Sunday, July 24, 2011

Raising Support for Adoption (part 2)

Part 1 (where we stood financially entering this process) is here…
We entered our adoption unsure of how we felt about raising support for adoption.
On the one hand… We have several friends who have completed adoptions, and in most cases, they did not raise support. One friend intended to do a fundraiser for the airfare portion, but had family members who were strongly opposed, and so they didn’t. I know that the Lord provided for them – either through short term loans (and the federal tax credit, which will not be a help to our family, since we have pastoral tax exemptions already), gifts from family, or just making more money than we do.
On the other hand… We have continued to receive confirmation from the Lord that this is His path for us, despite it being way more than we can afford.
And we both have been on mission trips for which we raised support – Matt served at an inner city ministry in LA in college, and I’ve traveled the world with Campus Crusade (CRU!) and Grace Bible Church.
Actually, it was a mission trip that got us seriously on the road toward adoption in the first place. 2 1/2 years ago, I talked to Matt about taking Luke on a trip to Zambia with Camp Life, a trip my dear friend Susie has been on for 4 summers now. Matt and I were discussing how we’d feel comfortable raising support for me, but would want to pay for Luke, since he’d (at 9) be there more for the experience himself than to serve. At the time it would have cost us $4,000 each. As I considered this and prayed through it, it occurred to me that if God provided $8,000 for our family, I didn’t want to spend it serving orphans for a few weeks in the summer – I wanted to actually bring one HOME.
We’ve gotten mostly VERY positive response to our fundraising efforts – many people even contacted us asking how they could help before we had done anything other than our dessert benefit.
We’ve decided to do a combination of things… We had a big fundraising party – a benefit concert here in town for local friends. I’ve been making and selling things through my Estsy shop. We’ve raised some through our Just Love Coffee shop. I have a couple of other ideas that I’m waiting on – to see if we’ll need them or not: designing and selling t-shirts; making a cookbook of family recipes; selling Ugandan crafts (they have some awesome bead necklaces that I’m in love with; I’m planning on buying some and bring them back to sell as a fundraiser.)
Because so many of our friends and family live outside of town, we did decide to send out a prayer/fundraising letter (which we mostly sent to folks who live outside of Lincoln and may not have known that we’re in this process). We’ve had a wonderful response to this, and are SO THANKFUL to be covered in prayer. I seriously waffled on whether or not to send out our letter – I wrote it a full month and a half before getting up the courage to mail it (at which time so much had happened that I had to mostly re-write it).
But as I waffled…. I got prayer/support letters from 8 of our friends who were spending the summer in Spain with our college group. And update letters from all of the missionaries that we support. And new support letters from friends who are soon leaving on Stint with Cru. PLUS I got facebook messages from several friends telling me that God had put our family on their heart, and wanting our address because they wanted to give toward our adoption. By the fourth message, I figured…. “OK, Lord, I get it!”
The main thing that was holding me back was knowing that some of the folks receiving our letters would think we’re crazy or obnoxious or asking for a handout. And I don’t want to make decisions based on fear of what people think.
We have gotten some negative feedback, and some questions, which I thought I’d address here.
The first is how we can ask/expect others to help with adoption when everyone has babies and manages to do it on their own. I have a hard time responding to this – because I want to be polite, but I don’t know how to politely point out that most people DO have help. They have insurance. And the average adoption costs between $20 – 30K (we’re expecting ours to be significantly less than that, praise the Lord). I don’t know anyone who’s paid $20,ooo for the birth of their biological children.
My favorite response to this came from some friends of ours who were asked this question by mutual friends – how can those Meyers ask for money? These sweet friends said, “Well, we don’t think of it as giving the Meyers money. We think about getting to be a part of giving a child a family.” AMEN.
Secondly, I think there are just a lot of people who think raising support = asking for a handout. Because of my Cru background, I’ve never seen it that way. My philosophy is:
  • I’m not making you give or expecting anything of you… You can always say no. I’m not going back over my list seeing who responded or didn’t.
  • When we sent out our letters, I genuinely meant it when I said the main thing we need is prayer. The money is secondary.
  • I’m not asking for you to give me money. Nor am I asking for help with something I could accomplish myself. I’m telling friends the adventure the Lord has us on and inviting them to join Him and us.
Support raising has been hard and very humbling (but in a different way than I expected.)
But I can not WAIT to tell our little guy that this is his story. That he went from having little to no family to having HUNDREDS of people love him enough to be a part of bringing him HOME. Many of those people were motivated by the gospel – and I know they are praying God’s best for him, that he’d grow up to be a man of God and a blessing to his birth culture and his adoptive culture.
And I’ve been so touched and feel so loved by the Lord through this whole process.
We have received gifts from our sweet families – siblings, generous aunts and uncles, plus both of our parents have given toward bringing their grandboy home, and pray for him regularly.
We have received precious gifts from friends with BIG hearts for adoption: One family who adopted domestically and made money on their adoption – a fact which always made them uncomfortable, so they passed that on to us. Another family who were in the process of adopting and got pregnant. Rather than sit on that money, they gave a portion of it to us.
We’ve received gifts from families who told us their kids had been working to earn extra to give toward our adoption (tears!)
We’ve received gifts from former students and students’ parents, telling us they are thankful to be able to bless our family, since our ministry was a blessing to them (more tears!)
We’ve received small gifts and large gifts,  gifts from friends we see regularly, and from friends we haven’t seen in years, from every stage of both of our lives. And all of them are precious to us.
So when I say it’s humbling… this is what I mean. I was a little embarrassed to send out letters at first, and to be so “out there” with our fundraising.  But the real humbling is much deeper than that – the humility of seeing others’ generosity, and wanting to be more generous myself. The humility of people’s love and support of our family – and wanting to be a supportive and generous friend myself. The humility of realizing my own pride, and that I could have missed out on seeing all that God could do because I didn’t want anyone to think I’m crazy.
So if you’re considering adoption… I’d say be ready to work hard and learn a lot about yourself. Be ready to cut back and budget and say no to LOTS of things you’d like to say yes to. But I’d also say that God funds what He loves. And He loves setting the lonely in families.
We’re well over halfway what we think our final cost will be… And we’ve had just what we needed each step of the way – including my upcoming trip. PRAISE the GOOD LORD.

Here's another adoptive mommy's knowing others along this journey!

Coming soon… Because I get asked about it so much, I think I’ll address the question “Why is adoption so expensive?”