How Can I Complete a Christian Adoption?
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord had granted me what I asked of him.” – Samuel 1:27 For many Christians, adoption is a path to a family as well as a way to express and share their faith with a child. If you are considering adoption, you can find many adoption agencies that emphasize the Christian faith and values through their services. You may also be eligible to receive grants from Christian organizations to help fund your adoption.
How Does a Christian Adoption Work?If you are a Christian family, the process of adoption will work the same way it would for any other family. Your biggest decision will be selecting an adoption professional that shares your faith and values.
Finding a ProfessionalAs you begin your adoption journey, you’ll first want to decide if you want to adopt in the U.S. or abroad in order to research domestic or international adoption agencies. There are many factors to consider in this decision, including cost, wait times, travel, contact with birth parents, and availability of medical information. You may also choose to seek out an agency that is experienced in working with Christian families. If you are interested in this path, a good place to start is by talking to your priest or pastor. He or she should be able to help you seek out other families in your church for recommendations and provide mentoring through the process. Many churches are actively involved in adoption, whether it is through support group ministries or their own domestic adoption or foster care programs. You should also consider the kinds of support and services you want to receive from your professional. Typically, Christian adoption agencies provide more services during the entire adoption process, while Christian adoption consultants may only help you through the earlier stages of the process. If you are Catholic, you can find useful information through Catholic Charities. Different Catholic Charities locations may have different local or international programs available.
Pros and Cons of Working with a Christian AgencyYou can choose to work with a Christian agency or an unaffiliated professional. Working with a Christian agency has benefits and drawbacks to consider before you decide:
- You’ll likely receive religiously based counseling and pro-life encouragement, which can be very comforting for people who lean on their faith in difficult times.
- You’ll get to work with an organization whose ethics and values likely align with your own.
- Many Christian adoption agencies also offer opportunities to serve in ministry/mission work, especially in countries where they work with orphanages for international adoptions.
- Many adoptive couples feel called to adopt, like as in James 1:27’s call to care for orphans and widows. These families may feel that a Christian organization can best help them fulfill this calling, domestically or internationally.
- If your family or community is hesitant about your adoption decision, you might have greater support from them if you work with a Christian organization that they can get behind. Additionally, many churches already have adoption ministries and support groups in place for families.
- Some families might feel pressure to serve with ministry/mission work or to continue to give to their religious organization after their adoption is finalized.
- Because Christian adoption agencies are often smaller, you may have less advertising and exposure to pregnant women. Additionally, some women may be turned off by a religious organization and seek the assistance of a non-religious adoption professional.
- Smaller, regional adoption professionals are also more subject to drastic changes in laws than a larger organization, which can better weather a financial, judicial or legal change.
- You might have greater opportunities (greater advertising, broader exposure to potential birth parents, etc.) to answer your adoption calling through other adoption professionals, even if the professional does not label themselves as a Christian adoption agency.
- Christian adoption consultants may not offer full adoption services from beginning to end, causing you to spend more of your money and time during the adoption process.
- Marriage is defined by most Christians as between a man and a woman. This distinction could bar certain families from adopting (single parents, committed domestic partners, same-sex couples, etc.).
Adoption GrantsAdoption grants or loans are a great way to try to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for your adoption, and there are many Christian adoption grants made available to religious adoptive families especially. Some organizations provide grants, which is money given as a gift to a family without further expectation. Other organizations provide “matching grants,” which encourage a family to do their own fundraising or find another donor who can help them with some of their fundraising. In order to receive a Christian adoption grant, an adoptive family must do three things:
- Complete an adoption home study – Organizations that give out grants want assurance that you are eligible and ready to adopt, financially and emotionally. Your adoption home study will provide this necessary proof.
- Investigate grant or loan criteria – Each adoption grant or loan will have specific requirements for adoptive families who apply (based on things like religion affiliation, race of the child, type of adoption, etc.). Make sure that you read these carefully so that you can be sure you’ve selected the right grant or loan opportunity for your family.
- Submit an adoption grant application – Once you’ve selected one or more Christian adoption grants or loans that you are eligible for and interested in, you’ll need to submit a completed application. Some grants have rolling deadlines, while others are seasonal so take note of due dates. You’ll also want to be open and honest about your personal and financial information, which will only help your chances of being selected for the Christian adoption grant or loan.