Monthly Archives: May 2012

Adoption Fundraising: Unethical or Necessary?

As many of you know, my wife and I are in the middle of the adoption process to bring home our first child. We are so far 4 months into the process, and have recently come to a standstill.

Our homestudy has been approved, which means that we have been cleared to take custody of a baby whenever the right situation presents itself. With that said, the “right situation” has proven hard to come by.

Over a year ago when we first met with our adoption attorney he gave us an estimated budget of our expected costs. We sat down after that meeting and setup a budget plan to save that amount of money over the next year to be able to start the adoption process. We worked hard, saved A LOT, and were finally able to secure the funds we thought we needed by January 2012.

When we met again with our attorney, he informed us that we may very likely have to adopt a baby outside of our state. If this occurs, which is very likely, it could increase our cost by roughly $10,000.

We were floored.

Adoption costs are already crazy enough, and now we find out that we would likely have to spend an additional $10,000!!

Needless to say, we were devastated and began scrambling to find these extra funds.

To Fundraise or Not to Fundraise?

We then began to run into a “moral” dilemma. Well, more of a pride issue I suppose. Do we begin working on adoption fundraisers, or just buck up our bootstraps and get an extra job to save the money?

Asking for money is never easy, but we also realized that we had a whole host of friends and family who sincerely wanted to help us. They wanted to support us. They did not want us to go through this alone. This realization made the final decision for us, and we began exploring various ways to fundraise for our adoption.

We made the decision early on, that we did not want to simply ask for cash. If we were going to do a fundraiser, we wanted to give away a product or service of value, in return for money.

After a lot of research we settled on two different fundraiser ideas:

Just Love Coffee

We love coffee, so this was a no brainer for us. This awesome company provides an entire system of fundraising where we will earn a small return for every bag of coffee that we sell through our storefront (basically we earn the profit margin for the coffee).

You get an awesome fair trade, custom roasted coffee blend, and we earn a small commission.

You can visit our storefront here: Just Love Coffee

A Forever Family

This idea is the brainchild of my wife, and it is entirely her project (although I have helped in a few small ways).

She has discovered recently her passion for sewing, and has found a way to turn this into an adoption fundraiser. She has started sewing little baby Giraffes, burp cloths, car seat covers, and Taggie blankets. She uses designer fabrics (Michael Miller, etc…) and created custom, hand made gifts which we have decided to sell on ETSY.

You can visit our ETSY storefront here: A Forever Family

It has been amazing to see the outpouring of support through both of these fundraisers. I share this with you to:

1. Let you know what I have been up to the past few months,

2. To encourage you to share these fundraisers with anyone you think may be interested in supporting us, and

3. To give you some inspiration for creative fundraising and encourage you to go for it, even if you are intimidated. It is incredibly uplifting to see that people truly are willing to support you, and you will be blessed beyond belief through the process!


How New College Graduates Can Avoid Debt

For the majority of college students around the country Graduation just happened. At the school I work at, we just released 2600 newly minted students to the world to seek their fortunes. This is a scary time for most graduates. Entering the work force in the current economic climate is daunting, and they are faced with odds that are already stacked against them. And unfortunately, not a single one of those college classes taught them how to get out of debt.

Fortunately, there are specific steps that new college graduates can take to avoid falling into the consumer debt trap that so many of their fellow students find themselves in.

Continue your college lifestyle for as long as possible!

There is no shame in this, and the stigma of living on ramien noodles and single ply toilet paper is rapidly receding. In fact, I would say that adults who are long removed from their college years are increasingly moving back towards their “college spending” days to save money and avoid falling further into debt.

In college, you don’t need “stuff” because you have friends and real human relationships to occupy your time as opposed to china patterns and big screen tv’s. By avoiding the trap of lifestyle inflation as soon as you get a job, you will be able to establish a firm foundation, start paying off your student loans, establish an emergency fund, and even set aside money for your future (spouse, marriage, kids, house, new car, travel). Setting a plan, and understanding the downside of falling into lifestyle inflation will help you avoid these common mistakes.

Make a Savings/Spending Plan

One of the best pieces of financial advice my parents ever gave me was to set a strict budget and keep to it. Having a firm grasp of your budget and income needs will tell you very quickly the lifestyle you can expect to have.

In fact, if you have a Stafford Student Loan, you will be required to complete exit loan counseling when you graduate, and you will have the opportunity to create your first sample budget in that counseling session.

Understanding that a high income is got a right granted upon graduation will help you face reality, and plan accordingly. Sticking to your savings and spending plan, will help you keep that vision in check.