My husband and I had some funds set aside for our first adoption. But by the time we fixed up the issues with our house, we didn’t quite have enough to finalize our adoption of our daughter. Being approved for a grant was a great blessing for us.
One year later, we applied for another grant when our son was born as a surprise and once again we didn’t have the funds to complete payment to our adoption agency. We were excited to be approved for another grant. We found these few tips helpful when completing adoption grant applications.
Know the details, rules, and deadline of each grant.
Before you take the time to complete what could be a very lengthy application, do your research and make sure you meet all the criteria for applying. Next check any rules such as “your adoption agency must be a nonprofit,” “you must have a completed home study,” or “you cannot apply if your child is already home.” And finally, write down each deadline. Just because you are not yet matched, does not mean you shouldn’t apply.
Tell YOUR story–make it personal.
Show those underwriting your profile the specifics of your situation. Are you adopting a special needs child, or difficult to place child? What are the circumstances? Did your child overcome great odds? Don’t let your situation simply be another file in the cabinet. Communicate and check in with them often. Make them remember you and your child-to-be. Make them want to be a part of your story.
Emphasize your NEED without sounding homeless.
This one is probably one of the hardest, but most important when completing a grant application. You need to outline why you need a grant. Why should you be considered over all the others?
If you are applying for an adoption grant, you should have a financial need. Those with a full savings account are really not in need for financial assistance. Your financial records should reflect that you can support your new child with food, clothes, etc. but that you need help getting started. People who have large families, special needs, future medical issues, or bills for your new child are just a few reasons one may need help getting started. You can show that you do not have the funds to pay for your adoption without sounding like you are impoverished.
Show you have given ALL EFFORTS and the grant is the last resort.
Prior to applying for an adoption grant, you should already be cutting expenses. You should consider cutting simple pleasures such as that routine cup of coffee purchased on your way to work, going out to eat, unused gym memberships, manicures, routine clothing store purchase, etc. Show that you are serious about bringing home your child by eliminating spending and turning that into a savings. Let them see that you are already doing everything you can to bring your child home. Grant companies are there to provide assistance, not pay for your entire adoption. You should have already come up with a plan for saving and fundraising. Your grant should close the deal for you.
Include PICTURES–bring the underwriter into your home.
Most grant companies will ask if you have a picture of your new child or your family. I’ve found that everyday life pictures of you and your spouse, family, etc. or candid shots serve well when trying to give your grant company a picture of who you are and what kind of life your child will have with you as their family. Show them a little more than just a group of people with smiles. Let them see the specifics of your family–the silliness, the couple that can have fun, the passion for your child-to-be.
Keep all documents in a Dropbox or other kind of secure cloud.
Every grant application I completed had a need for all the same information, but many times wanted it in a different format or manner. For example, some wanted monthly income and liabilities whereas other grant companies wanted figures annually. Either way, you will be completing the same information over and over and over again. You will need to submit articles such as your home study, pay stubs, tax information, etc. When gathering documentation for our home study, I scanned everything into nicely organized folders in a Dropbox cloud. I then set a password to access the information, just in case I lost my phone or someone tried to hack my account. Having W-2’s, a list of liabilities, insurance and grocery costs all at your fingertips made completing the application much more simple. This allowed me to complete more applications and increase our odds of getting approved.
Be sure to try out these tips on these easy adoption grants!