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