Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Adoption Fundraising Info, Ideas, Tips & Encouragement

My husband & I had only been married for 2 years when we started the adoption process for the first time in 2014.
Our hearts felt strongly that domestic infant adoption was the right avenue for our family, but we had minimal savings & were overwhelmed by the cost. 

After researching & talking to other adoptive families, we learned that our concern was common & that many couples overcome the financial obstacles in adoption by fundraising. The more we looked into adoption fundraising, the more encouraged we became. We also learned there are adoption grants & interest free loans that adoptive families can apply for! After doing significant fundraising for our first adoption & some for our second, we learned a lot.

I wanted to share with y'all some adoption fundraising ideas + tips for success: 
My #1 fundraising tip is to be open about your story, explain some of the costs associated with adoption, share plenty of updates throughout your journey & offer many ways for people to get involved through giving, sharing & praying. 

Puzzle Fundraiser (or Sticky Note Fundraiser): These are two awesome options for donation-based fundraisers. They are both able to bring in a significant amount of funds with very minimal work. 
We did the Puzzle Fundraiser & accepted donations through PayPal (YouCaring & GoFundMe are other options for accepting donations). Click here for more info on the puzzle fundraiser we did for our daughter's adoption. Google for further explanation & to find examples of these fundraisers.

Tip: It's really great to have either a GoFundMe/YouCaring account set up, even if you don't plan on doing any donation-based fundraising. When you begin to share about your adoption journey, people will probably ask how they can give directly to your adoption fund! If you do set up a fundraising account with one of these sites, be sure to present your story + goals clearly & passionately. Make a video telling your story, include great pictures & express your heart in writing as eloquently & honestly as possible. The more people understand your heart & feel connected to your story, the more they will want to be involved!

Design & Sell T-Shirts: I highly recommend using Bonfire: https://www.bonfire.com
Bonfire allows you to design & sell your t-shirts with no upfront cost to you. After creating your t-shirt & setting a fundraising goal, your job is to promote your t-shirt fund on social media. Once your fund reaches its goal, Bonfire does the hard work by handling all the printing & shipping for you. Super easy & really fun!
Tip: Design a t-shirt that's meaningful to your journey but also cool enough for people to actually want to wear. When choosing the design, colors & font, be sure to choose options that appeal to a broad audience!  

The t-shirt we designed for our first adoption was simple, cute & had a special meaning behind it: 

Social Media Auction: Adoption auctions are popular right now, especially on Instagram. Start gathering items by reaching out to as many Etsy shops, businesses & crafters as possible. Ask if they would donate an item or two to your auction.
Tip: Be sure to set the starting bid on items low enough so that even after a few bids are placed, people will still be getting a deal! The key to auction success is having great items, promoting your auction well & having enough people following along & bidding. Early November is a great time to host a social media auction because it's National Adoption month and you can encourage Christmas shopping, but any time of year works! :) Just be sure you give yourself about a month & a half or so to prepare. Auctions are hard work, but can be really successful & totally worth the work!

Additional Fundraising Ideas:

  • Open an Etsy shop to sell your crafts: jewelry, accessories, art, handmade products, etc. 
  • Closet Sale: clean out your closet & sell or auction off your stylish & gently used clothes, shoes & jewelry
  • Painting Party: have a friend host a fundraising painting party for you. Charge a fee for supplies + a little extra. Additional donations are encouraged! Fun way to have a girls night & bring in funds at the same time.
  • Have a friend host a Scentsy, Stella in Dot or Noonday fundraiser for you. All you will needed to do is promote the fundraiser & you will receive a portion of the sales. 
  • Rooted Ink Journals, Sermon Notebooks & Prints. Rooted Ink will sell their super cute products to adopting families in bulk at a discounted rate so we can turn around & sell them for adoption fundraising 
  • Pancake breakfast, bake sale or other fundraiser through your church or community 
  • Garage Sale

More fundraising resources:
Adoption grants:
Gift of Adoption Fund
Show Hope
Lifesong for Orphans
The Abba Fund
Hand in Hand Adoptions

Adoption Fundraising Book: 
Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption by Julie Gumm

Get creative! 
Think about ways to use your natural talents & gifting to bring in funds. Google adoption grants, loans & adoption fundraisers & talk to other adoptive families to see what worked for them. 
Don't shy away from doing the work & making sacrifices! 
We cleaned a few houses, sold some of our clothing & furniture, stopped eating out & cut out extra expenses, etc to help bring in some extra cash while we were fundraising. 
More ideas: Pick up a side job, mow lawns, sell some of your belongings, baby sit, drive for Uber. Fundraising is a hustle but is so worth the work! 

It's really important to keep your fundraising journey positive & full of gratitude. Some fundraisers will do better than others. If a fundraiser tanks, don't get discouraged! Learn from it, regroup & try something else. Regardless of success, it's super important to be sure every person who does participate knows how much their support means to you! 

The financial aspect of adoption is intimidating, but my advice to you is if you feel like God has put this particular avenue of adoption on your heart, it is for a reason & purpose! Do not let the cost discourage you from moving forward. You'll probably have to get creative, put yourself out there, work hard & make many sacrifices to bring in the funds, but as any family blessed by adoption will tell 
you…it is SO beyond worth it!
I hope this post gave you ideas & insight into adoption fundraising! Be encouraged that God will provide for you as you take this exciting step of adding to your family through adoption. 

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, "If the cause is worthy, the cost is irrelevant." 
What cause could be more worthy than seeing children welcomed into loving forever families?!

Best of luck! 

With love, 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Happy 2nd Birthday Isabel Grace!

Our precious Izzy is 2 years old...cue the tears! 
I can remember every moment about the day she was born like it was yesterday. 

Being Isabel's momma these past two years has been an absolute joy & our greatest honor! I can't believe how fast time with our girl has flown, especially this past year. 

This year Isabel: 
~Learned to walk, run, climb, dance & jump! 
~Became a big sister to Noah Griffin...she handled the transition so well & has become an incredible sister. Izzy & Noah are besties & love each other so much! 
~Flew on an airplane for the first time.
~Played in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico & spent a lot of time in Sassy's swimming pool...she loves the water! 
~Learned to pray...cutest "Amen" ever. :)
~Took a road trip to visit her birth family for the first time since she was born...such a special visit for us all! 
~Developed a love for books...I love to watch her read book after book every day.  
~Learned tons of new words, songs & conquered many milestones 
~Continued to melt our hearts, make us laugh, amaze us with the depth of her sweetness & bring immeasurable joy to our family on a daily basis! 

Isabel Grace, you are so loved & cherished! 
You have the most tender, generous & loving heart. Daddy & I are honored to be your parents & are so excited to see you continue to grow, learn & shine this next year! 
Happy Birthday sweet girl. 

Today as we celebrate our daughter's birthday we also carry her birth mom in our hearts & prayers. 
Thank you to each & every person who helped us bring Izzy home, prayed for us, celebrated her arrival & who have loved her from near & far these past 2 years.

With love,

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pregnant & Considering Adoption?

Our precious babies are 2 years old & 10 months old! Even though life with two littles so close in age is busy, the desire of our hearts is to continue to grow our family. We've been praying, researching & talking about what's next for us for the past few months...but more about all of that soon(ish)! 
God put it on my heart to share that even though we aren't actively pursuing another domestic infant adoption right now, that we will always be open to it! So with that said, if you or someone you know is pregnant & considering adoption, feel free to reach out to us or pass along our information. Our hearts & our home will always be open to more babies, however they may come to us! 
We also know lots of other couples who would love to expand their family through adoption as well as amazing adoption professionals who would be happy to answer your questions about adoption. Just felt led to share… You never know what might come of a simple social media post!
Our info: 
Phone #: 225-324-1662 

With love,
The Koch Family