Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About Reece’s Rainbow (dated July 2011)
After 7 years of service and nearly 1000 children who have found families through Reece’s Rainbow, many changes have occurred as the organization has grown! The needs of the children and our families are paramount, and all founation decisions are based on those needs. We do so in all good faith and with the best of intentions. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about how our foundation is set up, how we handle donations and grant disbursements, and what our role is in each adoption. There are exceptions to every situation, but below are our general policies. Any questions you have can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few key points, and you can read more about them in detail further below.
- Reece’s Rainbow is not an adoption agency. We are an advocacy and adoption grant/fundraising organization only. We raise awareness for waiting children with Down syndrome and other special needs for the purposes of international adoption and social activism. We actively pursue donations as grants to offset the costs related to adopting the children we serve.
- Reece’s Rainbow is a registered 501©3 non-profit, legally classified as a public charity with the IRS and incorporated originally in the state of Georgia. We are also registered and certified with the State of Maryland. Our non profit tax id is 20-5466141 and our 990 filings for each year can be openly viewed at www.guidestar.org. Our offices are currently located at PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885. Donations by check can be mailed to this address.
- There are no faith based restrictions on our adoption grants or donations. Qualified and approved adoptive families of all faiths are welcome. Donations are legally made on behalf of each child. Families who are approved to adopt by a licensed social worker in their state and who qualify for their country of choice are eligible to receive a child’s grant with submission of our FSP (Family Sponsorship Program) application and supporting documents.
- We are a grant foundation, but we also consider ourselves a ministry. Definition from Merriam-Webster: “a person or thing through which something is accomplished.” In only 8 years, the advocacy and fundraising efforts of Reece’s Rainbow have helped bring more than 1500+ orphans with Down syndrome and other special needs into loving forever families of their own. And although we are legally classified a public charity, this organization was founded on and is run by Christian principles to serve orphans. We exist to be a voice of hope and a future for these children. There is no other motivation for us than to do right by each one.
- Reece’s Rainbow does not financially benefit from any facilitator or agency partnerships. The children listed on our website are shared with us by specific facilitation teams and licensed agency partners working in those particular countries and regions. RR does not pay for this information, we never have and we never will. Unlike other photo listing organizations, we do not charge agencies/facilitators to share their children with us. We do not make any money from these adoptions, not one cent, not at any time, and that is what sets RR apart from a child placing agency. We are not involved in the financial transaction for services in any way. These teams have a proven track record of success in completing adoptions of known children with special needs, and they are well-established partners in-country. However, families are welcome to use any facilitator or licensed agency they wish, provided said parties are able to show proof of possession of the child’s identifying information prior to a match on our site.
- Grant donations are legally made on behalf of the child, and are available to families regardless of which facilitation team or agency they work with to complete their adoption. (with submission of required grant app and supporting documents)
- Application for grant funds must be made prior to the completion of a child’s adoption. Should we learn that a child has been adopted outside of RR, that child will be marked “my family found me” and their grant funds reallocated to another waiting child. You can learn more about our Family Sponsorship Program here: http://reecesrainbow.org/new-family/family-sponsorship-program
- Grant disbursements can only be made after a dossier has been submitted and the family has received an official travel date. There can be no exceptions. All upfront costs, including but not limited to Promise Trust (for Ukraine), home study, USCIS, reports/documents, agency application fees, upfront agency fees, dossier translation fees, etc, are the responsibility of the family and can not be paid from RR grant funds. This policy is necessary to protect the donated funds until such time as the adoption is most likely to be successful.
- All children posted on our site are known to be eligible for international adoption or nearly cleared and available soon. We do not knowingly post children who are not available, and would never accept donations or seek an adoptive family for a child we know can not be adopted. The status of a child’s availability can change at any time for many reasons, such as adoption through another agency unbeknownst to RR, death of a child, domestic adoption or foster care of a child, etc. This is impossible to predict and is simply a risk of international adoption.
- Families can use our established adoption partners or an agency/facilitation team of their choosing (provided the child’s info is available to that team or agency). This decision needs to be made at the beginning of the process, prior to commitment, and provided to Reece’s Rainbow in writing as part of your grant eligibility application. Reece’s Rainbow is not in possession of any additional identifying info besides country, region, and DOB, as listed in each profile.
- Homestudies: Reece’s Rainbow is one of the few grant organizations that do not require a completed homestudy prior to commitment. We do this to give families as much time as possible to fundraise prior to travel. The expectation is that all home studies will be complete within 12 weeks from the date of commitment.
- Approval to adopt: this is the sole responsibility of your licensed home study social worker,USCIS, and your child placing agency. Reece’s Rainbow is not involved in this in any way. Although we will share our own personal opinions with you about the challenges of adopting particular children into families with particular dynamics, we do this because we care and because we have seen the experiences of other families post-adoption. (ie: adopting a 7 yr old institutionalized child into a family with very young children, or adopting multiples). The majority of our leadership team and family liaisons are previous adoptive families through RR and have personally experienced the challenges of international adoption. Their suggestions are valuable! But ultimately the decision is entirely up to you and your social worker as to whether your choice of child is a good decision for your family.
- Medical information: Reece’s Rainbow has only the information provided to us by the referring agency. This information differs based on the country program. Information that we usually have includes: country, age and/or date of birth, the child’s disability as listed by their referring agency and the requirements to adopt from that country (such as parent’s income, family size restrictions, etc). If photos of the child are available, this information is listed in the child’s profile. We do not omit any known information, and go to great lengths to caution potential adoptive families about the likelihood of such things as FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) and other needs based on observation, even if they are not included in the child’s official medical records. We *strongly* recommend adoption training classes! Families who are considering the adoption of children with known special needs out of an institutional setting should educate themselves on how this life impacts children, the possible behavioral and emotional challenges you may face once home, and whether your current family dynamics are right for that *risk*. You always have the right to refuse the referral in country and request a different child if those needs are far greater than originally expected.
- Individual country/program costs: These overall costs are provided to Reece’s Rainbow by the agencies that refer the children. Adoption costs can vary greatly from agency to agency, even at the time of year you are traveling due to increased cost of airfare during the summer. Families should always verify the expenses related to their adoption with the agency. RR does not provide child placing services. You are legally under contract with your agency and/or facilitator for services, and should read the contract/schedule of fees thoroughly before committing. Ask first if you are unclear of something. If you should run into a situation where the actual costs are significantly more than your contractual fees, yes, we want to know about it, but all concerns/action would need to be taken with the agency. Reece’s Rainbow is not involved in those relationships or contracts.
- Post Adoption Support: Our “After the Rainbow” group is available for families who are newly home with their adopted children through RR. This group is in place to provide much needed PEER support from other families who have experienced similar challenges with their adopted children. Each family will be sent a welcome letter, and we encourage all families to participate, but it is the responsibility of each family to do so. ATR is not a replacement for professional post-adoptive counseling or therapy, and they are not licensed social workers or a child placing agency. RR is not legally responsible for post-adoptive follow-up or post-placement reporting. This group is in place as a courtesy and a resource for help to our families.
Questions About Donations
- Can I find out who donated to our FSP (Family Support Program) Fund?
Families can get a list of donor names from Michelle. Families will also receive a spreadsheet of donors/disbursements for their records when the adoption is complete (starting spring 2013).
- I am a warrior for a child and want to have a fundraiser — will I be able to get a list of donors?
No. Sorry, we are only able to give donor names out to families in the process of adopting. Donor confidentiality is strictly honored. However, Michelle can verify that the winner of your fundraiser did in fact make a donation, if you’d like.
- Can I donate anonymously?
Yes! Please contact Michelle if you would like your donation (or all future donations) to be anonymous.
- I made a donation to a child, and the full amount isn’t showing up. Was there an error?
When you donate to a child on our Waiting Child List, 10% of those funds do go into our Voice of Hope fund. It is explained on our website: “Your gift will serve ALL of the children, as 10% of each waiting child donation is shared with our Voice of Hope fund as well!” At this time, Reece’s Rainbow operates completely on private donations. We do not have any foundation, corporate, or government assistance. The Voice of Hope fund makes it possible for us to continue serving these children. We appreciate your support of this fund! You can read more about it here: Voice of Hope
- I am considering making a sizable donation, who can I speak to about this?
You are welcome to speak with our Executive Director, Andrea Roberts, with any questions you may have.
- At what point are adoptive families able to receive grant funds?
Funds are available for disbursement only after your dossier has been submitted and you have received a first trip travel date. Funds are NOT available for anything prior to this, including but not limited to home study, document fees, upfront agency costs, USCIS application, notaries, apostilles, mailing, etc. Families should have the necessary funds available to move forward without delay prior to committing to a child. This is in the best interest of the child. Grant funds can pay for airfare directly, and for agency fees due at that time. Any remaining funds can be disbursed to you as cash for use with travel costs in-country. Our preferred method of disbursement is via Paypal (no fees). This is the fastest way to get money to you when it is time to travel, so please have an active Paypal account set up and ready to receive these funds. These funds are provided to you as a gift and are not counted as taxable income, however Reece’s Rainbow will provide each family with a report at the end of the year indicating grant funds disbursed, at their request.