Finances are among the most pressing concerns for families pursuing international adoption. Many other relevant topics such as legal challenges, racism and emotional development are covered on this blog and others like it, but nothing makes the blood pressure rise quite as quickly as pondering what this process will do to the old bank account.
March 4, 2012
Luckily, there are many resources available for understanding creative fundraising ideas, grants, tax credits and employment benefits. When paired with support from friends and family, the combination makes the end goal seem attainable.
You may, however, do yourself and your children a disservice by only engaging your community’s pocketbooks during fundraising efforts. As we have learned, it’s a prime window of opportunity for educating donors about modern adoption practices, and engaging their hearts in the charge to care for orphans.
In our experience as adoptive parents, we have been confronted with several faulty notions about international adoption. Many people have asked us about “picking out” our children, as if they are lined up in a catalog. While questions like these aren’t typically ill-willed, we don’t want misconceptions about the process to affect how people view our children once they come home.
With that in mind, we hosted a recent fundraising and awareness event in our community. We centered the effort on educating, hearing testimony from other adoptive families, and appealing to hearts, first and foremost. Only after covering our motivation to adopt and some basics about our process did we transition into an opportunity to give money through donations and a silent auction. We walked away from the evening with more than $8,000.00 to apply towards our adoption (with help from a matching grant), and hopefully even more valuable, a community that better understands the plight of the orphan in our world today.
Life is hectic for any family in the adoption process, but ours found it worthwhile to take advantage of opportunities to educate family, friends, co-workers and church members, and really bring them up to speed about what the process looks like in 2012. It takes more effort and planning than sending a form letter to fundraise, but the end result is educated partners who understand the motivation to care for your children.
If planning a big event with more than 100 people and many auction items is out of the question, here are a few other ways to initiate proactive education and awareness along with fundraising:
More than likely, someone will throw a shower to encourage you in your adoption process. While this is a great time for eating goodies and opening presents, it’s also a valuable opportunity to share the heart of adoption with close family and friends. Encourage your host(s) to plan activities and trivia games that are specific to your child’s country, and educate the captive audience about current realities facing your children.
You have probably come across resources that capture the heart of your adoption journey. It has been useful for us to have a few copies of our favorites on hand, and pass them along to friends and family who want (or need) to better understand our motivation to adopt.
So go all out in your fundraising efforts. Write letters, apply for grants, and attend classes. But when possible, use fundraising opportunities as catalysts for awareness and education. Getting someone to write a check is great, but warming their hearts towards orphan care is something much more valuable.