our most frequently asked questions and answers

What is CNF?

Children Need Families is a project of Operation Underground Railroad. Timothy Ballard, Founder of Operation Underground Railroad, and his wife, Katherine Ballard, started the process of adopting two children from Haiti. The parents of seven children, Katherine and Tim knew that two more must join their already ‘at capacity’ family when Tim met a brother and sister on a trip to Haiti. Months into the adoption process, Katherine felt pulled, impressed, to help more children unite sooner (rather than later) with their adoptive families. She knew first hand, how these waiting children and families were separated not only by distance, but by expenses, government approvals, legal fees, and forms. She and Tim knew very well how tedious the ‘wait’ was, up to three years for them and others. 

Children Need Families is a project of Operation Underground Railroad. Timothy Ballard, Founder of Operation Underground Railroad, and his wife, Katherine Ballard, started the process of adopting two children from Haiti. The parents of seven children, Katherine and Tim knew that two more must join their already ‘at capacity’ family when Tim met a brother and sister on a trip to Haiti. Months into the adoption process, Katherine felt pulled, impressed, to help more children unite sooner (rather than later) with their adoptive families. She knew first hand, how these waiting children and families were separated not only by distance, but by expenses, government approvals, legal fees, and forms. She and Tim knew very well how tedious the ‘wait’ was, up to three years for them and others. 

Emotionally and financially draining for all involved, adopting parents often take a second or third job. Fundraisers, car washes, and yard sales are typically part of the narrative of a family trying to save enough money to bring their children home and complete an adoption. Children Need Families foundation or CNF was created almost overnight, in response to this tremendous need and Katherine’s prompting.

Grants

It is a one-time gift of financial assistance to an applicant who is in the process of adopting or about to begin the adoption process. The applicant must be currently working with a licensed, accredited adoption agency and complete the CNF grant application (see link below). As with any grant, application for a grant does not guarantee receipt of a CNF grant. Families are chosen on a case by case basis dependent on many factors, including but not exclusive of financial need. Every application is thoughtfully read and carefully considered.

A CNF grant is available to families working with a Hague accredited adoption agency. Usually, the family has paid their initial adoption fees and has committed to complete their adoption through the agency they are working with. At times, adoption fees or scheduled payments are difficult to complete for a variety of reasons, i.e. (loss of income, reduction in income, medical or familial concerns, etc.). All adopting families are invited to apply. Families finding themselves in financial need are encouraged to apply. Everyone who applies for a CNF grant is considered. Though the CNF grant is a need-based grant, we carefully review each family’s application and consider all factors including compelling reasons.

You are to send an email to childrenneedfamilies@ourrescue.org. There you are free to request an application and ask questions. We will help you through the process.

Email childrenneedfamilies@ourrescue.org or apply at here. Once you’ve filled out the application and are working with an adoption agency, we will consider your application on a case by case basis. If you are not sure where to start but are interested in adoption, we can help. Email us (above) with any questions.

Grant applications are considered every quarter. You may be awarded a grant and notified within 2-3 months after applying.

Statistics

CNF has awarded 63 grants to a total of 52 families in the completion of their adoptions. A total of 77 children have either “come home” or are in the process of “coming home” because of donors, volunteers and partners of CNF.

Every child that lives outside of the structure of a family is at risk for exploitation and/or trafficking. Statistics from law enforcement and adoption support this. CNF is a preventative project of O.U.R. to further combat the exploitation of children by helping them to find the most stable and healthy environment for growth, a family. Consistent with the mission of O.U.R., Children Need Families facilitates funding for adoptions where O.U.R. does rescues and anti-human trafficking work. This should not be confused with the idea that children in the adoption process are in any way rescued from or survivors of, human trafficking. That is not the case. CNF is committed to working in the countries from which O.U.R. and law enforcement partners rescue children.

Adoption Inquiries

All countries below are Hague-accredited, meaning they comply with a set of adoption laws and regulations that both the United States and the foreign countries have agreed to, ensuring that the adoption process is consistent, legal and approved by both countries. These countries are also those which O.U.R. partners with to provide education, preventative tools, rescue efforts and after-care related to human trafficking:

  • North America
  • Canada
  • United States of America
  • Mexico
  • International
  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Ghana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Peru
  • Thailand
  • Uruguay

CNF or Children Need Families is a special project of O.U.R. We are not an adoption agency. The primary mission of CNF is to assist adoptive families already in the adoption process, by offering a financial assistance grant. We also provide information about the adoption process and answer questions related to adoption. Prospective parents already working with a Hague accredited international adoption agency or a private domestic agency or Foster Care, are invited to apply for a financial assistance grant.

 

Finding children in need of adoption is within the wheelhouse of adoption agencies. There are strict rules governing the adoption process and pre-identification of a child, outside of kinship adoptions. A kinship adoption is a relative or family member adopting another relative or family member. For most adoptions, pre-identification of a child is not possible.

There are thousands of children in need of adoption and well under that number of available families ready to adopt. If you have the desire to adopt, be assured that there are children waiting for a forever home and family. 

The necessary paperwork for children who are true orphans in a licensed orphanage is prepared by the orphanage, the government agencies within the country of the child’s birth and the adoption agency. Families interested in adoption are encouraged to contact an adoption agency. Though CNF is not an adoption agency, we can refer you to one or more licensed Hague accredited agencies we have a relationship with. In the majority of cases, you must be currently working with a licensed, Hague accredited adoption agency based in the United States. If you are working with a licensed, Hague accredited adoption agency outside of the U.S., we will contact that agency to determine if we might be able to work with them before considering the grant application.

We have awarded grants to many families who have worked with vetted agencies. CNF has a growing network of recommended agencies though we do not endorse agencies, give or receive remuneration for our relationship. CNF has awarded grants to facilitate international, domestic, private and foster care adoptions.

Please contact us for a list of agencies we are currently working with at childrenneedfamilies@ourrescue.org. This list is always growing and is not exclusive. CNF adds new agencies to this list as needed. If you are working with an agency that is not on this list, we would be happy to send a grant application and introductory email to your agency. All prospective and current adoptive families are invited to apply.

The cost may vary depending on the agency a family is using. The average cost of an international adoption is between $25,000 to $40,000.

A domestic adoption can cost upwards of $40,000. A domestic adoption through the U.S. Foster Care is subsidized by each state and has little or no out of pocket cost to the adoptive family.

An international adoption usually takes 3 years to complete. For some countries the adoption may be completed within 2 years. Unfortunately, there aren’t any shortcuts or procedures that one can take to expedite the process. The Hague laws which govern adoptions, also sets the fee schedule and the schedule for completion of documents along the way. 

A domestic (private) adoption usually takes at least a year to complete. Any adoption timeline is difficult to define. The time from application to completion is case by case. A Foster Care (state) adoption in the U.S. also takes about 1 year to complete. However, a foster parent may have that child or children in their care for at least 6 months prior to the adoption. Please feel free to contact the Foster Care Foundation in your state for more information.

The children in need of families through adoption spans all ages from infants to teenagers, up to 17 years of age internationally and up to 18 years of age domestically. Sibling groups available for adoption are increasing. There truly is no shortage of children who need stability, consistent care, and the love a parent or family can provide. Though preferences exist among couples and families to bring a baby or young child into the home, children of all ages should be considered. The process is long and older children, even elementary school aged, are sometimes overlooked. We encourage those who are thinking of adopting to consider older children and teens. These are some of the most rewarding adoption experiences for the child or youth as well as for the adopting family or individual. Older children and teens are wanting a forever family as much as an infant or young child. They have often seen younger children adopted while waiting year after year for their turn.

Not at all! CNF does not limit grants to only U.S. citizens. The families we award grants to are citizens of a variety of nations and countries. Though most of the adoption agencies we partner with are based in the U.S., we are continually expanding the CNF footprint to include adoption agencies worldwide. The children adopted into grant applicant or grant recipient families, are both domestic and international. Some of our adoptive families share the nationality of the country they are adopting from. These are often kinship or relatives adopting relatives. CNF does not discriminate.

Yes, there is sometimes a reunification effort before a child enters into the adoption process. Parental rights of the biological parents must be relinquished or terminated by a court before a child is placed for adoption. Guardianship rights must also be either relinquished or terminated before a child is eligible for adoption. This is always a case by case consideration. At times, reunification with the biological family is possible. In some cases, adoption or guardianship by relatives within the child’s home country is also a possibility.
(See above regarding kinship adoption)

Individuals and couples who are working with a licensed, Hague accredited adoption agency and who meet the agency criteria, can adopt. According to international adoption law, children cannot be pre-identified, chosen or picked out by a prospective family wanting to adopt. Once the prospective adopting individual or couple has completed the required criteria, including a home study, they are eventually “matched” with a waiting child or sibling group.Toggle Content

Donate and Volunteer

Yes, you can! 100% of your donation is used to help a family in need of a grant to complete their adoption and bring their waiting child or children home. There are no administrative costs associated with the donation.

To donate specifically to CNF, use this link: 

https://my.ourrescue.org/product/CNF/children-need-families 

You may also donate to O.U.R. and specify that the funds are to be used for CNF.

Every donation lifts a family’s financial burden and shortens the wait of a child anticipating their forever home. CNF works in partnership with adoption agencies, orphanages, and adoptive families, worldwide, offering a grant subsidy to assist with one of the often prohibitive steps of the adoption process, the cost. Once families apply and are approved, a one-time grant is gifted to the family to offset adoption and legal fees, travel reimbursement and other related expenses. Once the grant is presented by CNF, the adoption cost is either nearer to completion or paid in full and eventually those children come home!

Currently, we are not participating in any child or student sponsorship programs. However, please check back with us regarding future programs to sponsor older children and teens. This is one of the most rewarding and exciting programs outside of adoption that gives youth the opportunity to live with a family. It also gives the sponsoring family the opportunity to love and engage with amazing youth from other countries. This is not an exchange student program.

Yes! Please email us at childrenneedfamilies@ourrescue.org and title your email: Volunteer Opportunities. At this time, Children Need Families uses several amazing volunteers. All donations are used to fund grants and other adoption related activities. We are happy to share that one is paid from donations to CNF.

Website and Contact Information

Email us at childrenneedfamilies@ourrescue.org.

Our Executive Director, Janet Russon or another CNF team member will answer your email promptly.

Yes! Please go to ourrescue.org and click on the CNF tab to learn more, apply for a grant or donate to make a difference in someone’s adoption journey. You will also find adoption stories, testimonials, videos and links.

Employment

Not at this time. CNF is a project of O.U.R. therefore all hiring and operations of CNF are under the administration of O.U.R. There are no paid positions within CNF.

Who we collaborate with

Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome – A CNF grant was awarded to fund 491 Down Syndrome children.

Kyampisi Childcare Ministries – A CNF grant was awarded to fund 19 survivors of human sacrifice.

Hand In Hand International Adoptions – A CNF grant was awarded to provide adoption escorts for 10 children.

Solutions – A Haitian based digitizing company. CNF is working with Solutions to digitize over ten thousand children’s adoption files for Haitian orphanages.

Respire –  A campus of 500 former restavek children (House slaves), Respire received a 50K grant from CNF for educational and other campus needs.

Goya Foods/Goya Cares –  Initiative working with CNF to connect orphanages in Mexico and the Dominican Republic with adoption agencies.