Sorry this has been so long coming. I underestimate life with three children in the middle of summer. But here is Part 2: Money
One of the first thing people always asked us when we were in the process of adopting was “So, how much is this going to cost you?” Two years ago when we were in research mode, money was the first thing we looked at on any given countries criteria. To say money isn’t important would be a lie. Money does not grow on trees and babies don’t just fall out of the sky into your arms. When it comes to adoption- domestic or international, babies cost a lot. If anyone tells you otherwise, don’t believe them. In the long run most people end up spending $20,000-$40,000 dollars. Your stomach just flipped, didn’t it? So did mine. Most people see those numbers and that’s it. The off-switch flips in some corner of their mind and life moves on.
Living in Alaska I am surrounded by mountains on all sides. I can leave my home and within ten minutes be hiking in what looks like it came straight out of National Geographic. If you stand at ground zero of a mountain, as I have countless times, you can’t even see the mountain. You just see a wall. A brick rising out of the ground with no visible end in sight.
There are two kinds of people: ones who do and ones who don’t. One man will stand with his toes touching the wall, look at the overgrown face of mountain and tremble. He will decide before he ever laces his shoes that he will never see the other side. He is much too small, the mountain much too treacherous. Another man will stand in front of the same scene and he will also feel fear. But he will, with trembling hands, knot his shoes securely and begin to climb with one question in his heart: what if?
What if the person who instantly writes off adoption with the monetary cost would pause? What options might open if he realized that there are more ways to pass a mountain than bulldozing through it? What if he decided to roll up his sleeves and give it his best shot? What if he became creative and dogged in his pursuit to find alternate routes to the same destination? What if he did it, found his destination? And what if one day that destination looked back at him with deep brown eyes that seemed to say, “I knew you’d come?”
Have you ever noticed that the most treasured pieces of your life are the ones that have cost you the most, be it money, time, or effort? What relationship, what love, what joy has ever flooded your soul without first costing you something that was hard to give?
John Maxwell once said that “A person’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” When I was in Rwanda I learned that the majority of families who adopt are not the rich, upper-income-class that the world perceives them to be. The people who adopt are middle income, average people. The people who adopt are the people who want to. Do you want to adopt? Then feel the fear, and do it anyway. Thousands of us have.
When you start searching for answers with an expectant heart you will find a wealth of information and help available to you including hundreds of grants, programs and financial aid. You will find that our government offers a tax credit/refund of over $13,000 for those who adopt. You will find an amazing world-wide support system through blogs, forums and chat groups where you learn and grow with hundreds of people in the exact position you are.
When we started adopting we did not have the funds we needed. But we had faith and fundraisers. For our first fundraiser we raffled off a weekend stay at a ski-lodge. I knocked on hundreds of stranger’s doors and sold tickets. To say I was intimidated would be a serious understatement. But I did it, met many adoptive families behind open doors and made our first $3,000. Our next fundraiser completely bombed. We actually didn’t even finish it. We were discouraged, but figured it was time to re-route, not give up. Wayne worked really hard in the coming months, bringing in additional funds that we could contribute toward the adoption. Our last fundraiser was a garage sale. We asked for donations on Face-book and Craigslist and advertised it everywhere. We made $4,000. Arnold Bennett once said, “Much ingenuity with a little money is vastly more profitable and amusing than much money without ingenuity.” I know countless other families who have raised thousands upon thousands of dollars because they wanted something so they got creative and made a way.
People, you can do it. It’s absolutely possible. Research. Ask questions. Brainstorm. Call me or another adoptive family for encouragement. Look at that mountain and just start climbing. Move. The higher you climb the more you’ll see. And never forget for even a moment that your Father, the one who loves and sees the children no one else does, owns every dollar in the world. So if your money isn’t really even yours, what do you have to lose?
Here's a small glimpse of my destination looking back at me:
9 months ago