We've been in the international adoption process for a few years now. It was five years ago that we started thinking and praying about the possibility. Four years ago we started our training in New Brunswick, where we were living at the time. Two years ago we contacted some agencies in the States to begin the process here. One year ago, our dossier made it to Ethiopia. And here we are, still in the waiting game. But word is that we are #1 on the waiting list with our agency! Yay!
The scariest part of adoption for us was definitely the financial aspect. I'm a stay-at-home mom, so we don't have a second income to rely on. $30,000+ looks insurmountable at first. But the good part is, you only need a chunk of it at a time.
Once we stepped out in faith and put our money where our mouth was (so to speak), God totally blew us away with his provision! We're not done, but we have no doubt that every dollar will be there to finish bringing our little girl home.
My hope is that this list will help another family as they pursue adoption. Here is what worked for us in order from least to greatest.
This fundraiser is as easy as setting up a storefront on their site, and sending your family & friends online to buy coffee! For each bag of coffee purchased through your link, your family will receive $5. This fundraiser is as successful as you are in reminding people on social media to shop via your link. Put the word out there at Christmas, especially, when people are looking for purposeful ways to shop.
A friend of my sister volunteered her artistic abilities for a giveaway to benefit our adoption. She offered a custom pencil portrait for the winner. We had a raffle on social media. Each contribution of $5 put your name in the giveaway once. $10 would enter you twice. This giveaway raised over $100. It could easily raise much more if it's shared far & wide.
Do you have a friend who could team up with you for a giveaway? Maybe they own an etsy shop and could donate an item or two. Maybe they would like to contribute a wonderful gift basket to your raffle. Many people would like to help, perhaps they just need to be asked.
When we would get "extra" money in our budget, we immediately put it in our adoption fund. For example, my husband is a pastor, and when he would officiate at a wedding or funeral, he usually gets an honorarium. That goes into our adoption fund. I am a pianist, and when I have played at weddings and funerals, I also put my honorarium in our special fund. What about tax returns? Stick it in the fund. Did you save money by using coupons or getting a good deal? Put the difference in your adoption fund. You'll never miss it.
Our family, church family, and friends have been very generous to us in this journey. I know some adoptive families write fundraising letters. We never did that. But people gave as they felt led, and it has been a blessing!
Our sippy cups of change brought in several hundred dollars. Friends & family who were interested in helping in this way took a sippy cup I had purchased at the dollar store and filled it up with their spare change for weeks or months. A ladies Bible study at a neighboring church even took a dozen to fill up for us. Our boys contributed extra change to ours. It's an easy way people can help.
Who doesn't shop online these days? Again, this fundraiser will be as successful as your ability to remind your family & friends to use it! When you sign up to be the amazon associates program, you will earn referral fees every time someone shops from your link. We have designated our adoption account with the program, and the money just gets dropped right in. It's easy to set up. We have received several hundred dollars from this fundraiser in the last year and a half. However, as with the others, it is something you need to continually remind people about on their social media. People would like to help -- it doesn't cost them a dime more to shop through your link -- but you need to make it accessible and remind them regularly, especially during peak shopping seasons.
Our yard sale weekend was amazing -- it brought in $2550! That was much more than we had hoped for. We held it at our church on Memorial Day weekend (Friday - Saturday). It might have even done better had the weather cooperated. We had to move it inside because of cold blowing rain! But even with that, it was quite a success. We asked our church family and through Facebook for donations of items to sell. People were generous, even donating high ticket items, like a ride-on lawnmower, bunk beds, guitars, and such. Friends helped us sort the items into sections, like you would have at a thrift store -- housewares, girl clothing, shoes, toys, etc. We sold clothing by the bag ($5/plastic grocery bag) or 50 cents a piece. This helped to clear some of it out quickly. People donated baked goods. We made lemonade to sell, but would have done better with hot chocolate or coffee! Who could have predicted such a cold Memorial Day weekend? Still, it was a success and definitely worth the effort.
Yes, it takes time to do the research, but will be worth it in the end. We have already received $7000 in grants. Once we receive our referral, we have several more that we can apply to, that will hopefully help to cover the cost of travel overseas. Most grant applications will all require the same information -- financial (tax returns), some of your story and what led you to adoption, and references. It's a good idea to have all of that paperwork handy, and then you can apply for half a dozen grants at a time, in assembly-line-fashion. Nothing beats getting that acceptance letter in the mail and realizing God has this adoption covered!
What can you do to raise extra funds right now? Even if you have a full-time job, is there something else you could do on the side? Perhaps you could offer in-home childcare. Do you play an instrument? You could give lessons. Maybe you could declutter and sell some of your things on ebay.
For me, I had always loved to craft. I also love thrifting. So, it just made sense to open an etsy shop, where I could sell my up cycled, painted, and sewn handmade goodies. It gives me a good excuse to regularly go thrifting. My boys are even in on the hunt now, as they know what I'm looking for.
God has really blessed my shop. I never could have imagined the benefits that would come. First, financially, this shop has covered many adoption expenses, and continues to as we await our referral. We have had to update our home study, and it was great to have that money available immediately. Additionally, I have been able to network with other like-minded individuals and ministries because of my online presence. I have been able to donate to missions trips, orphanages, and other adoptive families because of the income from my shop. I have been blessed. My shop is called 4onemore, and I hope to keep it open long after our adoption is through, so that we can bless other families who are also Making Room 4 One More.
The bottom line is: don't let the financial aspects of adoption deter you if God has called you to this journey! He can provide, and He will. Many times, He's just waiting for us to step out in faith and be ready to watch Him move.
What fundraiser ideas have worked for you?
Have you heard of thredUP? I only recently learned about this online consignment site through another adoption blog. What a great way for friends to help contribute to our adoption just by donating their high-quality used clothing.
Here's how it works from their FAQ section:
And the best part? (other than you will feel sooo good to clear through the clutter in your closets) thredUP will match donations through our group up to $1000. So, if we earn $300 through this by the end of 2013, thredUP will donate another $300 toward our adoption. If we earn $1000, they will donate an additional $1000!
Yay! Anyone feel like doing some closet purging this weekend for a good cause? Thanks a bunch if you can help in this way. Oh, and pass the word along. Our group link is: http://thred.me/19J73hS
We did a lot of picking while visiting White Head Island, N.B., Canada, on our recent vacation. Picking dulse. Picking bakeapples. And picking treasures off the beach (more on that in a later post!)
So today I want to show you our adventure in picking bakeapples, how you can get some yummy jam for yourself and support our adoption at the same time!
Bakeapples occupy a variety of moist northern tundra and peat bog habitats. White Head Island in the Bay of Fundy, is one of those special places where they grow. On a rather warm day on White Head Island, we took our vehicles as far as they could go toward the heath. Rubber boots. Check. Buckets. Check. Now to find those bakeapples.
Into the heath we went. We had to be careful to step on sturdy ground. Sometimes our feet went into the mossy heath too far, and we almost lost some boots! We made sure not to lose any boys :)
We were there at just the right time, since they are generally ready for picking around mid July. First came a lesson from Nana on what to look for. Bakeapples look like a large raspberry. The fruit is red when unripe and turns a soft golden orange at maturity. It grows one berry to a plant approximately 3-4 inches high.
Called "bakeapple" in Atlantic Canada, the name is anglicized from the French, "baie qu'appelle..." meaning, "what is this berry called..?" It is internationally known as a "Cloudberry." It was interesting to discover that IKEA sells Cloudberry Jam, but it is not available on their website. It is only available in their stores when you're lucky enough to find it in stock.
Bakeapples have a distinct honey/apricot-like flavor. These berries are extremely rich in vitamin C and contain few calories. And like IKEA says, "Their rarity makes cloudberries a delicacy." Yes, hand-picked, each one of them.
After an hour or two in the heath picking bakeapples, we were ready to take them back to the house and let Nana work her magic on them and produce... Bakeapple Jam for my etsy shop!
If you're looking for the perfect gift for that person who has everything... how about our Bakeapple Jam? There is a limited quantity available, so grab it while you can. And as always, the proceeds from the jam (and everything else in my etsy shop!) go toward the adoption of our daughter from Ethiopia.
Just a quick post to document God's provision yet again for our adoption...
We just got an email tonight from a private foundation that our application for a grant has been approved -- to the tune of $3000!
I love seeing how God orchestrates the dollar amounts, and even the dates. Look at this:
May 13th -- found out we received a $4000 grant
May 24-25th -- amazing yard sale weekend that brought in $2550
June 13th -- this most recent grant of $3000
One little month, a big $9500 provision! How great is our God!
I am blown away. But why should I be? Do I believe God owns everything or not? He is surely in the details, down to the last dollar. I have read many adoption blogs and have seen how God provided for families exactly what they needed for the next step in the process. Guess what? I have seen God's hand move this week. Undeniably. And He has used our church family & friends as His hands and feet in our family's life. Thank you to all those who have had a part in our BIG yard sale weekend.
Now, be prepared to be amazed at how God orchestrated each dollar amount this week.
We'll start with our letter from Show Hope last Tuesday. We have been given a $4000 grant!
Friday's yard sale brought in $1661.
Today's yard sale brought in $889.
Total all of those, and it is $6550! When our referral comes for our daughter, we will need to pay $6500! I am totally blown away. God allowed us to make $50 above our next expense. Kind of like a reminder that He is in charge of it all. Why is our faith so small many times? I hope you're encouraged by reading this. Because we sure are! The bottom line is: When God calls you to a task, to a ministry, to fulfill a job for Him, He will totally provide. He is able. And we give Him all the glory for His provision these last 10 days!
Carrie G & Mandy G will each be in touch with Bethany Kerr Fine Art to get a free custom pencil portrait! Congrats!
Thank you everyone for your support, donations, and sharing our link. And a big thank you to Bethany Kerr for donating her talents to help our adoption in this way! Check out her Facebook page and keep her in mind for some beautiful portraits in the future.
One more day to enter your name in our drawing by donating $5 toward our adoption! Drawing will take place on Saturday, with winners announced back here on Monday.
What will you win? Check out the details on Monday's post or Tuesday's shorter version. And yes, the Duggars have some custom pencil portraits from Bethany Kerr Fine Art, too.
Please consider sharing this post! The more the merrier!
Okay, so we just have 2 days left before 2 lucky winners get custom pencil portraits from Bethany Kerr Fine Art! This prize is probably worth at least $100 dollars, and you could win by donating just $5 toward our adoption! Two winners will be randomly chosen on Saturday at noon.
Here are the details: short version & detailed version.
Please share this post and help spread the word! And thanks to those who have given so far -- we so appreciate your generosity!
For the detailed post on our raffle this week, visit yesterday's post. For those of you who don't have time to read all of it, here's the short and sweet version.
Donate to our adoption using the paypal button at the top of this blog. Then leave a comment letting us know how many entries you need. Every $5 donation = one entry into the raffle. There will be two winners of a custom pencil portrait!
The raffle will close on Saturday, January 19th, at noon. We will post the winner on Monday, the 21st, so check back here to see if you're a winner!
If you donated yesterday, we thank you! Even if you didn't leave a comment, we have your names in the line-up!
And check out Rebekah's Saying Yes To Adoption blog for our family's feature! It's a fun week :)
But first, an update:
The last document that needs to be secured before our dossier can be sent to Ethiopia for a referral is the I-600A. This is basically how the US government identifies prospective parents as qualified to continue in the adoption process. Our appointment is a few days away, and we were excited to see that we got an appointment so quickly!
Other than finishing up our paper chase, we are now in the part of the journey where we can qualify for grants, since we have an approved home study. Since Christmas, we have sent several grant applications out, and we will let you know if we hear any good news from them!
But this blog post is about another provision from God. He just keeps amazing us!
God dropped a wonderful fundraising opportunity in our laps just before Christmas. A like-minded friend on Facebook offered to supply a beautiful pencil portrait for a raffle to support our adoption!
Doesn't she do beautiful work?? Bethany Kerr is a mom of 5, soon to be 6! She is a passionate pro-life voice. Bethany has also written a book about her miscarriage experience that I recommend to all who have gone through that, or need information to help others. Bethany has an amazing talent and has offered to donate a pencil portrait for our raffle to help us raise money for our adoption expenses!
If you keep up with the Duggars, you will even see the portraits of all their kids that she made for them! How cool is that? Yes, those are Bethany's handiwork in the background!
Here's how it will work. For each $5 donated toward our adoption, your name will be entered once in the raffle. We have a paypal donate button on the top of the blog. Donate there, then leave a comment below letting us know how many entries you need. Then, share, share, share this raffle with your friends and family! The more the better, obviously :) We will use a random generator to pick the winner, who will get such a wonderful heirloom keepsake portrait!! I wish I could win this prize!
Just think of all the holidays coming up where you could gift a custom pencil portrait -- Mother's Day, Father's Day, or just because!! What about new baby, or in memory of a loved one?
What about capturing multiple generations? I just love this one. She said that this was done using two separate photographs. So, if you want a pencil portrait of more than one person, but you don't have a good one of both of them, she can work from multiple photographs!
She had so many lovely portraits on her Facebook page, that I had such a hard time not putting them all on this blog post! Thanks, Bethany, for being willing to help our adoption in this way! **And guess what? Bethany has thrown in a second portrait for an extra prize!! So there will be two lucky winners!**
Get the word out about this raffle... and if you'd like a chance to win an amazing custom pencil portrait, then ready, set.... go! Donate in $5 increments ($5=1 entry) via the paypal button on the top of this blog, then leave a comment with how many entries you need. The raffle will close on Saturday, January 19th, at noon. We will post the winner on Monday, the 21st, so check back here to see if you're a winner!