As I mentioned before, we have been talking about adopting since before we were married. I have a cousin who was adopted. My husband has an adopted sister. That sister was raped in high school and gave up the resulting little girl for adoption. We have several good friends who are adopted or have adopted. We really assumed that we would be have adopted by now. However, here we are 19 years into our marriage with 5 children, none of whom are adopted. The hindrance for us? Money. How could we even consider adoption when it costs SO much money! And I've found that as I've talked to family after family in our Church family about whether they have an interest in being part of the orphan ministry that I'm in the planning stages of, most of them have said, "Yes, we always wanted to adopt, but we didn't think we could afford it."
Well, this just drives me crazy. It is simply not acceptable to me that a whole church full of people otherwise open to reflecting God's heart for adoption have spurned it because of money. So the greater part of my focus has been finding out how to overcome that obstacle. Here is a list of my discoveries for how to conquer that.
Foster Adopt: Did you know that it costs NOTHING to adopt out of the foster care system, except for a $250 processing fee which is later refunded to you? Seriously.
For all other adoptions:
Loans: This is my least favorite option, but honestly, people get bigger loans for depreciating vehicles than they are willing to borrow to rescue a child from fatherlessness. I think that a temporary loan while you wait for the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that I am about to mention to be refunded to you is a small risk when we're talking about children's lives.
Federal Adoption Tax Credit: This is great news! The Federal Adoption Credit is now fully refundable in one fell swoop for adoptions expenses before the end of 2012! The current amount of the refund is up to $13,170.00. This article does a great job of explaining how it works, although at the time of writing it, the credit had only been extended to the end of 2011. It's a good place to start, though.
Grants: There are many, many organizations to whom you can apply for small grants of $2000-$3000, which may not seem like much in isolation compared to the $20-35k that adoption can cost, but getting a few such grants can make some real progress! See Show Hope as an example of these. This is also how most Church Adoption Funds work. Often, these will be in the form of a matching fund, matching dollar for dollar the money that you raise from friends and family. That can really make things add up fast.
Sales: There are several applications to this category. You could just start selling things around the house in a garage sale, and use the proceeds for your adoption. You could recruit all of your family and friends to donate their 'stuff' for you to sell at a giant garage sale for the purpose. But a new twist of selling things is selling new things. Just Love Coffee and Shades of Us are organizations that allow you to sell their products and use the proceeds for your adoption fund. With Just Love Coffee, you can even set up your own website with them and people can choose individual pounds of coffee, or long-term coffee subscriptions and a monthly check will be sent to you with the money you've raised. (As many coffee addicts as we know, this could be our best chance at this) Shades of Us has some absolutely beautiful products that you can purchase and resell for your adoption fund.
Event Fundraising: This can range from putting on a play, to hosting an adoption banquet (silent auction and all), to handing out baby bottles for people to fill with change. Creativity is key to this option, and can be a lot of fun to pull together. A lot of people would be more than happy to donate things they make to be auctioned off, or volunteer their time to pull together a fun play (think "Anne of Green Gables" or some other play about an orphan or an orphanage).
Other fun ideas: One idea I saw around the blogosphere was a puzzle piece drive. The family picked a puzzle and people sponsored a piece for $5 each. The sponsor's name would be written on the back. When the puzzle is complete, the family will glue it together and hang it in their adopted baby's bedroom as a testimony to all the people who had a part in their adoption. I am sure there are a hundred variations on this idea that could be used.
But aside from all of these ideas, there is one that is far more compelling and vital: PRAYER. Our God is Father to the fatherless, and has written adoption into the greater gospel story. He has commanded us to care for the fatherless and He WILL provide for his children to obey Him. I am convinced that money should not be an issue. He is our Jehovah Jireh. He will provide.
I hope that this gives you lots of ideas for your own adoption journey. I know our family is excited about using all of this great information to bring more children into our family.