Adoption is obviously near and dear to my heart and it’s become a common occurrence that when sharing our story, I’m met with comments from others about how much they would love to adopt, but feel that the cost is holding them back. Let me be the first to say—I totally hear ya! It can be quite overwhelming (especially in your 20’s) to hear that you could potentially pay upwards of $25,000 to grow your family.
When Will & I first began our journey, we were overwhelmed by the hefty cost, but still felt an overwhelming sense of peace about continuing with the process. We were encouraged by stories of other young couples who found ways to make it work, and decided that if there was something worth sacrificing for, it would be the life of our child.
(Spoiler alert: It was sooooooooo worth it and MORE!!!)
1. Get your finances in order!
This is HUGE. Before we began the adoption process, we were pretty good about budgeting, but definitely not as consistent as we needed to be. When we knew that we needed to make some sacrifices in order to find extra saving money, we immediately tracked all of our expenses and wrote down things that we could do without.
A great example of this is our miscellaneous “shopping” category. Each month we have money in the budget dedicated to items that don’t otherwise have a category (ie: new slippers, a coffee mug from TJ Maxx 😉 , random Amazon impulses, etc.) This category was leaned out by about $200 per month, which put that money RIGHT in the savings category.
Another wonderful thing that helped was dedicating ANY miscellaneous money to a savings account that I specifically set up for our adoption. At the time, I was getting mileage reimbursement checks each month at my job so all of those, as well as any money Will & I made from side jobs (my photography, his computer fixing, babysitting, etc.) went into that account.
2. Create a donation website
There are multiple schools of thought on this one, but we had a lot of friends and family that wanted to be involved in our adoption journey, so we figured what better way than to make an online donation website. GoFundMe seems to be the most popular, but at the time that we started fundraising YouCaring was still around and we chose to go with them because the fees were less substantial. There are also other adoption-specific fundraising sites out there, like AdoptTogether.com. Whichever you end up using, be sure to take note of what kind of fees will be taken out prior to registering!
3. Use your gifts
I love photography and the hubs is pretty savvy with computers. Last winter, I hosted an adoption photography fundraiser to take family photos for the holidays, and had an awesome turnout! Through this, about $2,000 was fundraised. Will used to fix up computers on the side when we first got married, so he put some of those skills back to work in order to make us some extra income to put 100% towards the adoption.
I’ve also seen folks create crafts to sell on Etsy. Whether it be quilts, hair bows, jewelry, or key chains—people will want to support you through this journey!
4. Have a garage sale
This was another great idea that exceeded our expectations! Although I will preface by saying that garage sales can be a lot of work, if you have friends who are willing to help, the process can be smooth sailing. We had friends (and even some strangers!) donate random items (like furniture, clothes, electronics, etc.) for us to sell at the garage sale. To increase exposure, I put an ad for the sale in the local newspaper and created a Facebook event.
On the day of, we had people showing up three hours before the start time wanting to get first dibs– We couldn’t believe it! Also, a group of our friends came over to man the tables and carry large furniture items, which was a huge help.
Whatever items we didn’t end up selling at the garage sale, we later put on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to sell privately. All in all, this fundraiser ended up adding another $2,000 towards our goal!
5. Puzzle Fundraiser
You can read more about our puzzle fundraiser here, but I created a large puzzle and “sold” the pieces through our fundraising site. As the pieces were sold, we wrote the names of the donors on the back of them. We have since assembled the puzzle and it is now hanging in Eli’s nursery 🙂
6. Talk to Your Employer
This is a tip that can easily be overlooked, but can make a HUGE difference in your fundraising efforts! After talking with the HR department at my job at the time, I discovered that they offered a flexible spending account for adoptions. I was able to contribute $5,000 pre-tax to that account, and as long as we could prove that we had paid that amount to the adoption agency, we received the money back at the end of the year.
I’ll admit, I did not take full advantage of any adoption grants at the time, but would totally focus more on this if we do decide to adopt again! I DID apply for one, but we got denied and I thought that meant we were doomed to get denied for alllllllofthegrants. #firsttimeadoptionfail
Having been immersed in the adoption world for the past 3 years now, I know MANY families who have funded their adoptions through grants such as Lifesong for Orphans, Show Hope, and HelpUsAdopt. A more comprehensive list of grants can be found here.
Adoption is emotionally and financially draining, but I will tell you over and over and over and over again that it is worth all of that energy and effort tenfold! If you feel the call to adoption on your heart, please don’t let finances be the thing that holds you back. If we can do it, you can too 😉