PIQUA — Today, there are more than 153 million orphans in the world with 415,000 children in the U.S. alone living without permanent families.
For many children, it’s the high cost of adoption, and related costs, that stands in the way.
“The need is so great. When you’ve visited an orphanage, like my family has, you really see so many children who needed families,” said Shelly York, of Russia, who, with her husband Ken, has adopted five children.
One national charity, Gift of Adoption Fund, helps to fill that void which separates child from family by providing the final funds needed to complete the adoptions of vulnerable children.
“We were in our fifth adoption from China about three years ago and at that place and time we had exhausted our personal resources, and we had taken on extra work. We were trying to make a little more personal income, but the amount of money for the adoption was way greater than our personal resources,” Shelly said.
The York’s considered taking out a personal loan, which they have done for previous adoptions, but wanted to explore other options first.
In their previous adoptions they had also applied for and received a few grants from adoption organizations. So just in an internet search of adoption grants and foundations they came across Gift of Adoption.
“They were just a name we came upon, so we looked into what their criteria was, and what their philosophy was,” York said. “We checked them out just as much as they checked us out.”
The York’s felt like Gift of Adoption was credible, so they started going back and forth asking questions and starting the process of applying for a grant. They found Gift of Adoption to be a very professional organization with a lot of volunteer man power behind them all over the country.
After a long wait they received the grant funds right when they needed them to finalize the adoption of their newest son.
“It was very helpful to offset a portion of the adoption expenses. It really lifted that burden and it felt like you had a team of other people who were on the same page and cared about the same things you were investing your life into,” she said. “We have never taken it lightly when we have received a gift. All that money came from somebody’s pocket. They took the time to sacrifice.”
Gift of Adoption is celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month by hosting adoption awareness events in 30 U.S. cities across the country. Piqua will be among the 30 communities hosting an event, which will raise awareness and funds to make more adoptions possible for children in need being adopted into Ohio families.
The York family will be at the event next Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, at 11 a.m. at the Miami Valley Center Mall to share their 10-year story about how their family of four became a family of nine.
The event will feature a one-mile walk to represent the final mile in a child’s adoption journey. The walk will start and end at Charleys Philly Steaks inside the mall. Gift of Adoption invites those touched by adoption and all who care about improving the lives of children to attend.
Following the adoption awareness walk, guests will gather for a community celebration to celebrate local families and volunteers who are committed to uniting more children with a forever family. Charleys will donate 10 percent of their sales for the day to Gift of Adoption to help another child become adopted into a loving family.
For more information visit giftofadoption.org/30in30/.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825.