to help cover the cost of international adoption.
There are also ministries and agencies that allow you to set up tax deductible donation accounts so that friends and family can be encouraged to make tax deductable donations!

And guess what,
It is absolutely okay to fundraise,
Not having the ability to write a check for $35,000 does not mean you are not fit to adopt,
I promise.

So I need to ask,
What is it that is holding YOU back?

Have questions? concerns? doubts?
Let's talk!
novitc@gmail.com


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sad Sad Sadurday

Orphans.
Because they have Down Syndrome.
10+ years wasted in orphanages and later, mental institutions.
All with substancial grants to help cover the cost to bring them home.
None who know what it means to smile.
In their world,
It is a sad sad SADurday.

We can #BeTheChange





For more information about any of these boys,
You can email shelley@aboutachild.org


Friday, October 3, 2014

Fatherless Friday: Pro Life?

Are you aware?
Aware of how many prenatal Down Syndrome diagnosis lead to abortion?
Aware of just how many children with Down Syndrome are given up at birth?

We know the statistics,
That 92% of women who receive a prenatal Down Syndrome diagnosis choose to abort.

But what about the 8% that don't?
What about the families that choose life but cannot/choose not to parent?

Everybody was in uproar when the new blood test came out allowing women to know and terminate sooner if their baby had Down Syndrome.
People were outraged.

And yet,
The ones not aborted,
The ones given up for adoption instead...
If their family didn't choose to personally parent,
The majority are rotting away in orphanages

Who is going to be their voice?
It can't just end with, 'glad they didn't abort'
Because I've been to orphanages,
The life they live isn't far better than death.
Especially once transferred to a Mental Institution.
They aren't living,
They are surviving.
They will die an early death.

So which is it?
Are we preaching life?
Or are we preaching death?
Death that isn't okay in the womb,
But one we're willing to accept by a life long sentence in a mental institution,
A life of no love and affection.
A life of bare minimums.
A life that will lead to a very early death.

We can't have it both ways.
If we preach life,
We are responsible for stepping up and helping to care for those lives.
Because otherwise, we are no better,
We are surely accepting their young death.


It's not just about James 1:27
Yes, we are commanded to care for the Orphans,
But it goes far deeper too.

Are you pro life
or are you just anti abortion?

Because life should be worth living.
These orphans, they are not living.
They were not aborted,
But they were not given a real life either.
You have the ability to change that!

#BeHisHandsAndFeet! 


Meet Isabelle and Amelia
They have been listed for way too long,
Longer than I can remember.
They are in the same mental institution and can be adopted together!
Wouldn't they make ADORABLE sisters?

ISABELLE
Don't let her very tiny size fool you,
This sweetheart is 12 1/2 years old.
The picture on the right is from this summer.
 Isabelle is a calm and playful child. She enjoys the attention that she is paid and actively seeks it. She easily enters into interaction with the children and the adults in the orphanage. She has friends among the children and prefers to play with them. She reacts actively in musical classes – makes rhythmical movements, but doesn’t play with toys and prefers to put them in her mouth or toss them.
Isabelle walks independently and receives physical therapy. She eats independently. She is being taught to put her clothes on and take them off on her own. The training for gaining life skills continues.
Isabelle has a grant of over $4,000 available toward the cost of her adoption.
 _____________
AMELIA
Amelia is 13 years old,
She was born with a heart defect that was surgically corrected in 2005.
Can you imagine having to go through a major Open Heart Surgery all alone?
And then being sent right back to an orphanage where only your most basic needs are met?
Amelia was born with a heart defect - Fallot’s tetralogy. Surgery was performed in 2005 and her heart condition was completely corrected. Amelia is currently living in a mental institution. She is delayed in all aspects of her development but does receive therapy. She also participates in the granny/grandchild program at the institution. She walks with support. Her speech is developing. She is making sounds and can say “no” and attempts to say the word for granny. She responds to her name, follows basic directions, and plays with toys. She drinks from a cup and eats independently. She enjoys affection, responds well to being cuddled, and is a very happy child.
Amelia has a grant of over $6,000 available toward the cost of her adoption.

Please, SEE THEM!


Email Shelley@aboutachild.org to inquire about Isabelle or Amelia!