Bill James, CFO at Marine Credit Union, lives the definition of a blended family. Bill has two children (28 and 30) from his first marriage, and then adopted two children (16 and 17) and had two more children (11 and 13) with his wife, Cathy.
Years ago, after Bill and Cathy were married, they felt passionate about growing their family, not only biologically but also to provide a forever family for children who deserve bright futures and good families.
And just like that, off they went to start the adoption process. They were evaluated and deemed a good fit, financially stable and were ultimately approved to be adoptive parents.
When they heard of a boy in Russia who needed to be adopted, off they went again! After arriving in Russia, they saw firsthand the great need to help children in the remote orphanage. They could not wait to meet their adoptive son and take him home.
After bringing their son Max home from Russia, they learned he also had a brother just one year older. Their hearts broke for the older brother and they wanted to keep the brothers together. Bill and Cathy decided to adopt Max’s brother Nicholas and grow their home by two! “It was very sweet to see them meet for the first time,” said Bill. The long adoption process came and went, and Bill and Cathy’s dream of adopting came true! The two boys are both currently sophomores in high school.
Children are put up for adoption for various reasons, but in almost all cases, the parents or family members are just not equipped to care for children, as was the case with Bill’s sons. “We were blessed to be able to adopt,” said Bill.
Along the way, Bill and Cathy had their son Nathan, and a few years later had their daughter Samantha, rounding out their family of eight.
At the beginning of this process, Bill and Cathy sat down and talked to the older children about their plans and what that meant for their family. “At first, they were a little weirded out, but once the little ones were here, they were a huge help!” said Bill. “They became caregivers. They were very engaged in the process. They held them, fed them and played with them. Today they are all very close, connected and get together often as a complete family.
Fortunately for Bill and Cathy, financing their adoptions was not an issue, but that is not always the case for everyone. After the adoptions Bill and Cathy were connected with Gift of Adoption. Gift of Adoption is an organization that provides grants and support to those looking to adopt children who don’t have all of the needed financial resources. Gift of Adoption seemed to be a great way Bill and Cathy could help others complete their forever families.
“They are committed to helping children have forever families,” said Bill. “It’s a good cause that has good volunteers who work hard to help people so they can complete their adoptions. I understand the pain of it not going through. If we hadn’t had the finances, we wouldn’t have been able to adopt both brothers. It would have been heartbreaking.”
The Marine Credit Union Foundation and Gift of Adoption are joining forces to form an exciting partnership designed to help families in Marine’s service area who want to give a child a forever family. The Marine Credit Union Foundation Adoption Fund at Gift of Adoption is dedicated to funding adoption assistance grants for nine children through Gift of Adoption’s application process over the next three years. These children will have a family to provide the love, security, advocacy and nurturing they need. See this example of Isaac’s story.
Research by the Dave Thomas Foundation shows that 25% of Americans have seriously considered adoption, yet only 2% complete the process, citing the significant upfront cost of adoption (average $29,000 for a domestic adoption and $36,000 for an international adoption) as a significant concern. This leave vulnerable, parentless children to grow up in foster home, orphanages or on the streets – resulting in direct and undeniable correlation to homelessness, teen pregnancy, unemployment, mental illness, poverty and crime in our country and around the world.