Wednesday, April 17, 2013

So, Now What? (Our findings)

First, we would like to genuinely thank all of you for the outpouring of support, love, insight, and just simple positive excitement for us since we made our pursuit of adoption public over the weekend!  It is amazing the reach Facebook and word of mouth can have sometimes!  We feel truly fortunate to be surrounded by and a part of this incredibly cool circle of people.  Little did we know when we put this out into world how many (so very many) valuable adoption resources we would find so quickly in our friends, families, colleagues, acquaintances, friends of friends, and kind people who we have now interacted with for the very first time.  We knew you were all great, of course, but thank you so much for YOUR personal adoption stories, contacts to other couples who have gone through or who are also going through this process, links to blogs, willingness to share direct contacts at various adoption organizations, phone calls and emails with advice, and even an unexpected/unsolicited donation to our "GoFundMe" adoption account (We'll get to that).  The point is this:  keep sharing EVERYTHING with us.  No piece of positive or helpful information, perspective, contact, or advice you have will go unnoticed, unconsidered, or unused.  We will eat that up because we really love a lot of info.  It is a little sick how informed we like to be, but ultimately this helps us make the best decisions possible as we take the next steps forward.

So steps: Uh-huh, now what?  Well, you might have guessed that we did some research about how this adoption thing all works - where to go from here.  We've certainly arrived at a couple of conclusions about the desire to adopt:  A.  Deciding the right next step is hard.  B.  It is really expensive.  As in - would you like to purchase a yaht OR adopt a baby kind of expensive (exaggerated for illustrative purposes - adopting is only like buying 1/4th of a yaht).  Right now, as we understand it, couples looking to adopt have essentially 4 paths:

1.  Join an adoption agency.
2.  Hire an adoption lawyer.   
3.  Find your own birthmother, then find a lawyer.
4.  Become foster parents or adopt out of the foster care system.

Paths 1 and 2 are essentially the same service for very nearly the same amount of money.  Roughly $25,000-$30,000 - and that's if you stay in the USA.  For that money, they guide you every step of the way - from finding birthmothers to read your "Dear Birthmother Letter," to navigating each state's specific adoption laws, to mediating terms and communication with birthmothers, to counseling.

 Now, the third option is to find your own birthmother.  So instead of an agency or lawyer, we would  do all the marketing and networking OR  just be lucky enough to find an expectant mother who wanted to find an adoptive home for their child.  While this significantly reduces the overall expense of adoption, our understanding is that trying to find a birthmother on your own and then successfully navigating the delicate communication to establish the terms of your relationship can be tricky.  (It can and has been done though.  One of our friends, by happenstance, found and connected with a birthmother through a professional acquaintance without going through an agency or lawyer.  They only brought in an adoption lawyer to guide them through the final legal process at the end.)

So, in the end, there are always going to be fixed legal costs to finalizing any adoption (obviously). 

We are diligent stewards of our finances and we really hate using credit or relying on debt to accomplish our goals.  Thanks Dave Ramsey.  Adoption, for us, is no exception.  We do not think it is wise for us to get a loan against our house, borrow money, or use a credit card  when we can raise the funds we need to do this with a little tightening of our budget, creativity, and extra effort.  The high mark from what we've seen so far is around $30,000, which is A LOT of money.  It is an amount that, let's just say, gave us some serious pause (aka anxiety attacks).  But, at the same time, it isn't an impossible goal with time and focus.

Right now, before commiting to one specific adoption path, we are asking ourselves, "Could we use a creative combination of these paths to reduce the final cost of adoption?"  Maybe we can find a birthmother through our own networking efforts and then only use the mentorship and resources of an agency or lawyer to help us navigate the trickier parts.  Another one of our friends who adopted recently said that should she try to adopt again, she would try to do more of the work on her own that she paid an agency to do for her.  The two of us have never been afraid to do the extra work for something we were passionate about!      

As we figure out how we fund this adventure, we are leaving no options off the table:  garage sales, t-shirts, selling a car, comedy shows, extra photography, and anything else we can do to responsibly raise this kind of money.  NOW - I mentioned our GoFundMe account earlier - you can see a link/widget to this on the upper right side of the blog.  This is a crowd-sourcing service.  Crowd sourcing is this new age concept (not really) of asking a large mass of supporters (usually through digital/social-networking means) to individually contribute a small amount in order to raise a large amount of money.  It is like that Kickstarter service for artists, only instead of raising money to make a bizarre avant garde record, you raise money to assist with the expenses of adoption.  We read that a lot of couples have been successful using this service, so we created our account as an additional resource.  We did the math, ok?  If we can get 30,000 of our closest friends to put $1 in there, we'll be set - LOL, we may need to borrow some of your friends!  Seriously though, if you feel moved to be a part of our "sourcing crowd," any amount you offer will be humbly and graciously appreciated.  Thanks in advance for becoming our giant flock of storks :)

Now, we are off to make a list of who to call and talk to next!  So many of you came out of the woodwork (By the way, what comes out of the woodwork?  Bugs?  Sorry, if we're calling you bugs right now.  We mean "bugs" in the most respectful way possible) that we have a ton of new info to collect.  Can't wait hear more stories!



  1. I don't know if you have checked them out, but Project Miriam, in Anderson. I do have some seminary friends who work there. If it means it will put you one step closer, as a mother of three, with fertility issues, I would be happy to be the first to donate to your most worthy cause! Good luck and God Bless!

  2. Thanks so much Megan, we will check them out!

  3. You can look into . It is Steven Curtis Chapman's adoption program and they offer adoption grants. Before we adopted we held a HUGE rummage sale. We accepted donations from anyone willing to donate. We did this for several months and held all of the donations in a relatives basement until time for the sale. This required a lot of driving and working to sort through the donations. We held the sale in our church parking lot and it ended up we needed several volunteers and a large u-haul the day of the sale. We also had a family member sell hotdogs and cokes. After all of the work and help we ended up making $3800 to help fund our adoption. I would be willing to talk to you about it if you would like.

    Amy W.

  4. Awesome. It's good to know that things like rummagae or garage sales can work! ~Adrienne

  5. First, I have no idea if this comment will go through, because I have a wordpress account but not a blog on wordpress.

    Anyhoo, I'm surprised I had to see this on the SMS page, since we have a handful of friends in common on Facebook. We're starting the adoption process, too. It's one of the reasons I've started my blog I have a post from Friday making the announcement, and my first real post scheduled to post in less than hour.

    We're going the route of foster-to-adopt, which is as close to free as it gets. So our path is a little different, but I'd love to keep up with you along your journey.

  6. Congratulations! It will be fun to keep in touch and share stories, maybe even share advice as we go, Best of luck. I am heading to your blog now... :). ~ Adrienne

  7. Arrgh. For some reason that didn't post. I just got it up now. Hope to see you there!