The cost of adoption is notoriously daunting. One of the largest reasons that people state they cannot adopt is due to the financial obligation. It seems impossible to raise thousands of dollars for any person with a meager or even average income. When the media speaks on adoption, it is often to speak on celebrity adoption further perpetuating the myth that only the rich can adopt. The good news is that there are many ways to raise money for adoptions. Some of these avenues are harder than others and may take more time. You may also have to deal with the court of public opinion when it comes to funding your adoption. Choosing the avenue that is best for you will depend on your adoption type, the timeline, and the funds you already have at your disposal. You may also choose to use more than one fundraising plan throughout the course of your adoption. The goal is to find the most resourceful and realistic plan for your unique situation that will help offset the financial burden of adoption and allow you to pay for the services needed to bring home your child.
As we live in a Pinterest world, it is very easy to find ideas for adoption fundraisers. It only takes a simple Google search to find multiple ideas on ways to support your adoption through fundraising. I have seen some do spaghetti dinners, yard sales, rummage sales through their church, etc. There are lots of ideas when it comes to fundraising that allows you to have minimal cost and ultimate reward. Some people may hold basket auctions or come up with something cute like selling a piece of a puzzle to their family and friends to symbolize their part in their adoption story. You can find a lot of good adoption fundraiser ideas here in this great article from Adoption.com.
It is important to know that with fundraisers, you have to know or have access to a lot of people. Fundraisers will not work if people do not show up. It is great to have a yard sale if you live in a high-traffic area. It’s great to have a fundraiser if you have lots of people to invite. If you do not have a large community around you, a fundraiser might not be the way to go. If you do not have a community around you, one thing you might think about is an online fundraiser. This is different from crowdfunding in the sense that you are essentially selling a product as a fundraiser. One thing that I saw a local family do was sell T-shirts that simply said, “I Love Adoption” on them as a way to gain funds for their adoption. Their family, who lived out of town and out of the country, was able to purchase these T-shirts. There are multiple websites that allow you to have a T-shirt fundraiser and have part of the proceeds go to fund whatever you need to fund. This could be a great idea for anyone who lives away from family and friends.
Crowdfunding is a double-edged sword simply because it is the fundraising avenue where people are the most opinionated. When it comes down to it, people simply just have very strong opinions on what people should use crowdfunding for or if people should use crowdfunding at all. When crowdfunding first happened or was established, many people used it for medical expenses for someone who is going through something terminal or long-term. Now, people use crowdfunding for everything from college, to financial need, to adoption. When my husband and I found out that we were going to be adopting a second time and we were not prepared, we resorted to crowdfunding. I think we only raised about $150. It wasn’t because people didn’t care, but many people just were not comfortable submitting money online.
There were also those who felt that crowdfunding was not appropriate for adoption. Many to do not give a reason, but some common beliefs are that crowdfunding should not be used in adoption unless that funding is going to be used to help a birth parent keep their child. While that is a great thought, it is not always simply finances that cause someone to place their child for adoption. Some people simply do not see the bigger picture. It is also important to know that there may be rules or laws against crowdfunding in your area or with your adoption agency. Our adoption attorney advised us against crowdfunding in our first adoption simply because the judge in our county frowned upon the use of crowdfunding. Again, this is just solely based on opinion. However, we took heed of the advice as we did not want to do anything to jeopardize our adoption process. Check with your adoption attorney or agency before engaging in any crowdfunding measures. I would also suggest utilizing crowdfunding as a last resort.
For those who are not comfortable donating money online, personal letters might be a great option for you. This is also great for people who do not have a community living close to them. People who are going through an adoption may draft a letter talking about the adoption in the process through which they are going. They may include that such things in this letter as to why they have chosen adoption, how they came to adopt a particular child, and the financial burden they face through adoption. These personal letters then request for the recipient to donate any amount of money to help offset those costs.
Again, this is really a sort of crowdfunding just not online. Take heed of the warnings mentioned previously. However, this might be a great option for anyone who has older relatives who are not online or anyone who is uncomfortable making donations via the Internet. I remember as a child in a church that missionaries would send letters to everyone they knew in order to gain funds to complete their missionary work. Many gained their entire salary each year from these solicitations for donations. Personal letters may work for you, they may not. It really just depends on the community of which you are a part. However, it is a very low-cost and low-risk option to try and raise money for your adoption.
If you are a part of any community such as a church or some sort of group, it is great to try and find support through that group. I recently saw a church who helped fund an entire adoption for a family and their congregation simply because they felt that the Bible called them to take care of children and provide homes for children who do not have them. They created administrate to help fund adoption. Other churches I have seen will simply encourage their congregants to donate money to the cause of adoption or to hold fundraisers within their Church community. You may also look within your work community to see if there are any programs available to help offset the cost of adoption. Some employers will have programs that are little known that help to provide a grant to anyone within their workplace who goes through an adoption process. These grant amounts can vary, but any amount typically will help in the adoption process. Check with your employer to see if you have any programs like this available.
Loans and Grants
Loans and grants can sometimes seem like the riskiest move when it comes to funding adoption, however, they might be the most reasonable and the most intelligent move for your particular situation. For my husband and I, both of our adoptions happened quite suddenly. Because we were informed of the adoption with little time to prepare, we did not have time to fundraise. We did not really have time to seek the support of our community. With that, our only option was to seek out grants or loans.
Grants are a great option for anyone who has a little bit more time to fund the adoption. Grant our money that you do not have to pay back and can come from various organizations. You could read more about grants here in this great article from Adoption.org. There are some stipulations with grants and some red tape you may have to cross before getting a grant. You also have to apply for grants and they are not guaranteed. Many grants that cover adoption costs can only go to those who already have an approved home study and even have been matched with a child. Once these things have happened, you are already pretty far along in the adoption process. With this, you will likely have to have funds up front for the home study and a lot of the funds needed for services to be matched with a child. With this, the grant would simply pay off or pay back that money if you get accepted. It would not be at the ready to cover those expenses. However, grants are a great option for the costs that extend past this point or to cover any loans that you may have received.
Getting a loan for adoption may sound like a bad idea or an ominous move to make. However, getting a loan for adoption may be the best option in your case. Loans are a great option if you do not have a lot of time to utilize other fundraising ideas for your adoption. Loans may also be a great idea if you do not have success in your fundraising endeavors. For my husband and I, we were able to find a personal loan at a great rate that would allow us to pay under $200 a month to cover the entire cost of the adoption. This was something that could fit in our budget at the time and allowed us to move forward in the adoption process when we otherwise would not have been able to due to the time constraints. We did later fundraise and put money toward that loan after the adoption was completed. However, in the little time that we had, the loan was a great option for us and really the only option. Check with your bank and local banks to see what rates they have available. There are also some programs that will allow for adoption loans at no interest rate or a very little interest rate. These loans, however, can take a while to qualify for. Check online and through your bank for viable options before moving forward. It’s also great to check in adoption groups such as the Facebook adoption group for Adoption.com to see if others have had success with certain banks or programs.
One of the most obvious steps to take in raising funds for your adoption, but often not utilized, is the simple act of budgeting. This may not be possible for everyone, but I tend to find out when really pressed that people have a lot of disposable income they do not think of because they are looking at luxuries as necessities. For our first adoption, we did not have time to get a loan or any grants. We also did not have time to fundraise. However, we had a great adoption attorney who allowed us to make payments. With this, we had to find room in our monthly and come to make those payments. For us, we realized we had a gym membership we were really not using often, we had cable television that we didn’t really need, and we dined out at restaurants quite a bit. By cutting out all of those luxuries, we were able to save over $300 a month just with those parts of our budget. My husband also took on part-time work so we could get a little bit of extra income during this time that could go straight toward the adoption. Try to see by taking a deep dive into your budget if there are areas that you could cut back. Also, see if there’s anything that you could do on the side to raise money or anything that you might be able to sell quickly.
Raising funds for adoption can be quite daunting, but it’s very possible. Through fundraisers and crowdfunding, you may be able to have the funds available for your adoption without having to put in your own money. You may be able to apply for grants that will allow you to pay back some of that money that you have already put in. If you have little time or do not have the community around you, loans may be your best option. Whatever route you go, know that it is very possible to fund an adoption. It’s just a matter of figuring out what funding route is best for you and your situation.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.