I received, on average, 18.752 adoption related emails per week from this blog in 2015. Yes, I crunched the numbers. The vast majority of them had to do with two topics that are rather ironically at odds. 1. What is my advice on fundraising in adoption? and 2. When will I feel like I have enough children?
My answer to these two questions has changed over time. To the first one I always said, “we don’t fundraise.” I hate the scrutiny it brought about and, dang it, if we were going to adopt this many kids, we were going to pay for it ourselves. Just like everything else in my life has changed over time, my stance on this has too. We adopted three medically fragile kids in four years. Our fourth child in those four years is healthy, but has a visible difference. I crunched a couple other numbers tonight. Since 2012, when we adopted Tess, then Bowen, then Cate, and now Gigi, we have spent…wait for it…$96,342.00 bringing home our kids from China.
Yes, you read that correctly.
When you read that number, maybe your stance on fundraising in adoption will change too. We have personal lines we don’t cross, and they’ve cost us. We don’t apply for grants with organizations whose faith or mission statements don’t align with our personal beliefs. In other words, if you’re a religious organization that targets a certain group for hate, be it gay couples, woman who have had abortions in their past, or refugees, I won’t work with you. I won’t work with anyone who “commands” anyone else to “save the orphans” either. I can’t. And it has cost us financially.
It sounds ridiculous to say it, but I won’t take the money. I won’t fill out the applications. I tried. I downloaded them all. In the end though, I won’t sign my name to anything that promotes that sort of agenda. As such, we’ve never received any grant money.
I would rather activate plan b. At first, plan b was our savings accounts, our retirement funds, and second jobs for each of us. Finally, by the last half of Cate’s adoption, plan b became our credit card. Of that disgustingly large number written in bold font above, $21,000 of it is sitting on our credit card. We will pay it down slowly. We are not destitute. It will be okay.
But, that leads me to the answer to the number two most popular question I receive via this blog. This tells me we have enough children. If we kept racking up more debt to bring home more children, that would cross a line we, personally, aren’t comfortable crossing. We’re maxed out. We’re also right where we need to be with our kids too. Gigi has developmental and medical needs that we will spend the foreseeable future addressing. The distant foreseeable future. Joe is emotionally maxed out. He also worries more than I do about the financial piece of our lives. I’m sure I have given him a mini-stroke by totaling that number for him. Sorry, Joe.
I didn’t realize there could be a plan c. Turns out, you all did though. Several of you who read this blog got together over this holiday season and helped us relieve some of the inevitable soul crushing debt that came with plan b. You helped us bring Cam to China with me, which, had he not come, oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine. You let us mow your lawn, babysit your dogs, you pledged money to the boys so they could do chores for people who couldn’t do them for themselves.
Total money given to us to help support our family $4, 773.48.
$2,750 came from a fundraiser you all probably donated to, that was organized by someone who has never even met me in person. Someone who saw a comment I made on a random Facebook post. Someone who nearly lost her own home in Hurricane Sandy, yet still took an enormous amount of time to organize this for us.
The first number in this post may seem huge. The total of credit card debt we have to grapple with may seem huge. Tonight, when I told all my kids how much money other people’s selflessness had raised to benefit us, they cheered. The last number in this post is priceless. My kids’ minds were absolutely blown at your generosity. Not for Gigi. For us. You did it for Joe and I, because we are SO lucky to have her, and you all know that. You’ve taken away a tremendous amount of worry for Joe and I. Thank you.
We still have a long way to go. Earmuffs, Joe. It is my estimate that we won’t be clear of adoption debt for nearly four years, or, just in time for Ally to leave for college. This is the life we lead, one that we are so proud of. We’ll make it through. We did it in a way we are proud of, while sticking to our principles, and with all of you supporting us the entire way through.
–FullPlateMom, who can’t thank you enough.