I kind of hate it. As a kid, whenever I was given wrapping paper or candy bars or cookie dough to sell, my mom would just buy it all. Maybe she hates fundraising, too. In college I was in a sorority for one day (the girls were being mean, so I left); when I was given the option to return the next semester, the fact that I would have to spend a large amount of my time fundraising for the sorority was one of my major reasons for saying "thanks, but no thanks" to the ladies of *** for good. I partly decided not to go on a mission trip to India with a friend in 2009 because it would have required fundraising (sorry, Katie). Jon and I planned to pay out of pocket for our mission trip to Detroit in 2010 (but our team members raised enough to cover our expenses, as well). Are you picking up what I'm putting down? Hate it.
When I started staying up late at night, weeping over the orphans waiting in foreign orphanages and my burning desire to adopt them, the constant, nagging thought in the back of my mind was "but the fundraising..."
I have great insurance through my job, y'all. Trust me when I say it would be waaaay cheaper for us to have a baby than to adopt.
Fundraising is awkward. It's humbling. And, at times, it makes me feel helpless and a little pathetic. (I have new empathy for the poor suckas at NPR who have been running the longest membership drive ever for the past couple of weeks... they're coming uncomfortably close to begging now.)
It doesn't help that a lot of people outside of "the church" can be pretty judgmental of people who fundraise to cover their international adoption expenses. Jon and I don't see it as being much different than fundraising for a mission trip--we're raising money to change these kids' lives--but for some people, it is the same as asking for money to cover the cost of your bio kids' births. We get that a few of you might feel that way, and I'm sorry if we've offended you in any way. In our community (church family), if people need money--or anything--we all rally together to give it. When friends needed money last-minute for the purchase of their first home to go through, we rallied. When families have had unexpected crises or needs come up, we've rallied. It's how we do. Sometimes it really does take a village. Also, one of the arguments I've heard (on random blogs, not from anyone we know) is that if you can't afford the cost of your adoption, can you really afford to raise kids? My answer to this is: do you have to be able to write a check for $12k-$30k (depending on the country) at a moment's notice to be able to afford raising kids? When we get our referral phone call, we will have a few days to come up with approximately (my math skills are meh--it's why I write for a living--and Jon isn't home) $17,200 to be able to sign the papers to officially, legally agree to adopt the kids. If we are only referred one child (it may be just one, but that's another blog post) it will be about $12,000.
I try to live my life as openly and transparently as possible, and I'm an infamous over-sharer. I desire to know and be known, and I don't like for anyone to think badly of me (this may point to a people-pleasing problem, which is also another blog post). I worked at Barnes & Noble for a few months after Jon and I were first married. One night, at the end of my shift, $500 was missing from the register I had been working. Of course, that made me look super suspicious. I was so mortified and terrified of being falsely accused that I bought a cup of coffee and a cookie and parked myself in a chair, refusing to leave the store until that $500 had been found (hours later it was discovered that the manager had miscounted).
Seriously, y'all. I don't like being seen as shady, or like I'm trying to pull a fast one. Fundraising for our adoption has brought up my fear of being judged in a big way because, when you're fundraising, people tend to scrutinize how you're spending money. So, I feel the need to constantly explain how we're spending money... Jon recently got a new car. It's a lease (Dave Ramsey just threw up in his mouth), Jon convinced the dealership to match the monthly payment he'd been making on his truck, and we're saving over $100 a month in gas now. It's a financial win. But, we feel the need to constantly explain it to anyone who mentions the car, lest we be judged. (You have been warned: don't say "I like the new car" unless you're prepared to listen to a 10 minute speech.) I want to wear a post-it on my butt saying the Anthroplogie skirt I'm wearing was purchased with a gift card and that my mom bought me those boots. When we went to England last fall, and when we go this fall, it's only because I get ridiculously cheap standby tickets through my job. And, when we're there, we sleep either in a camper in my grandparents' back yard or in hostels if we're traveling around visiting other family members.
And, in case you're wondering, we have a separate bank account for our adoption, and I promise that every penny we raise through events, t-shirt sales, or donations goes directly into that account. We cover the costs of all of our fundraisers (our eat-in dinners, our t-shirts, etc.) out of our normal checking account, and we put everything we make into the adoption account. Also, we prefer to give something in return, so please--hire us to scrub your toilets (caroline), babysit your children (caroline & jon), or fix things around your house (jon).
We have a long road ahead of us (over a year of waiting and fundraising... gah), and I know I will have to make peace with my fear of/distaste for/hatred of fundraising. God is sweet to the meet the needs of our hearts. Yesterday evening I googled something and stumbled upon a few blogs proclaiming how tacky/evil/offensive it is to fundraise for your adoption. I was crushed. I walked away from the computer, checked the mail outside, and found this:
|a sweet note (and check) from a college friend I haven't seen in years|