MILTON — Dottie Jones is already dreaming about what it will be like the day she first meets Grayson Michael.
“I’m already excited,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of restraint to not just scoop him up. I think it’s going to be love at first sight. I already love the child even though I haven’t met him yet.”
Grayson Michael is the name Jones and her husband, Pastor Dave Jones, have given to a Chinese child whom they hope to adopt in the next eight to 18 months.
The couple, who has two grown children, said the time is right to welcome another child into their family.
“We have talked about it on and off for a couple of years,” Dave said of adoption. “The time never seemed right.”
Recently, the two were at a concert where a presentation was made by Holt International, an organization that facilitates international adoptions.
“Holt International was showing video clips of children that are available for adoption,” Dottie said. “I love to look at the children. There was one that grabbed my heart.”
The Jones decided to sponsor that child. However, they are unable to adopt him as he is from South Korea and that country has a stipulation that adopting parents must be younger than 44. The Jones are older than the age requirement for that country.
“We’ve always been interested in international adoptions,” Dave said. “With the little guy we weren’t able to adopt, we looked at other Asian countries.”
The couple learned that, of that region, China had “the best open door” to pursue international adoptions from.
Before moving forward with plans to adopt, Dave and Dottie consulted with their children, James and Meagan.
“Both of the children have had a heart for children who are special needs and who are under privileged,” Dottie said. “They are all for this.”
While the Jones do not yet have a specific child they will be adopting, they would like to adopt a young Chinese boy whom they would name Grayson Michael Jones.
“The biggest thing (the child) will get from us is love,” Dottie said. “They will get a chance.”
Dave said he and his wife have tentatively agreed to adopt through Holt International.
The Jones recently launched an effort to raise $4,000 to cover application fees and a required home study that is part of the process.
A benefit concert to assist in raising the funds needed will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at the former Watsontown United Methodist Church building, 11 E. Third St., Watsontown. The building is now home to Kingdom Kidz and JMeg Ministries, a nonprofit organization operated by the Jones.
Lauren Yost and Randy Fisher will be the featured performers at the concert. A love offering will be collected.
In total, the adoption will cost between $25,000 and $30,000. Once the home study is complete, Dave said he and his wife can apply for grant funding to help with the costs.
“Any known donors, when the adoption is final, we will have a little momento for them,” he said. “If, for some reason, the adoption doesn’t come to pass, any funds that are not used, we will donate to a local pregnancy care center.”
When adopting from China, Dave said it’s virtually impossible to adopt a completely healthy child.
“Practically speaking, all the children adopted have some kind of special need,” he said. “We will fill out a check list of diseases and conditions we are willing to accept. We will have 100 percent control on the selection of the child.”
The Jones will also be able to have their physician review the child’s medical records before the adoption takes place.
As the process moves forward, the Jones will have to travel to China.
“Our first interaction (with the child) will be on that trip when we go to bring him home,” Dave said. “During that trip, we will have supervised interaction with the child.”
The couple will have to spend between seven and 21 days in China as the adoption is approved through that nation’s court system. The child will remain in the Chinese foster care system until the adoption is finalized.
Many children who are adopted from China have been abandoned by their parents.
“The child that we get, we won’t know his actual date of birth,” Dave said. “They give him the date (of birth) that they find him.”
The Jones are hopeful the adoption will be complete in short order.
“I want to bring him home by Christmas,” Dottie said.
The church where Dave serves as pastor, First Baptist Church of Berwick, is handling donations that are made toward the adoption.
To donate to the Jones’ efforts, send a check payable to the church to: First Baptist Church of Berwick, 224 W. Front St., Berwick, PA 18603.
All checks should include a note that states the donation is for the Jones family adoption.
Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.