Today’s blog post is written by Purl Adoption Advisor, Kelcie Grace. She discusses the pros and cons of fundraising for your adoption journey
Not everyone has tens of thousands of dollars sitting in a savings account, ready when they decide to pursue adoption. When my husband and I started our process, we certainly didn’t have all the funds we needed. So, we began exploring the best way (for us) to build our adoption process savings account. We set a strict budget for ourselves and created a list of grants to apply for. At first, we thought fundraising was a no-brainer. However, as we delved into researching ways to fundraise our adoption process, we learned about the wide range of perspectives and found it is not quite as straightforward as we originally thought.
We read blogs and social media posts. (One great blog post to check out was written by birth mother, Kelsey Vander Vliet – Instagram account @fromanothamotha. The blog post walks you through some great questions to consider as you are determining how you plan to approach your fundraising process.) We also talked to our friends and family touched by adoption. Through our research, we learned that some adoptees had interactions with their adoptive parent’s family or friends who said things like: “I helped pay for you”, “You were an expensive baby”, or “I gave your parents $X for you so I expect Y from you now.” While we hoped that our family and friends would not put our future child in this position, it is something we still worried about. Some adult adoptees reported feeling embarrassed, guilty, ashamed, hurt, or angry about how their parents fundraised for their adoption process. Others reported the opposite, stating they understand how expensive the process can be and they recognize that without fundraising, adoption would be unrealistic for some families.
Other things that made us feel hesitant regarding fundraising were the potential friends/family/acquaintances’ opinions. We have learned of some people stating that fundraising for your adoption is “tacky.” Some people felt you should not adopt if you don’t have money for it … “how will you afford to raise your child if you can’t afford the adoption?”
The reality is that the adoption process is expensive. There is no sugar coating this or pretending it is not true. Domestic infant adoptions can cost upwards of $50,000, with the average around $42,000 in 2022. Sometimes the adoption process is very long. Sometimes the adoption process is quick. No matter how long your adoption takes, nearly all the costs are due before the child is placed in your arms. I strongly believe that the costs associated with the adoption process should not stop you if your heart is being called to adopt. Just because you do not have all the funds in the bank account to pay for the adoption process does not mean you are not financially stable enough to safely and effectively care for a child.
So… Back to the original question — To fundraise or not to fundraise? There are many approaches to raising funds – crowdsourcing, t-shirt sales, garage sales, craft sales, etc.. There are Facebook groups dedicated to sharing fundraising ideas and others for sharing your fundraiser with people who may be interested in contributing.
After all the research, my husband and I did decide to fundraise but we wanted to approach our fundraiser with sensitivity. We decided we wanted to work for the money we are given. We ended up starting a side hustle making and selling baked goods (my husband is a chef so this came more naturally to us). We called our fundraiser “Another Cook in Our Kitchen”. We discussed the money aspect of adoption as the “cost for the process” not the “cost for the child”, and we chose not to post the final exact cost of our adoption process online but updated progress towards our overall goal.
I won’t lie, our bake sale required a lot of work. We developed a website for ordering and social media accounts for promoting. Word of our fundraiser spread fast. My husband and I spent many hours a day prepping and baking. We ended up also making and selling a cookbook as well! We worked our booties off and in the end, Another Cook in Our Kitchen helped us save up ⅓ of our total adoption costs.
As you are considering how to save money for your adoption process, take the time to consider the pros and cons of fundraising and do your own research from all the adoption triad perspectives to help you determine the best route for your adoption journey. Consider other ways of raising funds for your adoption process such as grants, low-interest loans, or refinancing your home. If you choose to work with Purl Adoption Advisory, we offer financial advisement with our Coaching Packages. To learn more about our packages and schedule a free consultation, please click here!