June 10th, 2009
Posted By:
Categories: Money and Finances

All this week, here and on the Hoping to Adopt blog, I’ve been writing about affording adoption. I’ve discussed grants, loans, and saving techniques. I’ve purposefully avoided one big question, which I tackle today:

Can we ask our friends and family to contribute to our adoption fund?

My feelings on this subject are divided. Every year, I get at least a dozen requests to sponsor friends and family members for various causes. The Avon Breast Cancer Walk, Relay for Life, AIDS LifeCycle Ride, and so on. I get the Girl Scout cookies and the children with the catalogs full of candy and wrapping paper. And the coupon books! Oh, do people try to sell me coupon books!


So, if other people ask me to contribute to causes near and dear to their hearts, why can’t I ask them to contribute to a cause that is near and dear to mine? OK, that cause isn’t a non-profit or a school, but my family. Still, for awhile, this made complete sense to me. I even started composing a fundraising letter in my head. But as I did so, I became less comfortable with this idea.

What’s the difference between asking people to sponsor me in something and asking for donations for my adoption fund? First, there’s the purely practical matter that the former is a tax-deductible contribution for the giver; the latter is not. Second, there’s the fact that the money isn’t going to a non-profit, but is essentially going into my pocket.

Then there are the moral dilemmas. People are dying from cancer, and I want to divert other people’s money into my family? Is asking for donations a novel idea, or is it cheeky? Or worse, tacky?

In my imaginary letter, I wrote something like “Instead of buying us Christmas or birthday presents, we could really use donations to our adoption fund.” It is true that the one thing Jack wants (aside from every train in the Thomas the Tank Engine Universe) is a baby sister. (A real baby, he says.)

I know that you can set up fundraising blogs. A woman from an online support group I frequent posted a link to hers. It was set up to take micropayments. People could donate as little as $1. A number of other members were up in arms over this. They argued that all of us were trying to save for adoptions, why would we help pay for hers? The woman replied that she thought we would understand. I think she left the group.

There are other ways to use the Internet to raise funds:

  • Firstgiving.com is an organization that enables donors to pay your agency. Somehow, this might be a tax-deductible donation, depending on how it’s set up.
  • Gotcha Gift Registry enables you to register for adoption expenses, such as plane tickets and hotel stays. This service costs $150. (I wonder if you can register for the cost of setting up the registry.)
  • MyRegistry.com enables you to register for just about anything, including cash gifts. So, you can ask for donations for your adoption fund.

I would love to know how you feel about this! Is asking for donations for an adoption acceptable? What would you do if someone approached you for such a donation? I really don’t know.

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5 Responses to “Adoption Fundraising With Friends and Family”

  1. Mandy W says:

    We were not comfortable with asking for donations for our adoption. I do think that church sponsored donations or adoption grants funds are acceptable though. I don’t see my kids as “charity”, we wanted to parent, not save the world.

    Funnily enough, we did fundraise for our first job out of college. We worked for a Christian non-profit agency and raised money to live and work there for 15 months.

    Fundraising can be very stressful, and people treat you differently, and sometimes have an attitude of expectation. I would not want this to affect my parenting at all.

    To be blunt about it, our reproduction or how we build our families are our decsions. Can we really expect people to finance this?

  2. courtneyj says:

    My husband and I are adopting from China again, this time through the special needs program, and have just launched a fundraising campaign aimed at raising $5000 for our future child’s orphanage (which is a required portion of our adoption fee) over the next year.

    I couldn’t believe that in less than 2 weeks after launching our fundraising campaign, we raised over $1000 from generous family and friends!

    A few things that I’ve come to realize about fundraising for your adoption:

    1). I’ve discovered that family and friends genuinely want to be part of your adoption experience.
    2). Family and friends WANT to give. I usually buy baby gifts or cook meals for my friends when they have their first, second, third, etc. babies. I see no difference in friends and family giving toward my adoption in lieu of gifts.
    3). Adoption fees are expensive and, in most cases, adopting families must come up with the funds in a short amount of time. Many of us do not have these funds readily available especially if our adoption happens quickly.
    4). With many families now adopting from Special Needs programs, there are other medical costs involved once our babies are home. Allowing friends and family to give to our adoption, helps ease this additional financial burden.
    5). If some friends and family don’t want to give or can’t give, then they don’t have to give then that’s perfectly fine. However, you will be surprised by the number of people that do.

    All of this to say, I’ve seen first hand the generosity of friends and family when it comes to adoption. These wonderful people are now a part of our future child’s adoption story because they are helping to bring her home. For that, I’m forever grateful.

  3. courtneyj says:

    Adoptionvoices.com has a discussion group on “Adoption Fundraising”. You’ll find lots of great ideas for fundraising for your adoption.

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