By Guest Blogger, “Sam”
Sam’s daughter, Allison Paige, came into this world on April 22, 2011 at 37 weeks and 1 day. She most likely died as a result of a cord accident. It’s impossible to know for sure. Sam and her husband loved her from the start and miss her every single day. Sam writes to honor and remember her. They have chosen to grow their family through adoption now and can’t wait to one day bring home her brother or sister.”
One of the scariest parts about the adoption process is the cost. My husband and I had already spent a lot of money on fertility treatments and the idea of spending more money for adoption was very daunting. We decided to reach out to our friends and family and see if they had the means to help. We realized that a few dollars here and a few dollars there had the potential to add up. And we were right.
The first thing I did was look for a website that we could use to raise donations online. I found one called http://www.youcaring.com/ that worked very well for us. The site itself is free and easy to manage. They accept all major credit cards, I believe, and you can link your own PayPal account to your site. PayPal does take a percentage, but it’s not that much and since the site is free, we were ok with it. I was able to tell our story on our You Caring page and display pictures and updates and our donors could write us messages of support and encouragement. I could then share that link on Facebook and a variety of other social media sites if I wanted to spread the word that way.
Next I decided to look for a venue as I thought an event would really help bring in the most about of money. I went to the local fire hall and talked to their Events Coordinator. Since we were having a fundraiser, we were able to book the space for less than half of the price that it normally goes for. I found that once people knew why we were having an event, most were sympatric and helped out where they could.
I went to a local restaurant that my husband and I both like and asked about their catering menu. It turned out that the owner was very familiar with adoption as that was how he grew his family 8 years ago! He pretty much made the food at cost for us, plus came over, set it up and was super helpful!
We went to Costco and purchased cups, plates, napkins, paper towels and trash bags in bulk. We went to Party City and got table cloths. We went to the local Dollar Tree for bowls for each table that we later put candy in and anything miscellaneous that we needed (tape, streamers, etc.).
One friend offered to get the beer for us. A family member paid for the wine. We went to a local grocery store for water, soda and balloons.
Many people asked how they could help so I asked them to make baskets that we could raffle off. We bought raffle tickets on www.amazon.com and used them for a 50/50 and also for the donations. We had family and friends walk around and sell tickets and we had about 30 baskets set up on one side of the room for people to check out and bid on. We held a Chinese auction which is basically where you buy as many tickets as you want and put them in the container in front of the item that you want. The more you want it, the more tickets you buy for it. When the time is up, a neutral person picks a ticket for each basket. We had baskets that ranged from sports themed (our event was right before the Super Bowl) to movie gift cards, certificates good for ski lifts, house painting, hair salon services, children’s baskets of toys and books, Girl Scout Cookies, Thirty-one merchandise, handmade jewelry, yoga mats & water bottles and so much more!!
We offered Desserts for Sale and asked some people to bake their favorite goodies and bring them. That was a huge hit, too. Make the desserts in individual portions so your guests can buy them and take them home.
The event was from 12-4. We got there around 10 and started setting up. A former coworker of mine donated her DJ services which was a really great perk as it was way better than an iPod and we could use her microphone to make announcements throughout the day.
We had support from the start. Adoption is a cause that everyone believes in! Who doesn’t like the idea of helping a friend/family member/coworker/neighbor grow their family? Let people help! You can’t do it alone! We had support setting up. We had support breaking everything down. We had so many donations and gifts.
We had an agenda that we tried to abide by…welcome announcement at this time, 50/50 raffle at that time. It was nice to have some structure to the day. We said thank you over and over and meant it every time! Ask a friend to be in charge of the camera so that you can get shots of everyone that is there.
At the end of the day, we estimated about 104 people. We made enough money via the website and the event to really help defray the adoption costs. We also had a great day that many will remember for a long time to come. People came from all over to spend the day and lend their support in every way that they could. We got donations from people that knew only of us, but wanted to help. It was amazing and we will never forget it. I am so glad we decided to raise money and in the end, would up raising our hopes and spirits, too. It was a lot of work, but it all paid off! What a day!