Logan Belle was born in December 2020 to a teenage mother. The birthmother decided to proceed with adoption for Logan, who was matched with a family in Indiana. To financially complete the adoption process, a $5,000 grant from Gift of Adoption – made possible by the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation (CWF) – was provided to Melea and Christoph so they could bring Logan home to be a family.
“Logan is such a beautiful and smart little girl. We are blessed to be able to parent this sweet baby,” Melea shared with Gift of Adoption. “We will make sure Logan knows that her birth mother made the most honorable and loving decision she could, to give her child a life she could not provide herself.”
Gift of Adoption of Northbrook, Ill., is a 2021 American Legion Child Welfare Foundation grant recipient of $25,000 to help provide adoption assistance for children in the United States. This is the second CWF grant provided to Gift of Adoption whose mission since its founding in 1996 is to “provide adoption assistance grants to bring the most vulnerable children into permanent, loving families and really changing the trajectory of their lives,” said Julie Pendell, chief development officer at Gift of Adoption Fund. “I love that it’s a mission of real people’s stories.”
Jude was born in Alaska in October 2020. He would have entered foster care had an adoptive family not came forward. Chantal and Josephine of Anchorage wanted to start a family through adoption and when they learned of Jude, they wanted to provide him with every opportunity to thrive. Through a Gift of Adoption grant made possible by the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, Jude is now with his forever home.
Chantal shared, “Jude started life as a quiet little observer who was focused on growing. Now he is alert and continues to be observant but is also very talkative; his teachers at daycare call him ‘the story-teller.’ He has grown so well and is now an adorable roly-poly. Thank you for helping make us make him our family.”
Gift of Adoption supports children who are at risk of entering foster care, aging out of foster care or an orphanage, and who have medical needs. They too focus on keeping siblings together through adoption.
In its 25-year history, Gift of Adoption has provided over $11 million in grants to unite more than 3,800 children with permanent families. The organization’s goal this fiscal year is to unite 525 children with families in honor of its 25th anniversary. And the American Legion’s CWF grant is helping achieve this.
Five children, including Logan and Jude, have been placed in forever homes thanks to the CWF grant with the rest of the funds to be expended on Gift of Adoption assistance grants through the end of 2021. “A $25,000 gift doesn’t happen to us every day, so this allows us the ability to reach out to families with a Gift of Adoption. It’s incredible,” Pendell said.
Families that apply for a grant from Gift of Adoption have already been matched with their child(ren) and are in the process of adopting “but coming to the point where they can’t finalize the adoption due to lack of funding,” Pendell said. “They have often taken a second mortgage on their home, held personal fundraisers, asked family and friends for support, and still falling short because of the incredible expense of adoption. They apply to Gift of Adoption for those final funds.”
Pendell said an average Gift of Adoption grant is $4,000 but can go up to $15,000. About 700 families apply every year for grants, and the organization can help just over half of them due to available funding. The organization has 26 chapters across the country that are volunteer driven with a goal of fundraising and awareness.
“A donation to a Gift of Adoption really does change a child’s life forever,” Pendell said. “And generationally too because that child goes on and their life is changed, the generations that follow that person are also changed … all because of one generous donation or a donor allowed us to give a grant to those parents. A grant that is truly transformational for the child and the family. I love that you can so easily take the picture of that change to our donors. Every story is hinged on the fact that people or companies, or organizations or foundations came alongside the mission and made that happen.”