There are no two ways about it—adoption is expensive. Every adoptive parent has to face this reality. Some will make a substantial withdrawal from their savings or take out a sizable loan. For others, like my husband Joel and me, it means they will depend almost entirely on fundraising—yuck. Asking other people for money is about as appealing as volunteering for an experimental medical procedure. If we approach it at all, we do it reluctantly. If you’re like me, thinking about fundraising brings up feelings of fear, dread, and even embarrassment. That being said, I am starting to think there is another side to the story worth considering.
Joel and I began fundraising for our Ugandan adoption about a month ago. Before we started, I had a fantasy that someone in our family or our church would escort us to a quiet corner and whisper that they wanted to write us a check for the entire amount. We would take a deep breath, express our gratitude, and get back to the real work of becoming adoptive parents. Like most people in our situation, we never experienced this scenario. I am so thankful.
What did happen is that we raised a whole bunch of money one donation at a time. We’ve had big donations and small donations—each one vitally important to helping us bring our baby home. More than one hundred family members, friends and complete strangers have responded to letters, blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates in remarkable ways. We have now raised about $14,000 toward our $20,000 goal, and it happened much more quickly than we expected.
After reflecting on our experience, I’ve come to believe that fundraising is worth doing regardless of the financial return. It has done so much more for our adoption and our community than simply bringing in dollars. Here are just a few examples:
1. Fundraising allows us to inspire other families
If my fundraising dream had come true—the one where a single big check took care of all of our needs—it would have been dramatic, but it would have done little to help ordinary families believe adoption was financially possible for them.
Our need makes our story relatable. My passion and my prayer is that God would use our story to inspire many other families to believe—maybe for the first time—that, if people like us can do it, then so can they. Adoption is not reserved for the wealthy, and it can be done without debt. That is the message of our fundraising story.
2. Fundraising grows our faith
Joel and I could never have brought in $14,000 in our own strength. It would have been simply impossible. Every dollar that comes in humbles and amazes us as watch God provide through his Body. This experience has taught me that we serve a powerful and generous Father, growing my faith in exponential ways. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t trade that for anything, not even for a $20,000 check.
3. Fundraising gives us a change to invites others into a bigger story
Most importantly, fundraising invites our community of family, friends and those we don’t even know, into a bigger story. Our story becomes theirs as they become invested in, and changed by, our journey.
Some will decide to adopt because they hear your story. Some will give. By God’s grace, many will understand more deeply the heart of Jesus and the Gospel itself as they witness the miracle and the metaphor of adoption through your story.
While the details of your story won’t be the same as mine, I pray that each of you, facing the daunting cost of adoption, will have the courage to believe that God will provide and the willingness to step into the adventure.