Is Fundraising Insensitive, Disrespectful & Uncompassionate?

Dawn Davenport


Adopting in the US cost a lot. Should you fundraise?

Adopting in the US cost a lot. Should you fundraise?

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog of creative fundraising ideas for adoption submitted by one of our Creating a Family Facebook community. We received the following comment that I thought worthy of discussion.

I have read this [list of adoption fundraising ideas], re-read this and read this again and this list makes me very uncomfortable. As a two time adoptive mother and the founder of a national adoption grant organization, I understand the thought process that adoptive parents must make sacrifices when faced with the cost of adoption, but this list to me is insensitive, disrespectful, not compassionate and most of all not helpful. If anyone had ever suggested to me that I ask my neighbors to clean out their garage or wash their windows so that I could earn money to become a mother —- well I can’t tell you what I would have responded with, not in a public forum. The thought process of “every little bit helps (at $10 and $20 a pop)” is not solving the national crisis regarding the cost of adoption and the fact that adoption is priced out of reach for so many American families. And while a little fundraising may fill a small gap, it is by no means solving the problem or putting children in homes. Especially if it means washing windows… many windows would you have to wash to earn $30,-50,000?

This comment was submitted by Becky Fawcett, founder and director of the wonderful,  a nonprofit providing grants of $500 to $15,000 towards any type of adoption.

Average Cost of Adoption in the US

Adoption in the US is not inexpensive, unless you adopt from foster care. Becky was right that there is a national crisis regarding the cost of adoption and adoption is priced out of reach for so many American families. Amen to that sista!

  • Average Foster care adoption: $2,000 (although often no cost + monthly subsidy until the child is 18)
  • Average Domestic infant adoption: $33,000
  • Average International adoption: $44,000

The sad fact is that many people spent their savings, and some have gone into debt, financing their infertility treatment. When they turn to adoption, they have little to fall back on.

Adoption Fundraising is Not for Everyone

Fundraising to pay for an adoption is not for everyone. Truth be told, lots of folks would rather rip their toenails out and sell them on the black market rather than try to raise money to fund their adoption or ask others to help. I get that. They may use other options such as adopting from foster care or using an agency with a sliding fee scale to reduce their costs.

Some people won’t need to even think about fund raising because they have the money if they reallocate their finances by postponing the new car or skipping the fancy vacation. (There are a few who have the money without going to any great efforts—lucky dogs!) Other folks won’t need to consider adoption fundraisers because they are able to take on a second job or work overtime to add to their adoption piggybank. They may work for a company that provides adoption benefits to help their employees adopt.

Many (likely most) pre-adoptive parents have found ways to creatively shave their budget to “find” extra money to add to their adoption savings. It is truly amazing what simple budgeting and going to a cash-based spending system can do. (Listen to podcast/radio show below.)

Some fortunate few will receive a grant to help defray the cost of adopting. (See these Creating a Family resources for adoption grants.) There are some absolutely wonderful organizations, such as, providing funds. Sadly, only a few people will be able to receive funding, and seldom do they receive enough to cover the entire cost.

Adoption Fundraising is Absolutely Right For Some

Some people would rather take direct action to help finance their adoption. They see nothing wrong with rolling up their sleeves and selling, cooking, or creating. Most are actively pinching pennies at the same time.

No doubt it isn’t for everyone, but I don’t see where it is insensitive, disrespectful, or uncompassionate. Becky is right that individuals raising money for their adoption does not solve the national crisis of the cost of adoption, but that really isn’t their intent. They simply want to be parents and hosting dinners, selling unused household junk, and making jewelry takes them one step—albeit a small step—closer. Enough small steps, combined with budgeting, may well lead to your child.

Do you see anything wrong with adoption fundraising? Is it demeaning to have to scrounge up the money to adopt? Did you? Would you?

P. S. We did a great Creating a Family show on How to Afford to Adopt. Our guests were Becky Fawcett , Executive Director of Help Us Adopt and blogger in chief at An Infertile Blonde; Julie Gumm, author of Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption; and Cherri Walrod, Director of Resources 4 Adoption. Really good show.


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Image credit: Gerard Van Der Leun


16/04/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 53 Comments

53 Responses to Is Fundraising Insensitive, Disrespectful & Uncompassionate?

  1. Avatar Yvonne says:

    I also find it really ironic that the jokingly mention of hopeful adoptive parents “selling their toenails on the black market” to cover adoption fees is a pretty great gig compared to undergoing exploitative coercion into having your own baby sold on the private gray market.

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:


      From the numerous comments you’ve left this week, it would seem as if you have some deeply held convictions about the potential for unethical adoptions on behalf of expectant and birth mothers. We hope that you are using this passion and your personal experiences toward supporting those women and efforts of family preservation where possible.

      Certainly, there are times when the path of adoption is the right path for an expectant mother to pursue. Or when it is indeed in the best interest of the child at the center of the conversation. We are committed to preparing the parents who adopt those children, for them to be as educated and informed of the issues surrounding adoption as possible – before, during, and after the child joins their new family.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  2. Avatar Yvonne says:

    It’s incredible how most commenters mistakenly misconstrue that fundraising and getting financial assistance to cover baby brokering fees is demeaning toward ADOPTIVE families.

    No. The average cost to card for a baby for its entire first year equates to a fraction of what the “fees” solely going toward termination of the biological family’s relationship to their baby – with not a cent left over to provide any necessities for the baby (who this transaction is assumed to be in the “best interests of.”

    It’s demeaning and exploitive to the biological families, often the mothers who find themselves in economic hardship – but for the existence of would have had her never even considering such a permanent and heartbreaking decision. To top it off, it is seen as “beautiful” to contribute money to help someone procure a womb-wet baby, yet it is frowned upon and considered selfish for a woman to decide to parent her child while relying on the temporary crutch of public benefits to get by in tact.

    If even half of “GoFundMe” donations raised by those who find themselves surrounded by significantly more privileged social circles were offered to help these vulnerable women, 95% of adoptions would not occur. Sure, many can claim that other reasons for relinquishment have been cited, and some of those can be legitimate and truly made by the full consent of the birth mother.

    However, adoption is not truly a “free choice” made when under such circumstantial duress, all while conditioned to believe that opting out of placement is a selfish act & ultimately “unfair” to their baby.

    Your choice to allocate excessive funds, and to seek assistance in paying those funds from fundraisers is not demeaning for the families looking to adopt. It’s exploitive of the abject CHOICELESSNESS that most of these families act under in giving away their babies.

    Want these disgusting fees to finally drop since the Baby Swoop era allowed such practices to grow so out of hand? Unfortunately, grants, loans, and other payment assistance only enable third party agencies and attorneys to charge them. The only solution is to unnecessary contribute to the market demand for exploited families’ babies.

  3. Avatar Jenn says:

    I saw a post about an adoption fundraiser for a couple day on my Facebook newsfeed, which got me thinking about this.

    Let me preface this by saying that we have two bio kids and an adopted daughter (international adoption).

    We did not fundraise, nor did any of the other four families in our travel group.

    I got turned off big time to adoption fundraisers when I saw the way the parents were spending money. Here are two couples I know who did adoption fundraising:

    Couple #1: She is a stay-at-home mom. Her husband has the exact same job position that my husband has. We are comfortable financially. I’m not sure what happened in their lives that affected their financial situation, but it’s not my place to judge. Maybe they had medical expenses or something I’m unaware of. However, what really got me was that they took their entire family, including their newly adopted daughter to Walt Disney World TWICE in one year. We’re talking $100 a person per ticket, per day. When they took this trip, they didn’t stay at a Hampton Inn, either. They stayed at the ultra-expensive Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is classified as a deluxe property by Disney. $400 a night! They also didn’t stay in a condo like we did where they could save money preparing meals. They ate out the entire trip. Perhaps someone else paid for these two trips. I don’t know, but it turned me off nonetheless.

    Couple #2: Their kids are dressed in Gap and the like, they bought an RV, mom wears Ugg boots and mom recently had Lasiks (spelling?) eye surgery, which costs thousands of dollars and isn’t covered by insurance.

    So, for me, I guess it depends on the individual circumstance. I’d be moved to donate to a couple who had drained their savings on infertility treatments and who used their money wisely. These other couples I just mentioned already had several bio kids and spend their money on luxury items that I myself do not have. It’s not a matter of not being able to afford it. It’s a matter of knowing how to save and prioritize.

    One other thing to consider: If you cannot afford the adoption, how do you expect to pay for other expenses such as braces and college tuition?

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Jenn, you make a point that I’ve said several times- if you fundraise you should expect that people will scrutinize how you spend your money. It is simply a fact of life.

  4. Avatar Carlee says:

    I draw a distinction between EARNING the money to adopt (garage sale, picking up overtime, selling your second car) and FUNDRAISING for adoption — begging for cash from strangers on the internet, begging for do actions, plastering a photo of the kid you hope to “save”, etc. I’ve no problem with the former and a HUGE problem with the latter.

    Actually, PROBLEMS with the latter that include but are by no means limited to:
    1. Many kids are available for adoption bc their parents cannot afford to care for them. PAPs who need to fundraise can’t afford the kid either.
    2. The vast majority of PAPs who fundraise HAVE saved up $25-30k for something that was important to them like a down payment or college tuition. Clearly they are CAPABLE of saving. They just don’t want to!
    3. Planning is really important – a family that fundraised can’t be bothered to plan.
    4. A family that fundraises cannot afford to care for another kid — an adopted kid generally requires a TON of medical services in the first few yrs after adoption, most of which aren’t covered by even excellent insurance.
    5. Families that fundraise the “ransom” often need to fundraise for post-adoption expenses for their new kid. Even “healthy” kids! These families regularly allow their kid to suffer because they can’t afford sedation dentistry for weeks/months!

  5. Avatar Whole Child says:

    The issue of why people pay thousands of dollars to adopt privately instead of adopting from foster care is an entirely different topic. First of all, at least 30% of people who would like to adopt from foster care are turned down right away. Second, even if every single foster child in the US was adopted, there would still be thousands of people in the US wanting a child to adopt. Foster care adoption does not work for a whole lot of people, for many reasons. Also, some people make huge financial sacrifices in order to have bio children…the average cost of 1 yr. of childcare for one child is $8000 on the low end, and can go up to $25,000 in many states. That alone makes you think twice about the financial aspects of having another baby. Cutting costs, taking a second job, and taking out loans, etc are all necessary aspects of adoption for most families…and it still doesn’t cover the cost of bringing the child home, not to mention the unexpected medical and other costs once the child is home. People simply can not do it w/out the help of family and friends…and strangers in groups like these. I have given thousands of dollars to people I know who adopted, and to strangers in this group, as well…not because I am rich and have thousands of dollars to blow, but because I think that adoption is a great way to spend my money. As I get to know people’s stories from groups like this, my heart is moved to help them grow their family through adoption, and the best, most practical way I can do that is to give money when I have extra to give. Now that we are six weeks away from meeting our adopted children I am shocked by the lack of help we have been given…for all the preaching that people do about supporting adoptive families, the most practical way to do that is to help ease the financial stress. We spend money on all kinds of crap that we don’t need all the time, but we can’t even give $10 to make dreams come true? I do not believe in “saving” orphans at all, but I fully believe in creating loving families through intentional adoption….families that don’t have to be a certain religion in order for me to support them.

  6. Avatar Whole Child says:

    I have telemarketers calling my house every single day asking for money. Every time there is an election I am slammed with people asking for money for their political party, and it is always in ways that play on my emotions just so they can get me to give more money. I have no problem when I see fundraisers for adoption or fundraisers to pay for cancer treatments, etc. These are real costs and it doesn’t hurt me to forego a cup of coffee or a meal out and give the money to a family in need instead. And if one of my infertile friends let me know they were struggling to pay for their fertility treatments, I would jump at the chance to give to that, too. I would also do anything I could (gift cards, pay for groceries, etc) if one of my friends with bio kids had a need…many adoptive families can’t pay for their kid’s college b/c they spent all their money on the adoption and medical bills….and so the kid is on his/her own with loans, etc. If one of my friends was struggling to make their house payments b/c their bio kid has some other huge expense I would jump in and help them, too. People raise funds for adoption not because they have poor budgeting skills or because they expect handouts…they do it b/c there is no other way to support their families!

  7. Avatar Jocelyne says:

    I wanted to add my voice because several comments state families should look at foster care adoption. Due to the financial crises since 2009, some states have changed how they process foster care. Foster care adoption in my state is no longer cheap, prospective parents must now contract with a private agency. Depending on where a family lives, they may not have many choices in agencies. We had a choice of two agencies at a cost of $10,000. We also ended up paying for our own background checks. All fees were due before we received a placement so we did not qualify for most adoption grants or loans as we had to be matched in order to qualify for funding. We hosted one dinner, had a very tight budget, and asked select people to contribute to our fund. Our 13 yr old child will not qualify for adoption subsidy as the state has greatly limited the availability of this resource. No, foster care adoptions, in some cases, are no longer an option for some families in some states.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jocelyne, I wasn’t aware that the cost had risen this much. Wow, that is a huge problem. Do keep in mind that you should be eligible for the entire adoption tax credit.

  8. Avatar Jocelyne says:

    Yes, Dawn, we will be able to claim the adoption tax credit on our 2013 tax return (in 2014), but we still had to come up with the funds in 2012. We made our first payment in March and our last payment in August so there was not a lot of time to save; fund raising had to be an option.

  9. From my perspective, if the cost of domestic, international, or embryo adoption is too expensive for a family the obvious choice would be foster adoption.

    Maybe I’m just being a bit obtuse, but if someone is motivated to adopt for the right reason(s) the foster system would certainly have children available.

    The cost of domestic and international adoption is incredibly high. I considered them and rejected them based on the cost. It was simply out-of-reach for me, and for so many others.

    If our foster system was easier to deal with and families were offered reliable resources to help them be the best parents they can be and help the children work though foster system ‘issues’ perhaps more Americans would chose it as the family building alternative of choice.

  10. My overall point is (and why I work pro-bono at that potential adoptive parents SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DO THESE THINGS. I believe that adoption should be more accessible to everyone. And I stand by my opinion.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Becky, I think we would all agree with you whole-heartedly on that. None of us should have to work so hard to afford adoption (or infertility treatment for that matter.)

  11. Avatar Amy says:

    To Anonymous, you make it sound easy to adopt a foster child, let me tell you how it is not. After having a Ukrainian adoption fall through and while waiting to get picked in a domestic cross cultural program, I looked on line at state listings of children in foster care. I fell in love with a sibling group from Texas, we live in Wisconsin. We had a home study done by an agency who works for the state handling and placing children who need emergency placement or children who are hard to place. The agency is one of the very, very few that can handle these type of placements. When my husband called the state to ask some questions what he found out astounded me. In the state of WI any child who is available for adoption from foster care is considered “a special needs child”. What that means is that in order to adopt from foster care in WI you must use one of a handful of approved home study agencies and it takes a year or more to get through the process. My husband explained that our home study was done by an agency the state uses to place children and that made no difference. I still do not understand how an agency the state of WI trusts to place and follow children who are in the hardest situations do not trust to evaluate a family for adoption. So it is not that we would not or did not want to adopt from foster care it was a matter of the process.

  12. Here’s another ethical adoption fundraising quandary: What do you do if you fundraised for money to support an adoption, and the adoption doesn’t happen? Loans or gifts of money, should clearly be returned in my opinion, but what about money from fundraising efforts?

  13. Lindsey, interesting point about the timing of fundraising. Is your reasoning that people should wait until they are homestudy ready because only then are they “sure” (if even then) that the adoption will happen?

  14. Avatar Doug says:

    I’m a very proud person and abhored the idea of asking others for help. But out of the blue, we were presented with the opportunity to adopt the biological sibling of our daughter, but the cost was astronimical ($42,000). We were heartbroken when we realized that with our family finances there was no way we could accomplish this. After much prayer and thought we decided that we owed it to our daughter to try everything we could to make this happen. We didn’t ask outright for donations, but we used social media to spread the word and ask for ideas. We received an enormous outpouring of help and support. We received several thousand dollars in unsolicited donations, but also offers to host boutiques and parties for jewelry, cosmetics etc… The bulk of the help came in the way of modest monetary donations from our neighbors and friends. We also received a huge amount of items for a garage sale that earned us a couple thousand dollars. Almost everyone that helped thanked us for letting them be a part of this event in our lives. We had some really amazing experiences with friends and strangers alike (including a complete stranger in Japan that threw a fundraising event in our honor). It has made me a better person because I now keep a small fund to donate to others who need help. We raised over $12,000 which was enough to allow us to bring our beautiful baby home. Do not underestimate the power of allowing others to serve you on occasion. It can bless the lives of both all involved

  15. Avatar Ruth says:

    I think the rub for me is that adoption is not really a humanitarian undertaking. I know it can make a world of difference for that one child, but from a charitable giving perspective, that money would be a lot better spent addressing problems in the community like poverty and illness, which are the reasons most of these children are in orphanages in the first place. I understand that people need help paying for paperwork, fees, travel expenses, etc. But please market it clearly; in supporting you, I am doing just that: supporting YOU. Not saving the world.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Ruth, I see your point and it is well taken. However, making the world of difference for one child and one family is at the heart of charity, isn’t it?

  16. Avatar Cindi Campbell says:

    cont…I was hurt and did express to them “you will have her as a student next year”. Needed to get that off my chest.

    I have given many, many times to fundraising efforts of others and am incredibly blessed to have a part in helping them bring home a needy child.

  17. Avatar Cindi Campbell says:

    I have adopted 3 x’s and only used fundraising the last time and it was actually very akward to be asking people to help me bring home a medically needy child, as though I needed to apologize for asking. When approaching my two older dd’s preschool director I was not allowed to submit anything to the other parents directly; ALTHOUGH many times I would have received flyers directing me to buy all sorts of products, camps, or lessons. They did allow me to leave out in full view some things available for purchase. Naturall

  18. Avatar Michael says:

    I am flabbergasted to find that the current international adoption average cost is $44,000. In 1998 our Chinese adoption cost about $17,000. A factor of three increase in 15 years is overwhelming. We were a two income household and we were able to do our adoption from savings. To do the same adoption today we would need to go into debt (home equity line).

    I can see where many young singles and couples are priced out of the market. Yes, I can agree that the rising cost of adoption is at a crisis level when the cost of adoption becomes a major impediment to adoption.

    As to the fundraising issue, I agree with Phill that I find Becky’s remarks somewhat hypocritical for the founder of an adoption fundraising organization to pass judgement on the ways people might fundraise.

  19. Avatar Lindsey says:

    I have lots of thoughts on this topic, but I want to stew on them a bit so that I can state them in a well-rounded manner because I think it is such an important discussion. The one thing I guess I’d like to throw out there is that the timing of fundraising for adoption can be a sticking point for me. For example, I don’t find it appropriate to request donations or hold a fundraiser prior to being homestudy approved.

  20. Avatar Anna says:

    Thanks Dawn, i didnt mean to divert from the topic.
    I wanted to add that I applied for many grants as well. We were not eligable for about 98% of them because we are not religious. We recieved one from our placing agencey and one other.
    We also ended our fundraising with a concert from friends and family that are musically talented- all done by donation. However I chose to be very careful about my wording as Ethiopia has (in the past) frowned on fundraising.

  21. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I wonder why anyone would pay $33000 or $44000 to adopt a child when they can be paid to adopt a foster child (according to this blog). Using the cost of college analogy, that is like refusing the full tuition room and board scholarship just so you can pay full boat to get your degree somewhere else. Seriously, how economically senseless is that? And it begs the question, are you really looking for a child to bring home or is there something else your $33K- $44K is buying?

  22. Avatar anon says:

    Oops, Becky never actually used the word ‘demeaning.’ I still don’t see how working for something is disrespectful to adoptive parents…

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      anon, you are right that the word “demeaning” was mine, not Becky’s. It was my interpretation of her intent, and I may have missed the mark.

  23. Avatar anon says:

    What TAO said. I am personally uncomfortable with publicly playing on people’s sympathies to raise money for adoption – it just raises so many expectations for adopted children to live up to. I have also seen some websites hawking adoption paraphenalia, citing scripture, etc that I am uncomfortable with…feels like pushing an agenda along with taking money to make an adoption happen. Why not do all these things without mentioning that the money goes toward adoption?

    On the other hand, I’m a little troubled by Becky’s remark that hard work to raise money for adoption is somehow ‘demeaning.’ It is terrible work ethic and out of touch with reality. One could also say that infertlity, childbirth and just plain old parenting are also ‘demeaning,’ but I’d prefer not to look at the world that way – it’s all a gift. But we still have to earn it.

  24. Avatar Kathy says:

    My husband & I are struggling with how to fund our adoption & going to hear Julie Gumm speak recently definitely helped. In our situation, we have decided to do fundraising (not just asking for money) as a unifying act within the Body of Christ. And for our non-Believing friends we’ve received positive support as well. It is incredibly humbling to ask for peoples help, but we’ve had so many people who can’t wait for us to get all our fund raising plans in order so that they can give. In us asking for help and our friends/family giving help, it brings us closer as one big family. Everyone we’ve spoken to about it sees it as their opportunity to help bring our child home. We’re blessed to be surrounded by people who want to help and I have definitely seen that it is easier to give than receive.

  25. Avatar Angela says:

    Wow. Adoption is redemption. It is rescuing. It is life giving. I see nothing tacky or inappropriate about a family asking for money or goods to help give a child a family. In our adoption journey out fundraising was compared to getting food stamps. There is such a dire misunderstanding around giving to adoption. It makes to difference to me who the family is that is in need or how they ask for or collect the money, I’m in. Yes it makes a person vulnerable and it is humbling, but isn’t that right where are suppose to be?

  26. Avatar Phil Rhodes says:

    I find it odd, and perhaps hypocritical, that the director and founder of an adoption grant organization would criticize private fundraising efforts. Doesn’t her organization ask for donations? and request that potential recipients ask her organization for a grant? Why is fundraising of any type different?

    One of the great strengths of American society is the existence of private charities, both religious and secular. The willingness of Americans to help one another become some of the ties that hold us together as a nation. Why try and stifle that?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Phil, not speaking directly for Becky (she doesn’t need nor want me to do that) but I would assume that her bigger point is that individuals raising small amounts over time is not the most efficient way to raise money to adopt and doesn’t address the bigger issue of the cost of adoption. I, however, absolutely see your point.

  27. Avatar Anna says:

    We fundraised for 5 years to bring our son home from Ethiopia. We raised $16,000 We did everything from tag sales, to handcrafts- we sold our motorcycle and cashed out all retirement accounts. Our total cost was about $22,000 in 2008. Had we not asked for help it would not have happened. International adoption for a working class family is damn near impossible. Its elitist I believe to object to fundraising.
    I will say however that it continues to be challenging for me that certain family members/friends chose not to support us. Yes, its absolutely their choice, but its still difficult for me privately to come to turns with that. The majority of our donations were $25.00

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Anna, you raise a point that has also been bothering me and one I see frequently. If you ask and the person/family member does not give, very very often it leads to hard feelings. I think I’ll blog on that as a separate topic since the discussion here is more toward actual fundraising not requests for money/donations.

  28. Avatar Julie Gumm says:

    I have to absolutely DISAGREE w/ Becky’s comment that “while a little fundraising may fill a small gap, it is by no means solving the problem or putting children in homes.” In the last two years since writing my book I have talked with countless people who have said “We didn’t think we could afford it so we had given up. But now we can.” And now they have children in their homes. Fundraising may not be for everyone but I certainly don’t think that it is preventing any solution to the high cost of adoption. The beauty of fundraising is there are hundreds of ways to do it. If you’re not comfortable just asking, then don’t. Sell something, do a Both Hands project or take a second job at Starbucks (they have an adoption benefit as well). I hope that no families have been shamed into not proceeding w/ their fundraising because of these comments.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      And let me add that Julie is the author of the wonderful book Adopt Without Debt and was a guest on the Creating a Family show that is linked in this blog. Great show.

  29. Avatar Cyndi says:

    There was something about adoption fundraising that makes a child feel like a commodity. Please don’t misinterpret. We fundraised as well. I have a hard time understanding Becky’s reaction. She objected to fundraising because it did not resolve the bigger issue of adoption costs. However, she supports (and organizes) grants for adoptions, which defray the costs, but also doesn’t resolve the systematic issues at hand.
    Honestly, I did not feel guilty for asking close friends and family for help. Same thing goes for people who post requests publicly. Just because you ask a neighbor or best friend or public facebook group, no one is forcing that other person to donate or help. I was not angry at those who couldn’t help and was grateful for the help we received.

  30. Avatar Erika says:

    I want to give Valerie a huge chocolate cupcake with extra sprinkles on top. She gets it!!!!

  31. Avatar TAO says:

    I don’t like the thought of fundraising to strangers for adoption. There are exceptions, but it is HOW it is done that is key.

    There is also a distinct difference between “Raising Funds” and “Fundraising” and if people would define the difference clearly, it would cause less angst. “Raising Funds” is doing things like trimming the budget, taking a second job, selling a product or service – yet even some of those based on how it is done (marketed) to me can be problematic.

    To me the line crosses when you use your child as the marketing object to garner sympathy or more money than is warranted. The public already sees the adopted child as a charity case – hence the never ending lucky comment. How much worse would it be in the future if some ignorant person (and you won’t avoid ignorant people) said to your child “I contributed to your being rescued / adopted – whatever ignorant comment they will make”. (Yes, some children may be fine with that – can you guarantee your future child, who you have no idea of personality and sensitivity, will be one of those that would brush it off).

    Do you “Raising of Funds” without using your future child as the sympathy component of your marketing plan. Do it the way you would do any type of working towards and/or saving for something you want. Put money aside monthly as a plan – whether it is 12 months and you have to do X to make it, or it is 24 months and you take more time.

    Always at the back of your mind I think you should try and view it from your future child’s eyes – money already is a factor in adoption, and being adopted – don’t do anything to make it more of a factor.

  32. Avatar Leyla says:

    I think that when people use for-profit adoption agencies, they allow adoption costs to be insanely high. We adopted an infant domestically, in 2011, for a grand total of $6,500. Non-profit agency-not from foster care. We waited 2 years and 10 months. We had “offers” of potential situations from every local for-profit agency I had ever asked a question of. Emails telling me about babies that might be placed, with fees around $40,000. Waiting longer sucked, but we knew that our agency was ethical and wasn’t in it for the money.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Leyla, many things go into adoption cost-not the least of which is the birth mothers medical costs and living expenses. Adoption agency fees are only one part. I’m glad you were able to find a “situation” that was such a low cost!

  33. Christy, I read it as being opposed to all fundraising–mainly because she sees it as ineffective and demeaning to adoptive parents. Perhaps I misread her as well.

  34. Avatar Christy says:

    I wasn’t sure if her comment meant that it was wrong for all people to fundraise (I remember seeing it initially) but specifically for her she found it demeaning (specifically some of the items on the list). I could be wrong though.

    And while we did not fundraise I’m not offended by those who do. I support when I can. I think it’s a great avenue for creative people to finance their adoption. I think I would be uncomfortable with someone just outright asking me for money, but auctions, raffles, or selling things doesn’t bother me.

    Also, we were given gifts of money towards our adoption in lieu of Christmas gifts/etc. People want to be generous and supportive. If they aren’t interested, they don’t have to participate.

  35. Avatar Erika says:

    I’ve never seen that. I’ve seen people posting a link to their fund raisers, but never a “handout”.

  36. Avatar Pat says:

    I take exception with the comment that adoption costs are a “national crisis.” I think that’s an extreme statement. Adoption costs are certainly very high, but we have enough “crises” in our world right now.

  37. Avatar Pat I says:

    Dave and I made a financial gift toward the adoption costs of a young family we love and were happy to do so, suggesting that someday they pay it forward. I must admit, however, that I am uncomfortable when confronted with requests from people who are not our intimates–but then, I don’t like kids coming to my door selling candy bars for band or basketball, either. I’ve negun to question my own responses in that regard. I think those feelings come from my parents’ teachings that there are certain things we don’t talk about with others: finances being a big one.

  38. Avatar Valerie says:

    I read this blog posting at 4:00 a.m. after being awakened by the cat. And, I couldn’t go back to sleep….

    As a single, adoptive mother who used every last penny of a small ($5,000) inheritance and then took out a home equity line of credit to bring my daughter home, I wish adoption fundraising had been an avenue of which I’d been aware. I know so many friends and family who wanted to help and ended up believing their only option was buying baby shower gifts I could have gone without.

    As someone who now works for a major University, I can see parallels to the cost of adoption in how the cost of college is rising to levels that many families can’t afford. What my brain kept going to at 4:00 a.m. this morning, was the similar sentiments I hear from students looking for scholarship money to attend college. There is SO much money out there, but student after student tells me, “Well, I didn’t even apply for THAT one; it’s only $250!” I try to tell them that every $250/$500/$1000 scholarship adds up and lessens the financial burden, but that seems to be a message that is hard to get through.

    I also thought about the fact that just last week I made a $10 Kickstarter donation for an amazing local company trying to expand their organic ice cream business. My $10 combined with many other seemingly small donations gave this wonderful company the $15,000 they needed to get new space and the industrial-sized freezer that will allow them to grow.

    I don’t understand how combining all avenues to money, such as the sometimes as “small” $500 grants Helpusadopt provides, is disrespectful. No, it doesn’t directly address the crisis of the rising cost of adoption, but it does bring more children home right now.

    A $250 scholarship doesn’t address the rising cost of higher education, but it might be the difference between a student paying for books or financing them at a level that will place them in financial debt for years to come.

    And, my $10 Kickstarter donation didn’t eliminate the fact that banks will no longer provide loans to small businesses in this horrific economy they helped create, but combined with others who are passionate about local, organic food it’s bringing to market a sustainable, wonderful product and allowing a family to support itself.

    So, I guess what this overly verbose posting is trying to say is that together, we make miracles. We can’t stand back and wait for the world to change. Sometimes, we have to be the change we want to see in the world and that may mean using the change in our pockets to bring a baby to their forever family.

  39. I too see a distinction between doing something “to earn” the donation vs. simply asking for money. I feel this way about mission trip fundraising as well. However, it doesn’t bother me for a particularly “worthy” cause, such as a special need adoption.

  40. Avatar Cindy says:

    i think asking neighbors for money or their things is tacky. what’s even worse are the people who post in public forums like this asking for outright cash from strangers. i don’t have the slightest problem with people having their own garage sales or selling jewelry or whatever. people do that all the time, but i’m really tired of the posts in places like this asking for a hand out.

  41. Avatar Erika says:

    Nicely put, thanks.

  42. Avatar Tara says:

    My mind is addled with flu at the moment, but I’m not really understanding what the issue is? The cost of adoption is huge so people need to do what they can to raise the money, is she suggesting that that people not fundraise and therefor forgo adopting a child because they can’t afford to get the money in a sensitive way???

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