When it comes to international adoption, expenses can really add up. For our family, we had many reasons for adopting internationally, one of those being that we were told that our family was not “desirable” to foster/adopt social workers in America. This leaves us with either not helping an orphan or working overtime to come up with the funds.
This is where many people look to grants. There are not a lot of grants, but there are some out there that help a lot of people. Some people think that Christians can easily get these grants since so many are awarded to Christians. This is not necessarily the case. There is a great, big, huge obstacle for some Christians…..especially the ones who have children with special needs like we do.
I am not here to knock the grants at all. They are amazing, they help a lot of people, and I have no reason to criticize. What I want to bring attention to is the stipulation in these grants that require a letter from your pastor.
I believe in going to church.
I love church and believe in the power of fellowship.
I miss church.
We have five (soon to be six) children. We have added all but one of those children in the last six and a half years. Three of those children have special needs. One of those children has Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). So we have had babies and kids with special needs with the extra RAD to handle. None of this bodes well in a church that isn’t equipped for special needs, or understanding of a child who has RAD and needs certain accommodations.
Now, there are some really great churches in my town. The people here are wonderful. We just have a unique family.
We have found a ministry to volunteer with. It allows us to give back and to have fellowship with other Christians….outside…..at a horse ranch. A really great fit for our family, but not technically a church, and technically without a pastor.
My husband works every single Sunday, and we live in a town nowhere near our families. As a result, going to church would require me to handle all of the increased behaviors that overstimulate a child with RAD, and this is not a small thing believe me when I say this, as well as the other four children (two being 4 and under).
I am not alone. I hear other special needs moms express their sadness over the inability to attend church due to their special circumstances. The truth is, if you do not live the special needs life, you can’t really understand what it takes to have a semblance of normal. We can’t often go and be “normal” in the pew. There could be excessive screaming, flapping, growling, biting, purposeful soiling of pants for a child upwards of 12, and so much more. These behaviors aren’t really conducive to listening to a sermon in a room filled with people not dressed in crumpled clothes often covered in who knows what from wrestling with a child.
Churches often gather around food for fellowship outside of the regular service. These times offer people the chance to relax and connect on an interpersonal level. They build relationships and offer support and really foster a community in Christ. When your child has severe food issues, these times can be extremely stressful. They are often spent in a constant battle with your child, trying not to be a spectacle and wishing that the food would just disappear because oh my gosh you hate food….hate it!
So here I am. Here we are. We are committed Christians, we love God. We are living out our love for Him, and trying to be an example and light to others. We are adopting a child with severe special needs. We are a one income household. We meet so many of the other requirements for an adoption grant from the Christian grant foundations. Yet, we are ineligible.
We face one major obstacle.