Randy and Kelsey Bohlender have a contagious passion for adoption. They are full-time missionaries in Kansas City and recently started the Zoe Foundation to further a vision for adoption in America! One of their goals is to assemble a national database of thousands of state approved, home-study ready Christian families who have said ‘yes, I can and will adopt a child’! They are thinking big!
They also understand first hand how much finances can be an obstacle. Below, Randy shares some great advice on funding an adoption –
Often times, people go the bake sale and car wash route. Unless you’re planning on washing every car in your city at a hundred bucks a pop (and charging extra for trucks), you will ever wash enough cars. And as for bake sales, even at a dollar a muffin, can you sell thirty thousand muffins? The surprising truth is that it doesn’t take much more work to do a large scale dinner or auction than it does to do a car wash or a bake sale…but the return on your work will be a hundred fold.
For our first adoption, we held a benefit dinner. My first inclination involved a bucket of chicken and a case of bottled water. My smart wife and our friend convinced me this wasn’t the best idea. “Hokey” I think was the word they used. We ended up catering a $25/person meal at a nice restaurant in a fun location. We sold tickets that let people pick their price – $50, $75, $100, $250 and up. I don’t think we sold a single $50 ticket. Most were $75-$100 with plenty that sold for more than that. We raised $13,000 that night. You’re not going to do that on your best car wash….
It’s too easy to think “We don’t know anyone who would help us adopt….”. You need to think beyond who you think might help you to every living soul you’ve ever met, and their rolodex, and their friends’ rolodex. We got the word out using the internet, word of mouth, and mailed invitations. We also gave a stack of invitations to the connector types in our world – the kind of person who can’t get through a restaurant without talking to five people. Those people really delivered for us.
There was a second wave of people who heard from friends, and in the end, a significant chunk of our first adoption’s finances came from strangers. I can’t speak strongly enough about the importance of blogging your adoption journey – when you’re back against the wire, people you do not know who have followed your story will step up and help financially because they want to see this story to completion.
You are not asking for a birthday present for yourself, or even a trip to Disney for your child. You are asking for help in changing the life of a human being for eternity. Anyone with any sense will know that even with an expensive adoption, the long term cost of raising a child far outweighs the upfront expenses you’re trying to cover. You are the one taking the majority of the workload – getting the baby home is just step one.
Thinking boldly means asking for specific amounts, through specific ticket costs, etc. The agency will not ask you to ‘do whatever you can’….they’ll have a solid number. Granted, you’d take $10 from someone as quickly as you’d take $10,000, but the people you’re asking for help from need to know that the numbers have five digits, not two.
Most people are looking to do something commensurate with the need, not the minimum they can get by with. That’s why so few people bought $50 tickets – once they saw what we were really needing, most of them stepped up further than they would of had we been vague about it. It is not easy to raise the necessary funds, but it’s doable. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what is right. Life depends on someone’s willingness to step beyond fear into the heroic.