A Win for the Whole Adoption Community
What if we could further journey with families, once adoption has been finalized, by offering Medical Care grants to help offset healthcare expenses?
This was the question Show Hope Founders, Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, asked themselves when dreaming how to further address the medical needs of children who are in need of a permanent, loving family through adoption.
That dream, which began percolating in the early days of 2020, became a reality later that fall when Show Hope awarded its first two Medical Care grants.
Of the more than 15 million children who have been orphaned around the world—having lost both parents—and the estimated 125,000 children in the U.S. Foster Care system who have had parental rights terminated, a majority of these children have complex medical and special needs. In 2014, one report showed that 88.5 percent of children involved in unrelated, domestic adoptions had special needs, and according to the adoption agency Holt International, 68 percent of the intercountry adoptions they processed in 2019 involved children with special needs.
“After diligent research, numerous conversations with healthcare professionals and families, and Show Hope’s own years of experience, our founders were convinced that families would certainly benefit from additional support to ease the financial burden of accessing quality medical care for their children welcomed home through adoption,” explained Emily Richards, Executive Director of Show Hope. “And so our hope is: As families come to know these financial resources are available, they will feel more supported in their journeys to love well the children who have been entrusted to them through adoption,” Richards said.
Show Hope’s Adoption Aid grants program helped lay the groundwork for its new Medical Care grants endeavor; however, the application processes do not necessarily mirror each other. For instance, Medical Care grants are—as of now—awarded throughout the year and not based on certain calendar periods. The two grant processes also function within different systems. But, like Adoption Aid grants, a number of different criteria are considered with Medical Care grants, including but not limited to financial need, references, and official documentation from physicians, medical providers, and insurance companies. And lastly, Show Hope Medical Care grants, on average, range between $4,000 and $6,000.
Founded in 2003, Show Hope is a faith-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to care for orphans by engaging the Church and reducing barriers to adoption. For its nearly two decades, Show Hope’s work has remained focused on reducing the primary barriers to adoption, including the financial, medical, and knowledge barriers. Expanding the grants program to include medical care grants substantially increases the opportunity to overcome the financial and medical barriers of adoption for many families.
That was the case for the Link family who were able to say yes to special needs adoption even with Steven’s minimal income as a full-time vocational minister. “For me personally, this [grant] makes it possible for me to be faithful to the ministry that God’s called me to, and be faithful to meet the needs of my family, and not sacrifice either one,” said Steven Link, whose family was one of the first Show Hope Medical Care grant recipients.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to advocate for my child. I think every parent would say that. You’ll do whatever it takes but to what end—sacrificing what?,” continued Kristin Link, Steven’s wife and mother to Aaro, who was welcomed home through intercountry adoption. “What this grant does is provide hope. It’s a win for the whole adoption community.”
Since its inception, Show Hope has seen the landscape of adoption change dramatically with the total number of intercountry adoptions processed annually declining by 87 percent. And yet, the costs associated with adoption and the number of children being adopted with mild to acute healthcare needs continues to rise.
“These grants are helping families navigate and access adequate healthcare for their children after being welcomed home through adoption. And though just a few months into the work, we have already awarded more than $65,000 in grants to nearly 15 families.” Emily Chapman Richards, Show Hope’s Executive Director, said.
For the Palacios family, who welcomed home their daughter through domestic adoption, a Show Hope Medical Care grant not only provided financial support but also a relief both mentally and emotionally.
“Medical bills can be stressful financially as well as mentally and emotionally. The medical grant we were awarded covers the bills we raked in while waiting to meet our daughter’s deductible last year and before she qualified for Medicaid’s Medically Dependent Children Program,” the Palacioses shared. “This grant allows us to spend our money on family trauma and grief counseling to help us navigate the year we had and process as a family the life of hospital stays, seizures, and near death experiences. The emotional and mental care that this has provided us is a beautiful example of the way God cares for his children, he wants to give us good gifts and comfort us in or sorrows, and Show Hope has done just that.”
So what can you do to support children and families like the Palacioses and the Links?
We need you to help us “spread the word” about Show Hope’s new Medical Care grants endeavor. If you know a family or families who have adopted children experiencing medical needs, consider pointing them to Show Hope’s Medical Care grants webpage. There, they can request more information and learn more about the application process. You can also spread the word by sharing this blog post or the webpage link on your social platforms and within your network of adoption professionals and support organizations who serve adoptive families.
“Our entire staff and board have been astounded by how God has used countless prayers and support to launch this newest endeavor, Medical Care grants, and we are eager to see where we go from here,” Richards said. “There is still much work to be, and we look forward to serving more children and families in the years to come with this work.