Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guiding Principles of a Perpetual Education Fund

As I participated in a discussion about this Perpetual Adoption Fund idea on linked-in, I found myself creating a long list of guiding principles that would be important to include as part of this concept. Below are my comments as posted on that site:
First of all - it's important for us all to realize that there is a big difference between being able to afford to RAISE children and being able to raise the funds to ADOPT them. This is not about sending children to homes that don't have the resources to raise them. It's the upfront cost that is prohibitive. It would be essential, of course, to closely screen applicant families and make sure that the resources were available and it was a loving home where the children would be better off than where they are now. It's not about letting young families adopt "willy nilly" - for heaven's sake, adoption is a HUGE commitment, everyone in this discussion is aware of that. This isn’t about just writing out a check for the asking. There would have to be a thorough application and screening process, along with a commitment to pay back the loan, perhaps one small payment at a time over a 20+ year period, with additional contributions encouraged from the children themselves when they are grown.

I believe that it's totally unfair to say that a family that doesn't have $30-$60K of liquid cash in the bank is somehow not able to afford to raise them. How in the world can a typical family come up with that kind of money quick enough to make it worth it? If it takes years of regular "saving up", the child would be all grown up before the adoption ever took place.
And as a Child Development expert, I can tell you that the first several years of a child's life are the most important to the rest of their lives. Helping the children come to their families while they are young, and letting the adoptive family pay back the money over a long period of time would be so much better for the children than letting loving, willing and able families miss out on helping these children just because they don’t have the lump sum up front. 

The majority of third world orphans would be much better off in a loving home, even one that might not be considered well-off by U.S. standards. I acknowledge the concerns about international adoptions and using reliable, honest adoption agencies. A thorough screening process for approved agencies would be just as important as screening the families. Read about the future facing Ukrainian orphans:

Another important principle as an adoption fund is setup may be to require the adoptive family to raise a significant portion of the adoption fees and have the adoption fund pay the other portion. I have seen great blessings come to many in our community as the Morford's have raised $15K in only a month. Not only will those children be part of the Morford family, they will feel like part of a community family, because we are all working so hard to get them here. That said, raising this kind of money has taken nearly full-time work from both parents to make happen, and their goal of $55K is still a long way off.

Luckily in their case, the father is self-employed, so he has a flexible schedule. But that is not the case in many of these situations. Once the decision to adopt has been made, it is clearly important to help that family get the child into their home as quickly as possible so that all the training and integration can take place while the child is still young. The adoption fund needs to have this as one of its guiding principles.

Lastly, in most all of the situations that I have been aware of personally, the adoptive family is not just trying to do a "random good deed". Conversely, they have experienced an undeniable and unexpected strong spiritual impression that that child BELONGS in their family. Listening with the heart is what its all about.
It doesn't really matter if they are international or national adoptions. Families who want to adopt "their child" should be able to apply for help, no matter where the child lives. I don’t believe that the majority of families choosing to adopt in these kinds of difficult situations are fulfilling “wants” - they are following a prompting with faith, taking a step into the dark, and performing a willing service.

It takes a lot of courage to move forward with something seemingly impossible, but when we are called upon by God to do it anyway, we will find many angels willing to help us and be witness to many miracles along the way. Perhaps an adoption fund like this would be that kind of miracle for thousands of families as they walk hand-in-hand with the Lord in providing loving and generous homes for children who have never experienced that blessing.

Creating an adoption fund that will help families become whole is a noble and fascinating concept that I wholeheartedly support as a mother and as a co-founder of an international charity ( The next step is for those interested in being involved in this to form a Perpetual Adoption Fund committee and create solid guiding principles based on many of the issues discussed here. Next would be to find sponsors with the financial means to get it going, and lastly to get it set up properly with the help of legal counsel. Count me in!

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