Stories From the Field: Fundraising
We at the Miriam Project understand that adoption can be a tricky journey and we don’t think you should have to do it alone. We also know that great ideas come from lots of different places, especially from people who are or have been on the journey. In our Stories from the Field series we will be highlighting folks who have helpful tips to share from their own adoption journeys. Today’s post is from Adam and Ashley; they share some neat tips on raising funds for adoption. If you like what they have to say below, head on over and check out their blog, adoptingwillpower.blogspot.com.
When my wife and I first thought about adoption, it was something we knew very little about. We knew though, from the beginning, that if we put God first and followed his plan, that our decision would be the right one. So we researched everything we could find, prayed about it every day, and eventually came to a decision: We were ready to adopt. We were so excited about what God was doing in our lives that the next step kind of came out of nowhere. Great, we were adopting, but how were we going to pay for this?
Before I go any further, I should probably tell you a little more about our situation. Ashley and I have been married for about 3 ½ years. In that time we’ve both worked full-time jobs, purchased a home, and did all those things that “responsible adults” are supposed to do. We also (being faithful followers of Dave Ramsey) began paying down debt and watching our spending to make sure we didn’t add any more. But through all the research about adoption we did, we kept seeing costs that made our heads spin and “experts” who said that the only way to pay for an adoption was to take out loans that might be paid off sometime around the time our child was applying for college. We were torn. On the one hand, we had made so much progress toward a more secure future for our family. But at the same time, how could we even think about ignoring the call that God had so strongly put on our hearts?
It was around this time that we heard about a book that would change the course of our adoption journey. While listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, we heard his interview with Julie Gumm. Julie had written a book called Adopt Without Debt, describing how she and many other families had used fundraisers to help pay for their adoptions. It was an inspiration to us. After reading the book and hearing Julie speak at an adoption conference, we immediately starting planning fundraisers. No idea was too crazy and no fundraiser was too small. We saw every dollar as a step that got our child closer to coming home.
We started fairly small. We sold bracelets and t-shirts, sold concessions at a couple of auctions in town along with two yard sales. Things were going pretty well. We had a soup supper in February at Ashley’s family’s church and were blessed by raising over $2,000. We were amazed at how many people came out to support us or sent in donations.
When we decided to do some fundraisers, we came to conclusion that anything we did had to meet a few standards (other than raising money, of course). We wanted to make sure everything we did was very public. We didn’t want our adoption to ever feel like it was a secret. We were excited about what was happening in our family and had been moved by our research on the need for adoptive parents. If us being open about our journey led to anyone else considering adoption, then it was a massive success. The second thing we wanted our fundraisers to be was fun. We didn’t want these events to feel like we’re just begging for money, we wanted people to have a good time and feel like they were really a part of our family.
With that in mind, we scheduled our biggest fundraiser yet, Can Our Yard Night. We invited everyone we knew, put an ad in the newspaper, and sent flyers to local church friends asking them to do one simple thing, come dump their aluminum cans in our yard. And so, on one Friday night, everyone came over and dumped piles and piles of cans in our yard. We had a great time getting to see all the friends, family, and even strangers who decided to help support us. The Saturday cleanup wasn’t quite as fun, but after over 600 pounds of aluminum were bagged, we’d made a huge step forward in our adoption journey.
We’ve been blessed in that, as the costs have come, we’ve always had more than enough to pay for everything. We know now, more than ever, that we’re doing what God intended for us to do, because He’s always made a way.
I can’t say we’ll never need to take out a loan. What I can say is that God has used this to build and strengthen our friendships and families, and has brought so many wonderful people into our lives throughout this process that we can say, without a doubt, that this has been the greatest blessing of our lives.