There’s nothing extraordinary about a mom teaching her child how to bake, especially this time of year when mixing bowls and spilled flour abound in thousands of kitchens across America. But for one St. Charles New Town family, there’s more than just a sweet treat coming out of the oven.
Allie and Mick Schaefer traveled to Beijing, China, in December 2013 to adopt their son Isaac who was almost 5 years old at the time. Now three years later, the Schaefers have decided to adopt another child, a 4-year-old boy with Spina Bifida.
“There is a huge need in China to adopt children, especially boys,” said Allie Schaefer. “Isaac has been asking for a brother so we felt ready to start that process.”
The “process” is not only long, but expensive and includes a mountain of paperwork. Adoptions in China can take several years to complete. Isaac’s adoption took a little over a year, and the Schaefers hope this adoption happens by spring of 2017.
One day Isaac and his mom were watching a Kid’s baking challenge show that offered a cash prize to the winner. Isaac said he wanted to learn how to bake so he could enter the competition, win it, and use the prize money to help his mom and dad adopt a brother for him.
Instead, Allie suggested they bake cookies and offer them to their neighbors. Isaac quickly got on board with that idea. They made a short video and posted it to the community’s Facebook page.
“I made a double batch thinking that I would probably end up freezing some cookies,” Allie said. Now nine batches later, the orders are still coming in.
Isaac not only helps bake, but he packages and delivers all of the orders in the neighborhood. He has raised $900. To adopt a child from China can cost from $33,000 to $38,000.
Although his cookie project has only covered the cost of one US Government I-800A form, Allie and Mick are very proud of Isaac.
“We’re trying to do something to get my brother,” Isaac says.
“One thing about adoption is that it brings families and communities together in a way that few other things do, it's a really neat way that draws people together. It's a real cool thing to be a part of so we're really thankful and really excited to go get our new family member, to meet him and to introduce him to everybody that helped him come home through buying some of Isaac's cookies," said Allie.
The Schaefers have seen pictures of their new son and have named him Samuel.
Allie and Isaac plan to continue baking cookies as long as people are interested. They have also started a GoFundMe under the name Adopting: Chocolate Chip Style.