Fundraising and grant writing is something many adoptive families will have to go through. It’s something most of my clients have to do. Oh sure, I’ve helped here and there over the years as I’ve been needed. I’ve helped complete verifications of fees paid, I’ve written letters of support for my clients, I’ve shared my opinion of their needs through needs assessment forms and I’ve given them ideas about great fundraiser ideas.
However, through all of this, I can now see (over here, on the other side) that I truly never had a clue. I had no idea how much time went into one grant application. I had no clue as to how much work went into one fundraiser. I had no grid for the fact that fundraising and grant writing is truly more work than the home study and dossier put together. People, you’ve been holding out on me! Remember, we’re in a truth nest now. Share!
But lots of us do it. Why? Because $32,000 is an outrageous sum of money. Because there is no reason that you should spend the good bulk of your annual salary to adopt a child. Because after the actual adoption fees you have an entire lifetime of paying to raise this child. Because many are adopting special needs children these days, and while it’s great that you’ll not be denied health insurance coverage now, your monthly premiums are outrageous. Because you are going to need to pay for “non-medically necessary” surgeries, tutoring, therapy (emotional, occupational, physical). Because you never want to be in a position that you tell your child who you recently adopted that she can’t live her dream of taking ballet classes because you blew your nest egg on paying for the adoption, which brought her here in the first place, which is the only reason she can even conceive of taking ballet class, which you can’t afford, because you used all your nest egg to pay for the adoption.
So you pony up and Frugal Frannie it and get creative about making dinner with things you pull out of the freezer.
But, you also shouldn’t put yourselves into a position that you haven’t turned the furnace on because you’re afraid it isn’t going to come on because it’s 18 years old and if it doesn’t come on you’re going to have to spend some of your adoption savings on a new furnace. So you put your hoodies on and throw an extra blanket on and look ahead at the weather report to see how long you can do this.
Adopting parents should not have to live this way.
So what do you do? You apply for grants and pray. And you turn to your friends and family members for their contributions and help. And you are so grateful for their prayers, donations, and love. And they rejoice with you as you walk this journey. And they are all part of the child’s story now. And they love it. And you are grateful and rejoice with them right back.
And yes, there is a big part of you that feels bad for asking. Asking for money isn’t comfortable for most people. But you have to remember that many people are just looking for a cause to contribute to, one for which they really believe in and can get behind. And perhaps that’s your adoption, but if you never asked, you would never know how much they wanted to be involved. And at the end of the day you have the financial blessings, and they have the blessing of knowing that they helped a good cause that they truly believe in. And everyone leaves with warm fuzzies.
But, my friends, I must warn you. Your reception will not always be warm. And this cool reception will come in the midst of 99 warm receptions. And that cool reception can have the power to sadly overshadow all the warm ones. Please don’t let it get you down! Relent and come back even more positive than before.
For Brian that one cool reception was through an email that came last week. He had sent an email notifying people of an adoption fundraiser. Some of those people chose to share it with others and broaden the net of people we were reaching out to. Dozens of positive emails came back. We were added to a ton of prayer group lists and received a lot of incredibly sweet email responses. Many blessings, prayers, poems, and love were shared. But one person did not take kindly to the email forwarded to him. And the email went just like this.
“You should be ashamed. Pay your own expenses. We adopted 2 children and never asked anyone for money. Don't be a cheap###.” (expletive deleted).
Brian was downtrodden and upset. We don’t know this person. That’s just unkind and quite uncalled for. And, to be honest, totally untrue. It is not being cheap to ask people for donations for an adoption. It’s not being cheap to encourage people to bring a meal after you get out of the hospital after birthing your newborn. It’s not cheap to have a wedding or baby shower. It’s not being cheap to ask for some gift cards for gas or tooth paste if your 3-year-old gets leukemia and you have to take crazy time off work to stay with him in the hospital. That’s just called compassion and kindness.
I have had this man on my heart this past week since we got the email. To this man, I say, I’m so glad you have been blessed by amazing financial resources. I’m so glad you are great managing your money. And what I’m most glad about is that your family has been richly blessed by two children through adoption. I hope those kids will grow up with a dad who teaches them compassionate giving. I hope they will grow up knowing what it is to give to those in need, whether that’s through service work or financial contributions. And I hope, for your sake, that you never get into a position where you are humbled in having to ask for some help. You might not bounce back from that!
We’ve learned a lot of lessons through this. And we’re going to keep learning. And to you folks who are in the grant writing and fundraising process, bless your hearts! Keep up the great work, and remember it’s all going to be good in the end. Just think about this as the first of many times that you are going to have to advocate for your family and hang on.
Parenting is a bumpy ride. Ask anyone. Well, maybe don’t ask email guy. But anyone else should do.