Thank you to Scott and Mary for sharing their adoption fundraising story with us! They are currently waiting to be matched with children from Eastern Europe.
When we started the process of adopting our children, we were overwhelmed by the financial aspect. How would we ever be able to afford the fees associated with bringing our children home? It felt daunting to look at the numbers. We knew, though, that what we did not want to do was let that stop us from following our call to adopt. We attended the Affording Adoption seminar from MLJ and their advice to think of the financial aspect “one payment at a time” stuck with us. The total number seemed overwhelming, but the first payment did not… so we made that our first goal. We sat down with our families and brainstormed fundraising ideas. While uncomfortable and awkward for us, we knew fundraising would be necessary for us to gather the funds needed and we decided from the beginning to make this part of our journey as fun as possible. We are thrilled to be adopting and wanted to share that joy and excitement through every step in the adventure.
Our family members and friends quickly rallied around us to help. Before the ink dried on our adoption announcements, we had ideas and offers rolling in. In a matter weeks, friends had offered to design t-shirts and set up the website to sell them, our sisters offered to sell and ship bracelets and our family members offered to shave their heads for donations. We were immediately humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support and it quickly became apparent that we would have a lot of help to make our ideas a reality.
In light of wanting to make things as fun as possible, we ran with the first big idea of doing a silent auction and trivia night. Who doesn’t like trivia? We thought this would be an evening of fun for our families and friends, while also being an opportunity to raise funds for our adoption and educate people about why we chose to take this path. We started planning this event a little over two months before the big night and our families jumped in head first. They were eager to be able to take part in this aspect of the adoption while we were busy working on our home study and dossier paperwork. They shared that they were excited to finally be able to do something tangible to help bring their grandchildren/nieces/nephews/cousins home.
As family and friends offered to help, we split the event into tasks that could easily be divvied up among those eager to help. We had two people to write and run the trivia, another couple to take care of selling bracelets and 50/50 tickets at the event, we took on the silent auction, while our parents took care of all of the food for the event. Dividing everything up made the event less overwhelming for any one person and kept things running smoothly. We kept things simple – we rented a space in our parents’ neighborhood that was inexpensive and easy to set up and tear down, we decided on pizza and soda so it could be easily picked up and eaten without a lot of extra silverware, and we used Facebook to advertise the event rather than using paper tickets that had to be mailed. We had our family and friends that were attending RSVP to the event and pay beforehand so that we could plan on numbers and also so we did not have to handle admission money at the event.
We ended up with about 115 people attending the event and nearly 30 silent auction items. We had a range of silent auction items from Colts tickets and guided fishing trips, to handmade dog collars and rocking chairs. We set each item out, along with a bid sheet that people could visit throughout the night. We all ate, played trivia, bid on items, and had a great time laughing and talking about our journey. For us, it was so important that people had a good time and thanks to our families and their help, the event felt more like a game night with friends than a stuffy fundraiser.
The event raised over $8,000 to help bring our children home. We were shocked, humbled and so overwhelmed by the generosity. Not only were we thankful for the incredible financial support received, but we felt so blessed by the way our families and friends came together for this event. Everyone has their own resources and talents and so many contributed to this event in their own way. There were so many things we didn’t think of, but our team helped us every step of the way and their time, ideas, and energy made this evening one we will never forget.
If we have any advice for those looking to begin their journey to adopt and fundraise for that cause, it would be to keep things fun, accept help when offered, and take it one step at a time. Changing our perspective on fundraising has made it fun – late nights up with our sister sorting bracelets, brainstorming sessions with our families about how to run trivia, texting with friends about their homemade silent auction items, and cookie testing for the dessert table with our Mom… it has brought us all even closer together and given everyone an opportunity to play a part in bringing our children home. Fewer orphans in the world is truly something to celebrate and we feel that every part of an adoption story can be a testimony to that joy.