Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Way I See It: Fundraising for Adoption

Not that I really think I have a readership waiting with baited breath to see what I think about controversial things, but I have several things on my mind and I keep writing posts in my head, so I might as well write them down. I will title the series, "The Way I See It." Because that's what this is, and I recognize it. It's purely my opinion and no matter how vehemently I profess my opinion, it is still only opinion. I know for a fact that many people disagree with me. They've told me so. They didn't necessarily know they were disagreeing with me. Some of my words might have given them the impression that I agreed. Partly because I am not eloquent with my voice. Partly because I agree on principle, or in general. But, I think better through my fingers where use of a delete button can clear up most misunderstandings before they becomes an issue.

So, without further ado: The way I see it. Why fundraising for adoption makes sense (for some and not necessarily for others).

I've been asked as an adoptive parent whether I think people ought to raise money in order to adopt. Well, my answer, typically, is, "You didn't ask me to pay for your epidural." But that answer is simple in a complicated world. First, I started saying that after I adopted an infant. A healthy infant. A newborn. Because I wanted a baby.  While that baby was technically "special needs" because the world is ignorant, he was still my method, per se, to grow my family. For purely selfish reasons.

(People in my past have painted me a saint in regard to this and it's all bumfoodled in my mind so sometimes I believe the self-sacrificing saintly reflection, but most of the time I have to accept that while I have some pretty decent qualities, our first adoption was primarily selfish. But enough about that.)

With this second adoption, I'm riding the fence somewhere between selfish and serving. Am I growing my family for me? I suppose when God places a desire so strongly in your heart, it grows difficult to discern between what you are doing for others and what you are doing for yourself. I can't NOT adopt Iris. I reached a point in which I could no longer sleep knowing she was in the world without a mama, without being in our family. That's it. I leave it up to others at this point to decide whether they would like to help us bring her home. What God places within their hearts is between them and God. I've thought about selling coffee (there's a group that donates $5 per bag sold to your adoption). I've thought about applying for grants. But grants would force me to fund raise. You only get as much money from them as you get from others. It's matching and yes, it would make a huge dent in our bill. Yes, I've even considered leaning heavily on my very popular bloggy friends to see if they would help. But God hasn't released me to do that yet. Not sure why. And I'm OK with that. With whatever. God has this one and I have to trust he knows what's what. Even when air conditioners and garage doors break and tax bills come due.

My point in all that is that this ISN'T a self-serving post on why people should be able to fund raise. This isn't a post based on my appeal for your help for my adoption. That may some day come. This is merely my thoughts on fundraising in general and will not be followed by a passing of the plate.

Here's the thing. There are people in this world who feel passionately about helping with the orphan crisis. Some people feel passionately that they must adopt. Some people feel passionately that they can't, but they can help someone else do it. Some people feel passionately about clean water in India. Some people feel passionately that they should go out to eat Indian food tonight and they can't do that if they contribute to someone's adoption or water fund. I get it.

But there are people out there who have money to help someone else adopt their children and want to use their money for that purpose. When people are having their fundraisers, THOSE are the people they are trying to reach. Yes, they hope that their appeal will reach you, every one of you, because that will help them reach their goal, but what they really want is for you to WANT to help their child.  No one is trying to make you feel guilty. (Well, someone might be, but I believe that most of the people I've seen fund raise aren't trying to play the guilt card. If I had to guess, I'd say that you feel guilty for a reason that only you know. Some call that the Holy Spirit. I've felt that "guilt," so I know of which I speak.)

Most people who fund raise aren't adopting a healthy American newborn whom they get at birth and matches them. Most people who fund raise are adopting a child who has been rejected by society. They have no one left to help them. They are dependent upon the compassion of others to reach adulthood. These children come with baggage, attachment disorders, several siblings, birth defects, scars, malnutrition, and/or emotional stuff that no one without a passion for these children would want to deal with. (I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that those children will be referred to as a gift, a blessing, the best thing that happened, well worth the pain, etc. by their future families.)

Yes, there comes a point when you have to troll some other depths. There are only so many times a single small group wants to purchase your t-shirt or come to your yard sale to buy some piece of junk in support of your decision. Fund raisers have to be creative or have creative friends. And yes, I also know that when you are in the small group, or same small town, or read the same blog weekly, or whatever, it feels like you've given out. You might grow frustrated. You might take it personally when they wonder aloud why No One Seems To Get It and Why Aren't People Giving More. Give 'em a break. They are passionately in love with their child and like the parent of the squashy, rat-like newborn who looks like grandpa did right after he had the flu, they don't understand why others don't think their child is the most perfect ever. It's a mommy thing. Think of it as her ninth month, the one pregnant women get grace for when being a bitch because her cankles are the size of your thigh and she can't even fit into her flip flops. That fund raising mama is having a down day. She isn't attacking YOU. She's frustrated that she hasn't found that annonymous donor who is going to tip her thermometer into a new bracket. If you've given all you can or want to give your friend, be done with it and let her cry. Or have a garage sale and donate the proceeds to her. Or sit with her at her garage sale. Or pray that her anonymous donor will find her soon so you can stop listening to her whine. Or invest in caller ID. (Though I don't recommend this as a friendship promoter.)

So, those're my thoughts on fundraising. Take a look at the family adopting. Take a look at the kiddo they are bringing home. Is it a kiddo that you would easily welcome into your family? (First, if it is, why aren't YOU adopting? And if you are, good for you!) Or better said, is it a kiddo you think the average person would easily add into their family? If (s)he is and you don't feel compelled to contribute, don't. If (s)he isn't, well, think about why you don't want to help. Talk to God about it. Still not compelled? OK.

One Hundred Forty-Seven Million Orphans.


Someone has to do something about it. There are lots of people willing to do something about it by bringing those orphans home. They just need a little help. Someone has done the math and figured out that if 7% of professing Christians would adopt one orphan, the problem would no longer exist. There would be no more orphans. And if you are one of the 93% who isn't called to that do you have a few bucks or a prayer for those who are? At least be a sympathetic, supportive shoulder for them to lean on.

It's a child.

For those of us adopting, it's OUR child. But even so, it's a CHILD. This isn't someone who made a poor choice. This is a victim of a poor choice. And that child needs help.

Sometimes we can't give financially. But often we can. And we don't. I think, in part, due to pride. It's MY money and it's YOUR choice to do this, HOW is this MY problem?

Been there, thought it.

So, I say again, talk to God about it. I am convinced that some of us don't hear what we don't want to hear, but that is my opinion. The rest is between the giver and God (the Giver of ALL GOOD THINGS).

Think about it: if 7% of Christians can take in all 147 Million orphans, 93% at even a buck apiece is a stinkin' lotta cash. And that's leaving out all the non-professing Christians. At which point I can't necessarily appeal to your belief in God, but your humanity. Which, frankly, should work, too.

And that's all I have to say about that...

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