Celebrating the Gift of Adoption

Adoption is a process that is still inaccessible to many, leaving countless children without families.

Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. This is an important observance for me because there are approximately 140 million children worldwide who are orphaned and in desperate need of a family.

At the same time, an estimated 25% of Americans consider adoption each year, but just two percent will complete the process. According to Adoptive Families Magazine, international adoptions cost an average of $44,000, while U.S. newborn adoptions cost an average of $40,000.

As an advocate for adoption, I was introduced to the Gift of Adoption, a national charitable organization with a local chapter here in Pittsburgh back in 2016. The Gift of Adoption assists families by providing grants to qualified parents — giving children a permanent home and a chance to thrive. This includes grants to families who are working to unite or keep siblings together, those adopting children with critical medical conditions or those welcoming children who are aging out of orphanages.

I am proud to say that over the past 22 years, the Gift of Adoption has distributed more than $7.6 million in adoption assistance grants, uniting 2,619 children with adoptive families from varied walks of life.

Eric and Jennifer of Plum, PA and their two adopted children are one such family. The $3,000 grant they received this year from the Gift of Adoption helped them overcome the financial hurdle in adopting a baby boy from Arizona.

The family adopted a little girl, Amelia, last year and just recently adopted her baby brother, Samuel, as a newborn. The birthmother is currently in prison and Samuel was born addicted to methadone. While unable to raise her children, she made the loving and deeply sacrificial decision to make her child available for adoption. Samuel’s adoption was finalized in September 2018 and his adoptive parents are giving him a stable and loving environment where both he and his sister can develop, grow and flourish.

This is the success story that we want to see repeated over and over again. Gift of Adoption is the largest provider of adoption assistance grants given without consideration of an applicant's marital status, sexual orientation, age, race, or nationality when awarding adoption grants. Any U.S. citizen with an approved home study from an accredited agency and a financial need is invited to apply for a grant.

We are constantly responding to need. Our grants range from $1,000 – $15,000, but we don’t have the resources to help every child so we’re in a constant state of fundraising.

We urge everyone to join in on the cause – especially during National Adoption Awareness Month in November. You don’t have to adopt to give a child a safe and nurturing home. You can help by spreading awareness about available adoption grants, donating to the Gift of Adoption fund or volunteering with us.

LAURA STEMBER is president of Pennsylvania’s Gift of Adoption chapter, a national 501(c)3 charitable organization that inspires adoption by providing grants to qualified parents – giving children who need families a permanent home and a chance to thrive. The organization helps fund domestic and international adoptions of vulnerable and at-risk children. Visit www.giftofadoption.org and / or the local chapter’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/giftofadoptionPA/ to learn more.