Who is Buckner?
Buckner International is a Christian social service agency with over 125 years of experience in dealing with children and youth in crisis. Buckner Child & Family Services (BCFS) is one division of Buckner International. Buckner Missions seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by ministering to orphan children throughout the world. Buckner ministers to orphan children by giving humanitarian aid, including shoes from our national “Shoes for Orphan Souls” shoe drive, helping make orphanage improvements, developing programs, ministering through construction projects, and taking people on short-term mission trips.
Who will be in charge of the team?
From the time you enter the country to the time you depart, you will be under the supervision of employees of Buckner International Missions.
Will I be safe?
Some amount of risk always exists when you choose to travel overseas. We take every precaution to ensure the safest trip possible. We consult state travel advisories and in-country ground staff, train the trip participants to be cautious, and pray for God’s wisdom and guidance.
What will I do?
Relationship building is one of the most important opportunities we have with these children who, for the most part, are very limited in the number of relationships the have outside the orphanage walls. Though we are with the children for only a short amount of time, bonds will form quickly with the children and teenagers. They are so open to Christ’s love in you! Please take this opportunity to pray for each child (this may be the only time in their lives they are prayed for). We will guide you to the openness of each orphanage director to evangelism. Do not miss an opportunity to share the love of Christ.
What if I get sick on this trip?
Most of the minor discomforts and illnesses that occur during international travel can be taken care of with over-the-counter medicines. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for over-the-counter and prescription medicines to help you adjust to jet-lag and other potential health issues. Pack prescription medication that you might need along with diarrhea and upset stomach medication, cough and cold medicine, cough drops, aspirin and pain reliever. WE RECOMMEND YOU CARRY THESE ITEMS IN YOUR CARRY-ON. If there were a serious illness or accident, staff would be available to immediately transport you to a safe hospital for quality health care. Please refer to the travel insurance descriptive located in this manual for more information.
How much money should I take?
Your trip cost is all-inclusive. You should bring money for souvenirs and occasional snacks along the way. Bills need to be new (large-face bills) with no marks or tears. Small bills (1s, 5s, 10s, 20s) are recommended for shopping at markets. Credit cards are accepted in some major stores, but traveler checks are not. The amount of money you bring depends on what type of shopper you are.
Will my money and other valuables be safe?
We make every effort to have very secure hotels, but you should never leave money, plane tickets or passports in your rooms. If you have other valuables, lock them in your suitcases before you leave the room each day. Split up your money between you and your spouse/friend and try to leave small amounts in your wallet so that you do not have to get into your money belts in a public place. Please leave jewelry at home and do not take any valuables that might attract attention. Remember not to pack cash or valuables in checked luggage as well.
How old do you have to be to go on a trip with Buckner? Potential trip members must be at least 12 years of age. Anyone between the ages of 12-18 years old must get prior approval from Buckner, and have their parent or legal guardian sign our release form(s).
Can I drink the water?
No. You may not drink the water. Bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth will be provided. If you need additional water (or soft drinks), it is usually available for purchase at kiosks outside the hotel or in shops surrounding the hotel lobby. Remember to have a few bottles with you for our plane ride overseas.
What will we eat?
All of your meals will be in the hotel, orphanage or restaurant. You should pack a few snack foods to eat between meals: peanut butter crackers, granola bars, nuts, raisins, crackers, etc. Most of the trip participants will tell you they get plenty of food at the meals! There are small stores where you may buy bottled water, soft drinks, juice, or small snacks. Bottled water is included in each meal; soft drinks are available in most restaurants for an additional charge.
What do I pack?
Where will I stay?
Refer to baggage allowance guidelines for your airline. Each person will be allowed 2 checked bags weighing approximately 50 pounds each, one bag for personal belongings and one for supplies and donations. Refer to the packing list in the manual as a guide.
While in the city, you will be staying at a hotel. Rooms are based on double-occupancy unless you have requested and are paying extra for a single room. Some mission teams may stay at the orphanage campsite while leading ministry camps.
Do I need to get shots for this trip?
Consult your personal doctor and the Center for Disease Control website www.cdc.gov.
What will the weather be like?
Consult weather websites www.wunderground.com for weather forecasts and histories. Dressing in layers is recommended.
How will I be able to communicate when I do not speak the language?
It is amazing what can be communicated without language. Smiles and hugs go a long way! We also have an incredible team of interpreters available to you during the trip.
What is the time difference (based on CST)?
Consult the following website for exact time difference based on the time of year you are traveling: www.worldtimezone.com. Keep the time difference in mind when making calls to your loved ones at home, or when they are making calls to you.
Will I be able to communicate via phone or internet?
The hotels we stay in should have a business center where email can be accessed. Our busy time schedule may not allow daily access (as business centers close at different hours and sometimes are closed by the time we return to the hotel for the day). Phone cards can also usually be used, though some hotels require a $50 deposit or do not allow outgoing international phone calls. Be prepared to communicate minimally with loved ones back home. Some trip participants have begun renting T-Mobile World Cellular Phones.
Will a Laundry Service be available?
Most hotels are able to do laundry. Cost is per item; one item costs approximately $1.
Do other countries operate on different electric voltage?
Yes. Bring adapters and converters for any electrical devices; they are located in most general stores (Target, Wal-Mart, etc.) and are country-specific.
Does Buckner provide International Adoption Services?
Yes, since late 1995, Buckner has facilitated close to 150 international adoptions. Buckner places children from Russia, Guatemala, and China.
Are all orphans who live in overseas orphanages available for adoption?
No, not all children living in orphanages are legally available for adoption. Each child has different circumstances as to why they live in an orphanage. Some children actually return to family members after a period of time. For those who cannot return to their birth family they may become legally available for adoption. First though, children are made available for adoption to families in the child’s home country. After a period of time, if no one has adopted the child in their homeland, then they are made available for international adoption.
Can I travel overseas with Buckner and choose a child to adopt?
No, in most countries this approach is against the law. (Doing so may put Buckner’s program at risk) The Buckner International Adoption program, the U.S. Government and the foreign governments have a procedure in place to adopt children from other countries. It is necessary for a family who has a desire to adopt, to contact the Buckner International Adoption program or another licensed adoption agency to learn how the procedures work. As mentioned above, not all orphans are legally available for adoption and not all orphans would benefit from being internationally adopted. The foreign government in collaboration with Buckner determines the orphans who are available for adoption and those children who would be best suited for international adoption. Orphanage staff sometimes does not understand the procedures, and may offer reassurances about a child’s adoptability to a visitor in an orphanage. An individual should not take such encouragement as an invitation. If you choose to work with Buckner’s international adoption program you will need to agree to go directly through our Texas adoption staff. If you attempt to make contact with orphanage directors and officials in other countries directly about a child’s adoptability you will be ineligible to be considered as a prospective adoptive parents with Buckner.
But what if I fall in love with a child overseas and want to adopt that child to save them from a terrible life?
Many individuals who travel overseas, are profoundly touched by the children they meet in orphanages. Some of these people have never considered adopting a child until they meet orphans and feel they make a special connection with a child. Wanting to “save a child and give them a better life” is not the best motivation for adopting an orphan. As a licensed child-placing agency, Buckner is responsible for assessing what is best for a child and for a prospective adoptive family. Buckner wants families to choose to enter the adoption program with the understanding and plan to adopt any child, knowing it may not be the child they met overseas. Buckner believes the Lord works in every family’s life and He has a plan for the child and the family. We see that the Lord often works in unexpected ways. We hope families will see their being led to adoption for a specific child as the Lord’s guidance to adoption as a whole. We want families to understand He may not intend the family to adopt that child, but instead have a different plan, which may include for them to adopt a different child. There are many wonderful children who are legally available and waiting to be adopted. In most cases, a child that you may meet in an orphanage is not legally available for adoption.
Can I return and ask the Buckner Adoption program to investigate if a child is available for adoption?
Buckner staff is only able to complete a search for information on orphans that reside in orphanages in which Buckner currently has a working relationship. Buckner has a list of children on referral for adoption from various orphanages. Buckner has complete information on these designated children. However, not all orphans are referred to Buckner for adoption or are eligible for adoption. For orphans who are not currently on Buckner’s referral list, an interested individual will need to make a formal request for information. To make a formal request, a person will need to complete the Request For Orphan Information form, the Buckner Pre-Application, Adoption Questionnaire, and submit a non-refundable check for $100.00 per child or sibling group for whom information is desired to the Buckner International Adoption office. If it is known that siblings reside at different orphanages, the cost will be $100.00 per each child in the sibling group. This cost covers all long distance work and time required with such requests.
If the individual is interested in pursuing the identified child or sibling group for adoption the individual understands that they have to a) meet the general qualifications for Buckner International Adoptive applicants, b) apply and be formally accepted into the Buckner International Adoption program and c) receive a favorable home study.
Even after being granted an approved home study, the clinical staff will make the decisions regarding child placement based on the child’s needs. Even though Buckner will consider the approved family for the child they are interested in adopting, Buckner will not guarantee that they will match the child with that family.
If a child is not currently referred to Buckner for adoption, the family will have to decide if they would like to enter the adoption program and be open to adopting a child already on referral to Buckner. After a family is committed to adopt any child, and after the family has been evaluated and officially approved to be Buckner adoptive parents, Buckner will determine with the adoptive family the age and number of children that the family would be most successful parenting. The family will need to be prepared and open to the likely possibility that they may end up adopting a different child.
If I meet a specific child and adoption is not appropriate or not an option, how can I help that child?
There are other options for helping orphans who can not be adopted. We encourage you to explore other options with the Buckner Orphan Care International Staff. Individuals may be able to sponsor a child or an orphanage depending on the current resources available. If a family is interested in supporting a child they are encouraged to discuss this with their Buckner mission team leader or other Buckner Orphan Care International Staff, 1-877-767-7426.
If I am interested in International Adoption, what do I do?
Begin educating yourself on the potential risks of adopting a child internationally, the special needs of children overseas, explore your level of acceptance and expectations of adopted children, investigate various adoption agencies, fees, and requirements for adoptive families. If someone is interested in Buckner’s adoption program, they are encouraged to participate in the Buckner Adoption Workshop, which covers requirements and details about Buckner’s program. You can contact Sharon Hedrick to receive our inquiry packet and to register for an Adoption Workshop, 1-866-236-7823.
What are Buckner’s basic qualifications for prospective adoptive parents?
Applicants are expected to be Christians, and active members of a church within their community.
Couples must be married a minimum of one year. If this is not the first marriage for either, they must be married a minimum 2 years. Single women can be considered to be an adoptive parent. The family should show they have financial security and emotional stability. Both parents will need a clear criminal and child abuse background check.
Does Buckner have specific children currently available for adoption?
Yes! We have older children who have been referred to Buckner and they are waiting for adoptive parents. Usually infants and toddlers are matched right away, but these older children often have to wait much longer for an adoptive family that is prepared and ready to meet the needs of an older child. It is possible that you may meet some of the children on referral to Buckner during your trip overseas. If you meet a referred child and decide you may be interested in adopting him/her, please contact the Buckner International Adoption program upon your return from overseas, 1-866-236-7823.
Who do I call if I want more information?
Call the Buckner Adoption office, at (214) 381-1552 or 1-866-236-7823 or visit www.beafamily.org