Frequently Asked Questions

Here you’ll find some helpful answers to common questions. Whether you are researching adoption financial assistance options or are a family approved by Lifesong, we hope you’ll find some quick answers. You may also contact us via email or by phone 309.747.4527 between 8 am – 4 pm CST.

 

Quick Guide

Click the link below to move to the specific category of question.

 


Families Applying for Financial Assistance

1.  How long does the application review take?

Plan on 4 to 6 weeks. We try to move quickly, but the number of applications received takes time.

 

2.  What if we need to expedite the review process? (For instance, we learned that we could have a child placed in our home much sooner than originally expected.)

Contact us. We do everything in our power to be flexible and helpful.

 

3.  Can I apply for more than one grant/loan?

As it relates to Lifesong-specific grants/loans, we are only able to provide one grant/loan per family. Funding does not allow us to approve a Lifesong grant and a church fund grant, for instance.

 

4.  What if we can’t send the required pastoral letter of recommendation with the application? (For instance, my husband is the pastor.)

You are welcome to send a letter from another pastor who knows your family well. Also, an elder/board member, your small group leader, or a Sunday School teacher from your church can write the letter.

 

5.  We are in the process of adopting a child who is already in our home because of foster care. Can we apply for adoption funding?

Each situation is unique. Feel free to contact us with the specifics of your situation.

 


Approved Adoptive Families

If you need something urgently, please call the Family Account Manager at 309.747.4517 between 8 am – 4 pm CST. Please do NOT depend on email. Due to a large volume of communications, emails are answered in the order received, so it may be a day or two before your email is read.

NOTE:  Please include your family number in ALL correspondence (including emails) to Lifesong as this is how your information is found.

 

1.  How do I find out how much has been donated to my fund?

  1. Go to the Family Fund Reports page.
  2. Click “login”
  3. Log in using your email address (the first one you provided on your Lifesong application) and your account number as the password. Your account number is five digits (include a 0 in front of the four digits)
  4. You will be redirected back to the Family Fund Reports page where you will either have a button to access your report or a message stating no donations have been received yet.

The family report shows:
Date – date donation received into or payment made from your account
Donor Name – the name of the donor or who the payment was sent to
Donated Amount – amount received
Payments – the amount paid out of account
Program Short Title – four letters showing designation of funds:

First two letters designate Lifesong (LS) or private fund (PF)

Last two letters designate your Family Fund donations (FF) or matching grant (MG) or Direct Grant (yes, Grant is not two letters)

Family Code – family number

Family Title – name, date approved, the amount received if grant or loan and the name of the fund providing grant or loan; a fundraising account is designated with initials FS

NOTE:

  • To calculate the amount of funds available:  “total donated amount” minus “payments” plus “matching grant,” “direct grant,” or “loan amount” = funds available
  • If you received a matching grant, the funds are matched as they are received dollar for dollar and become available immediately. You do not need to wait for the entire match before accessing funds in your account.
  • Grant and loan amounts are not included in the “donated amount” column. They are reflected only in the “payments” column when actually paid out.
  • Reports are updated five nights a week Monday through Friday.

 

2.  How long does it take for donations to show up in my fund?

Usually, checks received in the mail are posted daily to individual accounts. However, if there is a large volume of checks, it may take more than a day before donations show up in your account.

Due to payment processing procedures, ALL online donations (mySTORY and lifesong.org) take 3-5 days to show up on your donation report.

Online donations made on     →     Arrive to Lifesong (depending on workload it will be posted within two days)

  • Saturday, Sunday, Monday     →     Wednesday
  • Tuesday     →     Thursday
  • Wednesday     →     Friday
  • Thursday     →     Monday
  • Friday     →     Tuesday

(If there is a holiday, it will postpone Lifesong receiving the donation by another day.)

Donations from Gobena coffee sales will be posted once a month to your family report usually by the 15th of the month for the previous month’s sales.

 

3.  How are donations handled for fundraisers?

Lifesong for Orphans will not provide tax-deductible receipts for auctions, raffles, and other fundraisers involving the exchange of goods and/or services. However, the proceeds from these fundraisers could be sent to Lifesong following one of the two ways noted below:

  1. You can have a friend or family member write a check to Lifesong for Orphans for the funds raised at this fundraiser. HOWEVER, THEY MUST INCLUDE A NOTE that the funds are from a fundraiser and no tax-deductible receipt should be given.
  2. You can send a cashier’s check if your name is nowhere on the check. YOU MUST INCLUDE A NOTE that the funds are from a fundraiser and no tax-deductible receipt should be given.

 

NOTE:  YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DONATE MONEY TO YOUR OWN ACCOUNT!

4.  Who receives receipts for donating to my account?

Lifesong automatically sends receipts for individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 that come directly to Lifesong for Orphans via check or the Lifesong website donation page (which uses STRIPE). Money coming through a third party (such as GoFundMe or Facebook) cannot be receipted. Receipts for donations to Lifesong under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.

 

5.  How long does my account stay open?

  • Your account remains open to receive donations until your child is home or the adoption is complete according to whichever of the following conditions occurs first:
    • The adoption is “legally complete” whether that occurs overseas or in the U.S.
    • When adoption reports that require home study or external facilitation are complete.
    • A maximum of one year after the child is in the home if the adoption is still not complete.
  • Your account will remain open even if it carries a zero balance. The “goal date” established when you created your MyStory page is just a goal to encourage timely giving. It is not a deadline.
  • PLEASE inform the Family Account Manager when the adoption is complete, so the file may be closed and any monies left in your account may be paid out.

 

6.  How do I access my funds (loans, matching grant, direct grant, donations)?
  • You may submit your requests for funds to the Family Account Manager via email or fax to 309.747.4647 (if you fax, please call to confirm it has been received) or use regular mail sending to Lifesong for Orphans, Attn:  Family Account Manager, P.O. Box 40, Gridley, IL  61744. If you email receipts, please use .pdf files. Taking photos of documents and attaching them as .jpg files may work. Please confirm attachments will be legible when printed before sending.
  • Payment is always made based on available funds.
  • Payments/reimbursements are sent daily. Again if you need something urgently, please call 309.747.4647 after submitting your email and ask the Family Account Manager to process it quickly.

There are two ways to access your funds:

  • If you want the payment to go to someone other than yourself.
    1. Send a copy of the invoice/document showing what is owed.
    2. State you want a payment made on your behalf and provide:
      • Your name
      • Your family number
      • Who to pay including the mailing address if not on the document
      • Total amount to be paid from your account

NOTE: If you want the payment to go to an attorney, an individual (rather than a company), or an LLC (limited liability company) a W-9 needs to be on file with Lifesong before payment can be made. Please ask the attorney/individual to submit the W-9 to you, and then forward to me along with the document for payment.

  • If you want to be reimbursed for adoption expenses you have paid
    1. Complete the Adoption Expenses Reimbursement Form. (Two formats of the form:  Excel and PDF. Excel is preferred, but you may use the .pdf is it is easier for you.) NOTE:  If you submit foreign receipts, you need to include the exchange rate and convert the foreign currency to U.S. dollars in the appropriate columns on the reimbursement form.
    2. Submit proof of payment (receipts or canceled checks including both the front and back of the check or bank statement documentation proving the check was processed). For airfare, you must submit the itinerary showing name/dates/flights/ticketed—usually, it shows how paid which is then proof of payment. Documentation that would satisfy the IRS is what you need to submit. Be sure to send copies, and keep the originals for your records.
    3. Number your receipts to match the numbered lines on the Reimbursement Form beginning with #1.
    4. When requesting reimbursement, the easiest way for everyone involved is to submit expenses for “big ticket” items such as agency fees and airfare. Unless you raise enough funds to cover the entire adoption cost, submitting receipts for the more expensive items is most efficient. It is fine to send a large receipt even if that amount of funds is not currently available in your account. As funds become available, future payments to you can be applied against that large receipt. You will just need to watch your account balance and notify me when you have funds to be sent to you based on the unreimbursed receipts already on file.

 

7.  What expenses are reimbursable? And not reimbursable?

The following is not all-inclusive:

  • Reimbursable: includes reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the adoption such as court fees, home study fees, agency fees, lawyer fees, postage, airfare for two people only (usually parents) plus the adoptive child(ren) when making in-country visits or for U.S. flights for U.S. adoptions, travel expenses including lodging but excluding food.
  • Not Reimbursable: fundraising expenses, food, convenience fees, beds, diapers, medical expenses when the child is home

 

8.  What method of payment does Lifesong use? 

Normally Lifesong will send a check. If you need to have money sent electronically in an emergency that can be done. A fee is charged against your account for the wire transaction which is usually $10. When requesting an electronic fund transfer, you need to provide the bank name and address, the routing number of the bank (please be sure to confirm the number with the bank; don’t assume it’s correct on your check), the bank account # and the name(s) on the account.

 

9.  How do I pay for expenses overseas

Lifesong does not wire money overseas. You must make arrangements with your agency if that is needed. If the agency agrees to wire funds, you may submit the agency’s invoice for the overseas expenses, and Lifesong will send payment to the agency. The best way to access funds for overseas use is to submit receipts for adoption expenses you have already paid for so a check can be sent to you. That will provide you with money to use for travel.

 

10.  Will Lifesong reconsider the financial assistance that has been approved for my adoption?

Lifesong’s policy is to review a family file one time for financial assistance. This is due to the fact that more families submit applications than Lifesong has funds available to help. Once a decision has been made on your adoption, no further assistance will be available. However, if you wanted to do a Both Hands project, use Gobena fundraising, or use mySTORY that would be fine.

 

11.  Does Lifesong send me any documentation for my tax records?

Lifesong does not send any special year-end reports. Your online report shows donations and payouts. You may want to keep the most current copy for your tax records as well as keep copies of all receipts/invoices submitted to Lifesong for reimbursement/ payment, so you can match them to the account update. When your adoption is complete, a final account update will be sent to you.

You may find it advantageous to consult with a CPA or tax attorney at the beginning of your adoption regarding your personal tax situation and how to best utilize your funds and how the adoption tax credit applies to your situation.

 

12.  Who can I talk with to learn more about the Adoption Tax Credit?

Becky Wilmoth at Bill’s Tax Service, 501 W. Broadway, Centralia, IL  62801, phone: 618.532.7223 will be glad to answer your questions regarding the Adoption Tax Credit.

 

Some answers differ for families receiving support for post-adoptive counseling. See below for more information.

 


Post-Adoptive Counseling Families

1.  How long does my account stay open?
  • Your account remains open for two years. At that time, you will be contacted to see if you are ready to close your account or if you would like your fund-raising ability through Lifesong to continue.
  • If you want to close your account before two years, please let the Family Account Manager know.

 

2.  How do I access my funds (loan, matching grant, direct grant, donation)?

A. If you want a payment to go to a provider:

1.  Send a copy of the invoice or document showing what is owed.
2.  In your email, state you want the Family Account Manager (see contact info in section D below) to make the payment on your behalf and provide:

a. your name
b. your family number
c. who to pay, including the mailing address if not on the invoice
d. the total amount to be paid from your account

Note: If you want Lifesong to send payment to an attorney or an individual (rather than a company), or an LLC (limited liability company) a W-9 needs to be on file with Lifesong before payment can be made. Please request the attorney/individual to submit the W-9 to you and then forward it to the Family Account Manager along with the invoice for payment.

B. If you want to be reimbursed for expenses you have paid:

1.  Complete the Counseling Expenses Reimbursement Form. Which will be sent to you once you have been approved.

NOTE: If you submit foreign receipts, you need to include the exchange rate and convert the foreign currency to U.S. dollars in the appropriate columns on the reimbursement form.

2.  Submit proof of payment (receipts or cancelled checks including both the front and back of the check or bank statement documentation proving the check was processed). Documentation that would satisfy the IRS is what you need to submit. Be sure to send copies and keep the originals for your records.

3.  Number your receipts to match the numbered lines on the Reimbursement Form beginning with #1.

D. You may submit your requests for your funds to the Family Account Manager via email, fax (309.747.4647), or regular mail (Lifesong for Orphans, Attn: Family Account Manager, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744). If you email receipts, please use .pdf files if possible. Taking photos of receipts and attaching them as .jpg files may also work. Please confirm the .pdf and .jpg files are legible before sending.

E. Payment is always made based on your available funds.

F. Reimbursements/payments are sent daily.

 

3.  What expenses are reimbursable?

Counseling fees. These could be counseling directly for your adopted child(ren) or potentially for yourselves or for siblings in certain circumstances. Other possible uses for the grant could include:

  • To pay for registration, travel, accommodation, etc. to attend an Empowered to Connect  Conference
  • To pay for registration, travel, accommodation, etc. to attend a Refresh Conference
  • To obtain approved training to better parent your adopted child
  • To purchase Empowered to Connect, TCU videos and resources like The Connected Child; The Connection – where hearts meet; TBRI materials and more
  • Counseling, training with Trauma Competent Care Counselors
  • In-Home Intensive Training

The grant may not be used for medical treatments/therapies.

 

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