It’s no secret that adoption is expensive. The costs of a home study, agency and attorney fees, and birth parent expenses can be significant. Although adoption costs can vary from $25,000-$50,000, the average domestic agency adoption costs $43,239 (Source: Adoption: By The Numbers). It’s rare families have the finances needed to fund an adoption in their bank account when they begin the adoption journey. So how do families afford their adoptions? How to they bridge the gap between where they feel God calling them and what they need to get there financially? Many couples decide to fundraise.
But most people have mixed emotions about fundraising for their adoption. While they know they need help and can’t accomplish such a huge task alone, many families I talk to feel a certain shame and stigma when it comes to raising funds for their adoption.
How do families reconcile their conflicting feelings about fundraising? How do they share their desire to adopt knowing they’ll have to ask for help from others? Does our faith come into play when we think about fundraising and stewarding our finances for the Kingdom?
Below are some practical tips for families fundraising for an adoption.
Understanding and explaining the costs
One of the biggest hurdles families have when fundraising is answering questions about the costs of adoption. Most people don’t understand the valid fees that go into adoption for the agency, attorneys, and birth parent expenses. They might even think the costs are unnecessary or unjustified. And for those suggesting a couple adopt from foster care because it’s “free,” it’s important to note that these adoptions costs the state (and ultimately the tax payers) billions of dollars a year. Private domestic adoption is actually much less costly, but can seem more expensive because of the up front costs.
When it comes to fundraising in adoption, it’s important educate friends and family about the typical fees associated with adoption and give them a general breakdown of adoption expenses can be helpful. When people understand the importance of counseling expectant parents, making certain their needs are met, and that the right adoption professionals are ensuring an adoption is done ethically and legally, they are much more apt to see the value and necessity behind the money spent. Ultimately we spend money on what we prioritize. Ensuring an adoption cares for everyone involved is money well spent.
Partnering with others to extend God’s Kingdom
God’s mandate is clear in the Bible. As believers, we are called to care for the least of these: those in need and the orphan (Matthew 25:40-45 and James 1:27). The incredible thing about infant adoption is the ability an adoptive family has to partner with a birth family and ensure a child is never an orphan. Although not everyone is called to become an adoptive family, everyone is called to adoption. Through your adoption, you can partner with others and invite them to be an active part of a movement to care for babies and their birth families.
There is a significant need for families to take on the financial and emotional burden and step into adoption. If believers are truly pro-life, this extends far past fighting for the rights of the unborn. In addition to caring for babies yet to be born, we must also care holistically for that baby long after birth AND their parents. This includes (but of course is not limited to), being willing to make adoption an important part of our faith culture. The church can step up and step in, taking back this responsibility from the government and care for others through adoption. Fundraising is one practical way we can make it possible for families to honor a birth mother’s choice for life; stating that both she and her baby are valuable and important. Hopeful adoptive parents can get over the pride and stigma of asking for financial help when they see the bigger, eternal picture of partnering with others to extend God’s kingdom to care for children and birth families through the option of adoption.
One of the hardest parts of fundraising can be the vulnerability that comes with sharing your story and asking for help. Why you’re choosing adoption to grow your family and how your journey is going will be vital to inviting others into what God is doing and even educating them about adoption.It’s also important to note that when families fundraise they are not just asking for finances; they can also ask for prayer and practical help. There’s no doubt adoption is expensive: but an adoptive family needs a community around them to also offer things like childcare, meals, encouragement, mentors, friendship…the list goes on. And although often overlooked, asking for prayer is one of the most important ways you can ask friends and family to be a part of your adoption journey.
Adoptive families are uniquely positioned. They have an opportunity to educate those around them about adoption and the need for the church to step into caring for children and birth families. This takes immense courage, but sharing your story and inviting others to be a part of it can be an incredible opportunity to share God’s work in building your family and giving others a front row seat to the story he’s writing.