Category Archives: International Adoption

How an NBC Sports Competition Allowed One Man to Find His Biological Family

American Ninja Warrior (ANW) is an athletic competition that is nothing short of entertaining and exhilarating. If you haven’t heard of it before, the show consists of intense, qualified athletes who compete through extremely difficult courses consisting of balance, agility, strength, and speed tests. While it may not sound too different from a regular obstacle course, only 2 contestants to date have completed the full course in every round and achieved “Total Victory”. To some contestants, the show may be just another adrenaline rush, an excuse to stay in pristine shape, or an extreme competition, but to competitor Dan Jager it turned out to be much more.

American Ninja Warrior has not only allowed Dan to express his immense level of fitness, but has also helped connect him with his birth family in South Korea. Dan was adopted at the age of 5 and was hiking mountains and snowboarding down the slopes by the time he was beginning elementary school. He started competing on American Ninja Warrior in 2015 to free some built-up adrenaline, but the further he advanced, the more widely known his name became. As Dan went on to compete in his second season of ANW, his adoptive parents, Ray and Cherie, received a letter from the agency revealing that Dan’s biological father, Young Il Kwon was interested in meeting with him. Dan soon received a Facebook request from, a woman named Jihye Kwon, who he later found out through messaging was his half-sister. Their conversations were difficult due to the language barrier, so their conversations mainly revolved around using Google Translate. Jihye informed Dan that their father had been searching for him for nearly 13 years! When the agency confirmed the 2 were his biological family, they began video chatting frequently. Dan revealed, “I couldn’t believe it. It’s one of those things where I know I’m adopted. As a kid, I wanted to find my biological dad. But I always wanted to wait until I was older, maybe in my later 20s. Old enough to handle and be at a maturity level to handle it. As I aged, I kind of lost interest. I just kind of let something go, and here it comes to find you.” Dan’s biological family had searched for him many times before, but it wasn’t until he advanced in the finals that his name became easier to find. Dan states that American Ninja Warrior, “projected me into a space that I could be more easily searched.”

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In October of 2016, Young Il and Jihye Kwon came all the way from South Korea to visit Dan in Colorado. As Dan picked them up from Denver International Airport, he saw his biological father for the first time, in person, in nearly 30 years. While meeting with his father, Dan revealed that, “He doesn’t understand like any English, so we had to use our phones for our entire trip, typing in stuff on Google Translate and showing the translated Korean on my phone, and they would do vice versa for English.” One night, Dan took both his biological family and his birth family out to dinner. Cherie, Dan’s adoptive mother, stated that they were very happy for Daniel and how she felt like, “That was the early part of his life, and he needed to have that.”

This experience was important for all members of the adoption triad. Dan emphasized this by revealing that, “It was a cool moment because my parents got to meet my (biological) dad. It was reassuring for him because they were good people, and I had a good life here.” The show allowed Dan the opportunity to be more widely known in the public and if it wasn’t for his success, Young Il may never have been able to connect with his son. American Ninja Warrior may just be an entertaining competition to most people, but for Dan Yager, it brought his entire family together in the best way possible.

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My Adoption Story: Alyssa

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Hello readers! I am excited to be one of the newest members of Adoptions From The Heart’s Marketing team. As AFTH’s Donor Development & Marketing Coordinator and an adoptee myself, I want to introduce a recurring blog segment called My Adoption Story.

My Adoption Story will reveal personal adoption stories from all spectrums of this unique reality. My goal in designing this interview-style segment is to offer a platform to the diversity of life stories created by the adoption experience. For our readers, I want to invite you into the incredible variations of family, life and love that adoption creates.

As our first story, I will share my own

A brief background:

In 1987, as a newborn infant, I was adopted from Bogota, Colombia by Jewish, American parents from Long Island, New York. My parents, Pat & Irv Brookstein had also adopted my brother Jesse four years before me from Bogota through the adoption agency FANA (Foundation for the Assistance of Abandoned Children).

I was born on March 21st 1987 severely underweight and suffering from bronchial pneumonia along with many other babies in the agency at the time. My mom told me every moment until arriving in Colombia that she suffered greatly from being unable to soothe and comfort me in my fragile state.

My adoption was closed and I departed from Bogota with a name and nationality that would soon be replaced. The Colombian, Adriana Gonzalez without a home or family soon became Alyssa Brookstein, a US American with two loving parents and an adoring older brother.

Do you have a memory of finding out you were adopted?

I have no memory of finding out. It has felt like I have always known. Apparently, my brother told me upon his own childhood impulse when I was a toddler. He broke the news to me during playtime. I took the news without a care and continued focusing on what was in front of me, my toys!

Why did your parents decide to adopt?

My parents chose to adopt after years of trying to get pregnant. My mom experienced multiple miscarriages culminating in a near death experience from an ectopic rupture. During her ectopic rupture, she died on the table and remembered having an out-of-body experience. She recalls floating above her body and wanting to go towards a light but a message was communicated to her that she had more work to do. Soon after this defining experience my mom decided to adopt.

While growing up did you ever struggle with your adoption or feeling like you belong?moonshooting.png

I never felt like I did not belong with my family because my mom constantly told my brother and I that she wanted children more than anything in life which reinforced the knowledge that we were dearly wanted, even wished for long before we were born.  As an adolescent, my family’s obstacles overshadowed my personal struggles so I kept my pain to myself and struggled inwardly. In retrospect, I can see that some of my struggles were related to adoption but I was so silent with my confusion that I would have had no idea how to communicate my inward struggle. So, the answer is yes, I struggled but so silently even I was unaware of the anguish.

As an adoptee, do you ever feel like something is missing in not knowing your birth-family?

I do have a faint recollection of what came before Alyssa Brookstein and with that, a faint curiosity. This question is difficult because my experience is like Plato’s allegory of the cave; my reality is such that I am so far removed from my Colombian reality that it is near impossible to imagine it. In addition, I have experienced boundless love from my mom & brother that never made me want for someone or something else. I also love the diversity adoption has blessed me with, I am a Colombian, American Jew! I am empowered by my adoption mystery because it adds immensely to my sense of self. I find peace in my personal unknown.

Do you want to search for your birth family?

I do not have a great need but a small curiosity which holds the potential to grow. I believe that everyone has numerous roots across the world that could lead to incredible self-discovery, I am no exception. Because I am Jewish, Israel is a motherland and I returned. Poland is a motherland because it is the land of my ancestors and I returned. Colombia is a motherland because it is the land of my blood and I will return. When I return, I plan to let my instinct lead the journey. In my mind the search for my birth family will find its own way without plans and details; if it is meant to be it will be.

It is often said that adoption is built on loss. As an adoptee, how do you deal with loss in your life?

As an adoptee, great loss revives intense and disorienting waves of emotion. I have no waking memory about the 1st great separation I experienced in life but I have an acute emotional awareness that I survived something catastrophic as an infant. In the wild, newborns will not survive without the protection of their mothers. I feel I was aware that my life was threatened, first because I lost my lifeline, my mother, and second because I was gravely ill. I feel that every living being knows when their life is teetering on the edge of death no matter their state of consciousness. I was no different.

As an adoptee, the loss of a mother has been the most profound experience for me because I have lived through it twice. My mom Pat passed on in 2014 after surviving 14 years with cancer. In a strange way, I feel like I was more equipped than most to cope with great loss because I had already survived the greatest loss in the most vulnerable condition but my experience also made me that much more fearful. Could I survive the loss of a mother for a second time? My adoption has given me a deep, inner wisdom about loss but I still struggle immensely on how to manage the compounding losses.

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EPILOUGE:

It may be true that adoption is built on loss but it is also built on love. Before I conclude I want to say that being adopted into a family does not mean that the family is always ready, just like many traditional families. Like many moms who dream of having their own children, my mom dreamed of my brother and me and because of adoption her dream came true. My dad was absent most of our lives and for my many years his abandonment caused me to question my adoption in a negative light but without him my mom would have been unable to adopt. Ultimately My Adoption Story taught me that love is what binds people together more than anything else in life, more than genetics, family names, religion or race. Love was passed on to me and my brother which is why he and his wife are now the proud parents of 6 foster children and why I am working for Adoptions From The Heart.

How to Choose the Right Adoption Agency for Your Family

Choosing an Adoption Agency or attorney to work with you through your journey of building a family is not an easy decision. These are the people that will help join you with your future child. There are many elements to consider when deciding what agency to work with during your journey.

Explore Different Adoption Paths 

Different Types of Adoption– There are a few different avenues for adoption and it’s important to research them all in order to find the best fit for your family. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Would you be interested in starting as a foster parent? Are you willing to have an open adoption? Are you looking to adopt a baby or an older child? Would you consider a child with special needs?

If you are looking to adopt internationally, there are only certain agencies and attorneys who work in such capacities. Find out more about Intercountry Adoption through the US Department of State website.  

If you would be interested adopting from foster care, there all ages of children who are in need of homes. Please be aware that while there are some children in the system who are immediately available for placement, the intent of foster care is reunification and so in many cases fostering does NOT equal permanent placement. Find out more here.

Open adoption is more often than not how domestic adoptions are being done, so if you do think closed adoption is best for you, your options are more limited, and you may find international adoption is generally, not always, a more closed process. However, there are many misconceptions and fears around open adoption which may cause families to want to steer toward closed adoption, so before settling on closed adoption, please consider some of the important benefits here.  If you are looking for an open domestic adoption that usually places prospective parents with infants, there are many agencies who can help you learn more and start you journey, including Adoptions from The Heart.

Financial Need– Adoption can be an expensive process and varies depending upon the type of adoption you choose to pursue. It’s important prior to jumping into the process, to really explore the financial aspects. What can I manage financially, will I be borrowing out of my retirement or do I have another way to cover the initial expenses? Is international adoption too expensive? How will the federal tax credit of over $13,000 benefit me personally? Are there adoption grants or loans I qualify for or does my employer offer an adoption benefit? What are the agency’s fees and what do they cover? Are their additional legal fees I will need to  save for as well?

Find out more about financing an adoption here.

Accessibility– Does your career allow for you to travel to faraway for international adoption or even an out of area domestic placement? How much time will you get off work both before and after being placed with a child? Are you willing to make traveling arrangements for visits with the birthparent if you choose open adoption? Do you want your child’s birthparent close enough that they can attend special events in your child’s life should they want to?

If you want accessibility in your adoption journey, during and post placement, whether it be for work, your child’s ability to connect with their roots, or any other reason, you should consider working with a local adoption agency. Find one in your area here.

 

Know your options and ask for help

Adopting a child is no doubt a big milestone in life. Asking for help from those around you who are in some way related to adoption can make all the difference. You may know someone who has adopted a child, or who was adopted as a child. You may even know someone who placed their child for adoption if they are open about it. 6 out of 10 Americans are touched by adoption in some way, so chances are, you know someone! Ask that person if they are comfortable answering some of your questions. If they aren’t, that’s okay; there are other connections to adoption in your life.

Reaching out to your doctor or OB/GYN to ask questions and get recommendations is always a valuable place to begin. From working with expectant parents considering adoption, or other families like yourself, looking to adopt, they probably have some ideas of agencies people have enjoyed working with, and knowledge about the adoption process in general.

You can also call a local adoption agency, even if you don’t end up working with them, just to get some general questions answered from a social worker who works in adoption every day. Many agencies host free information meetings or online webinars where you can learn even more about the process.

There are also great support groups and blogs online where you can read and chat with people who have experience with adoption from all around the world! Check out some of the best adoption blogs out there!

 

Gauge what level of support is available to you, your child, and the birth parents

Some agencies will help you get placed with a child, and that is their main purpose. Others want to support you, the child, and the birth parents throughout the whole process, even after placement. Consider what services they provide outside of placement. Do they offer counseling, education opportunities, or support groups? Do they act as a contact liaison between your family and the birth parents in an open adoption? Are their services available to EVERY person involved in the adoption triad? If the answer is yes, you’ve found a great agency. If the answer is no, but you aren’t looking for that level of involvement, that’s okay too. Just know that even if you don’t think you want that level of support, working with an agency that offers it means they will always be there to help if you change your mind.

Consider how they make you feel

Adopting a child and building your family will no doubt be one of the greatest journeys of your life. However, that does not mean it is easy. Prospective adoptive parents could be in waiting for just a month while others wait more than two years. You may be chosen by an expecting parent, but they may decide to parent before the child is placed or the adoption is finalized. You may go through post-placement depression, similar to post-partum, after having a child placed with you. The journey to adopting a child is not easy, but the agency you choose can help you through the difficulties and share the joy with you during the good times.

If you find an adoption agency that makes you feel overly-optimistic, like nothing could go wrong and you’ll be placed with a baby in a matter of weeks, know that this positivity is not always good. They might be over promising and you might only discover a different reality once they have collected large fees. On the flip side, if an agency makes you feel defeated and hopeless and makes you wonder why you’re even trying adoption, that isn’t good either. Having realistic expectations is important, but you should also have a support system that encourages you to put your heart into adoption and rejoice in the growth of your family so that you can put your best most truest self forward in your adoption profile and when meeting expecting parents. If you find an agency that encourages your excitement about adopting, but is real with you about the difficulties of adoption, and teaches you about the losses involved for everyone in the adoption triad, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

 

Ultimately, every family is different and you have to be honest with yourself about what is best and most comfortable for you. However, you should educate yourself on all of your options before making the all-important decision of what agency will help you grow your family.

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Paper Pregnancy: How Adoptive Parents Can Celebrate Their Time “Expecting”

When a pregnant woman walks into a store, she might get asked “is it a boy or a girl?” “when are you due?” “how are you feeling?” When a couple is experiencing paper pregnancy, in the stage of waiting with an adoption, that questioning doesn’t usually naturally occur. Hopeful adoptive parents are in an exciting stage of life yet cautious at the same time. The dual feelings found in the adoption journey up until placement may be compared to what a couple in their first trimester might experience until they hit the second trimester where there is less risk. Hopeful adoptive parents don’t want to get their hopes up or keep getting asked how much longer will they be waiting, but it is still a very important to be able to celebrate their paper pregnancy as well.

Paper Pregnancy
A Guide to Celebrating Your Upcoming Adoption

Whether you are spending months filling out paper work for government offices or for your adoption agency, your enthusiasm might be dampened from the sheer stress. One adoptive mother was lucky enough to have friends and family plan a nontraditional baby shower to celebrate going into the books.

An Adoption Shower How-To

Finding the right day to have your shower is tricky right off the bat, and it all depends on what you’re comfortable with. Waiting until homestudy is successfully completed, until you receive referrals, or even waiting until after you’ve had your placement, all are fine options. It is important for friends and family who want to host a shower to speak with the waiting adoptive parents first to gauge how they would feel about it – taking their preferences into account is really important.

Theme

Choosing a theme for the shower can be a lot of fun. If you are adopting internationally, consider intertwining the culture of the country you are adopting from, or if you are adopting domestically, state or city culture would make for an out of the box theme. If you are stumped for ideas, classic baby-centric themes can never go wrong!

Invitations

When inviting guests to the adoption shower, it won’t be that different from inviting guests to a more traditional baby shower. Something along the lines of, “Kristy and Dave have completed their paperwork and are in the books to adopt their new son or daughter! Let’s help them get ready for the big day when they get “The Call!” Help fill the nursery with gifts for the new addition to their family!” Designing invitations yourself can be fun, and way more cost effective so give that a try if you are feeling crafty!

Games and Activities

Sometimes at baby showers, or in this case adoption showers, not all of the guests know each other so playing some games can help to break the ice. An adoption trivia game where guests have to list as many famous people who are adoptive parents or who were adopted in a limited about of time, or combine general adoption questions with more personal information (What agency are Kristy and Dave using to adopt their son or daughter?). You can always opt to keep it even simpler and forgo games if that isn’t your style, this is your time to celebrate so you’re the boss!

Gifts

Buying for a newborn is a relatively easy task, but if you are adopting an older baby, toddler, or child your guests might be unsure of what items you need. Consider starting a registry so attendees know they can choose a gift you will actually use or even just pass some suggestions along to the hosts of your shower. Will you have to travel during your adoption? Maybe travel themed gifts would be useful to you or maybe you want to give your child’s birthmother or their orphanage gifts and your guests could help contribute to that.

An adoption shower is an opportunity for friend and family to share in the happiness and joy of the new stage in your life. Having an adoption shower is a great way to commemorate your impending parenthood!

Other Ways to Celebrate Being Paper Pregnant

Having an adoption shower is just one of the ways you can celebrate your upcoming adoption. Here are some other ways that soon to be adoptive parents celebrated and prepared for their new bundle of joy:
• Every couple of weeks to something new, that you’ve always wanted to do. Take that pottery class you have been thinking about taking because it won’t be easy to do after a baby!
• Maybe you don’t want to buy baby clothes because you don’t know the gender of your new baby, so instead every time you get a coupon for diapers purchase some. You can get different sizes because you know they will eventually be used!
Share other ways you have thought of to celebrate in the comments below!

There Are Two Sides to Every Story: The Paper Pregnancy Debate

It might not seem like a controversial topic, but the term “paper pregnancy” has sparked an interesting debate within the adoption community. Whether you agree with the opinions, it is important to know that it is terminology that may be a hot topic for some.

A Birthmother’s Perspective

“To me, a hopeful adoptive parent telling other people they’re “expecting” when they’re hoping to adopt just rubs me the wrong way. To me, it focuses the attention on the hopeful adoptive parents, which is exactly where it should not be. A hopeful adoptive couple is not “expecting.” They are not “paper pregnant.” They are simply hopeful that the right paths with converge and a woman choosing adoption with pick them to adopt her child, or in the case of international adoption, they’re hoping all the people involved will take the steps necessary to make the adoption happen,” – Monika via Expecting

Adoptive Parent Quote

An Adoptive Parent’s Perspective

“We adoptive parents need to be encouraged to see the adoption experience from all sides, so thanks Monika. Monika believes that calling adoptive parents “expectant” or “paper pregnant” could be coercive or at the very least makes it harder for the mother to decide against parenting. I don’t doubt that the fear of disappointing would be adopters influences some women to go through with the adoption plan, but I think this has little to do with the words we call pre-adoptive parents and everything to do with the inherent nature of adoption. No matter whether you call them expectant parents or hopeful parents or maybe someday parents, they are anticipating and expecting the arrival of this child with joy and excitement,” – Dawn via Creating a Family

A Final Thought

Maybe the words you use to describe the journey you took to get to where you are now, waiting for your adoption placement aren’t the same as the ones used by your pregnant friends, but the love and happiness your bundle of joy will bring you, deserves a little celebration!

Here are some other resources you might find helpful:

http://livinglifewithopenarms.blogspot.com/2015/01/whats-too-much-and-whats-too.html

https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/waiting-to-adopt/wanting-joyful-reactions-to-adoption-announcement/?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Apr15

January Book Reviews 2015

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All books purchased by clicking the link in our review will give AFTH a small donation from Amazon.com.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the books in our review please consider buying it through our link to amazon.com.


BOWEN_WishYouHappy_COVER_FINALWish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains by Jenny Bowen -This is a beautifully written, inspiring story written by a former screenwriter turned social entrepreneur. After adopting her daughter from a Chinese orphanage Jenny noticed that many of the children didn’t receive the attention they needed to thrive.  This is the story of how she took a simple idea of giving all the children an adult presence so that they would develop cognitively, physically and emotionally and persisted until her organization Half the Sky has helped to make fundamental changes to the Chinese Welfare System.  First they sent families to help rebuild infant rooms in orphanages, they trained staff in developmental caretaking and now they partner with the Chinese government and work with approximately 52 sites to help improve the lives of children.amazon.com price $11.46 (PB) kindle price $12.74


STUCK_PosterArt1Stuck (Streaming Video Download) –   While not a book this documentary is so important that anyone interested in adoption, or the rights of children should watch this. The US government, based on reports from UNICEF helped to draft the Hague Convention that was supposed to help prevent child trafficking and promote domestic adoption within the child’s country of origin.  While this looks great on paper what has happened is that this convention has all but stopped international adoption.  Many of the countries that have ratified the Hague have been struggling to implement it leaving children stuck in orphanages. While many other countries can still adopt from some of these international countries the number of children adopted internationally was always highest in the USA.  So without families from the USA adopting these children more and more children are being left to being raised in orphanages which we all know is detrimental to their growth and success in life.  This DVD tells the story of international adoption and its demise. The organization Both Ends Burning  who helped to produce this video is helping to fight for the rights of children to have a permanent home. If you would like to help please visit their website by clicking on their name above.   amazon.com streaming download $3.99 (HD Rental) $2.99 (SD Rental)  Free on Netflix streaming  


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Building Self-Esteem in Children and Teens Who Are Adopted or Fostered by Dr. Sue Cornbluth – Children who are adopted from foster care and those still in foster care often struggle with self -esteem and this book gives some great tips and valuable strategies to help change this. Parenting these children can often be challenging but this book is full of helpful advice that will help empower parents and the children they are parenting. The forward of this book is written by a former foster child and is very powerful in showing what a difference some of these strategies can make in a child’s life. amazon  price $18.35 Kindle edition $11.49

Adoption Playlist

Every adoption journey is different, you know that, but sometimes the ways we keep ourselves going through the wait can vary. Recently we came to have a new appreciation for music and the way that the lyrics can speak to us at different points along the journey. We asked some families to help us compile a list of the songs that keep them going or remind them of a specific moment or memory.

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Here is what we put together:

• Isn’t She Lovely, Stevie Wonder
• Mom, Garth Brooks
• Hall of Fame, The Script
• Mine Would Be You, Blake Shelton
• Wide Awake, Katy Perry
• I Knew I Loved You, Savage Garden
• Home, Phillip Phillips
• Butterfly, Lenny Kravitz
• Not While I’m Around, Sweeney Todd
• Let Her Go, Passenger
• Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
• To Make You Feel My Love, Bob Dylan
• Dog Days Are Over, Florence and the Machine
• Amazing, Aerosmith
• Hold On, Whitney Houston
• Through The Eyes of Love, Celine Dion
• Happy Adoption Day, John McCutcheon
• River (Take Me Along), Bill Staines
• God Blessed the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts
• I Will, Ben Taylor
• Just Haven’t Met You Yet, Michael Buble
• I Believe in Angels, ABBA
• Timshel, Mumford and Sons
• Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
• Overjoyed , Matchbox 20
• Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
• While I’m Waiting, John Waller
Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this post! Please share your favorite adoption journey songs with us; we would love to keep adding to our adoption playlist!

Fundraising for Your Adoption

Some people have different opinions when it comes to fundraising for adoption. If you are someone who has decided to go the fundraising route it can be daunting, but never fear, we are here to help! Start by going over all the fees with your attorney or your social worker from your agency so you can gain a better understanding of how much the cost of all the services will be. Consider opening a special savings account for all of your adoption expenses to help keep yourself organized during an especially hectic time. Take some time to go over the areas of your budget where you can cut spending. You might have to stop going out to eat as often, skip the expensive summer vacation, or go on monthly shopping sprees, but in the end saving where you can is the ultimate goal.

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Adoption Fundraising Etiquette
Before you start your fundraising efforts, it is important to take some time to develop an adoption expenses fundraising plan. You obviously aren’t a mind reader, and you might not know how much you’ll be able to make from fundraising, but take a stab at it! Focus on the greatest money making potential options first when creating your plan, this way you aren’t asking your social circle multiply times for donations. Finally, be aware of fundraising fatigue. Chances are that the people in your life will be more than willing to help support your adoption journey, but you don’t want to set up multiple fundraisers that ask for funds from the same group of people.

Fundraising
Starting simple by adding a PayPal button to your blog if you have one, or setting up a small yard sale can really jump start your fundraising efforts. GoFundMe is another awesome way to crowd fund for your adoption and you can sign up for free, share your page with friends and family and even on social media. Here a couple other fun and creative fundraising ideas that take a little more planning:

• “Tag the Bag”
Grab the suitcase that you’re going to use for all the travel related to your adoption and some Sharpie markers. For every donation someone makes towards your adoption, they can “tag” your bag with their name. It is totally up to you if you choose to specify an amount for donations, or if you choose to keep the donation amount open. After your adoption is finalized, you can turn the suitcase into a home for your child’s keepsakes or even feel free to tag a different item if your adoption doesn’t require travel.

• The Envelope Adoption Fundraiser
Select a number of envelopes to offer (100, 150, 200, etc.) and number those envelopes one to whatever number you’ve decided on. You can get super creative with the envelopes and include instructions on the fundraiser and maybe even a little note about your family’s adoption journey. Display the envelopes on a large bulletin board in a church lobby or anywhere else in your community. (If you don’t have a public wall to display you can do an online version and display the envelopes on a wall in your house, take a photo and post to your blog/Facebook, and just be sure to keep it updated). A person selects an envelope and puts the corresponding dollar amount inside to go towards your adoption. A holiday twist can be successful too! You can check Pinterest for some DIY ornament ideas and number them (instead of envelopes) and then people can “buy” the ornaments.

• Adoption Auction
Consider setting up a dinner and auction at your home. Invite everyone and anyone! Draft and send a letter to friends and family, post about your event on Facebook, at your church, even have friends invite their friends, the more the merrier! Try reaching out to local restaurants or franchises for donations because that will be so much less stressful than making all the food yourself. If securing donations ends up being unsuccessful, think about making the dinner a potluck! You can set a suggested donation amount at $15 and leave a basket of some type near the food and dessert tables.
In another area, set up the auction! To prepare for this, put some items together yourselves and ask for donations prior to the event. If you send a support letter to places in your community, you might be surprised by the items and services that get donated. Place a silent auction sheet by each item (include: item name, the value, the starting bid, amount bids must increase by) so your guests can bid on your donated items.
You will most likely be busy with hosting duties and saying hello to everyone that you may think about delegating some of the responsibilities. Someone can oversee the auction and the exchange at the end of the night, the food table, trash, taking pictures, and let your DJ or wannabe DJ friends play music all night. If your family and friends are movie junkies, think about making the auction a movie night! Borrow a projector from church or your local library and use a large sheet as the screen!

If you don’t have a natural talent for fundraising, that doesn’t mean you are alone when it comes to financing your adoption. Tax credits and grants are available to prospective adoptive parents; visit our website for more information about those options: http://www.afth.org/pdfs/education/help_with_adoption_expenses.pdf. Have you found success in any of the fundraisers that you’ve had? We would love to hear your stories and share them with our families!