Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Word About Fundraising

Does it feel like we have been in this process for forever!? Some days it feels like that for us too. Most days it feels like this is dragging on so, so, so much longer than we ever thought.

Does it feel like we have been constantly asking for money or doing fundraisers? Yep, some times it feels like we are doing this all.the.time.

Guess what? We don't particularly enjoy it. It's dead uncomfortable to admit we need help, to admit we can't do it on our own and to put ourselves in a vulnerable position. But we do it because we believe with all our hearts it is worth it and that these kids are worth every hurdle and all the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get them here.

We have been blown away by the amazing support of our friends and family and even complete strangers. And not just financial support. The moral support and the prayers are needed just as much.

Because we can't do this on our own. We have poured our lives into this including our savings, tax returns and work bonuses. To be clear we are not asking for help without making significant sacrifices, too.

I'm sure there are questions swirling around about where all the money is going and why we keep trying to raise more. I'll do my best to address this.......

1. We have to pay for the homestudy. Part of that fee included psychological exams, the social workers time she put into interviewing us on multiple occasions in her office and in our home. We also attended an educational seminar, we paid to have fingerprints done, background check run in every state both of us lived in since age 18. This homestudy expires after a certain amount of time which requires an update which also costs more money. To date we've done one of these updates so far.

2. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. There is fee required to process paperwork before the United States will approve you to be an adoptive parent. It's not cheap. There is also a fee we each have to pay to have our biometrics (fancy term for fingerprints) taken. These are different than the fingerprints done for our homestudy. There is also cost associated with traveling to get to this biometric appointment- a roughly 7 hour round trip drive for us. Since we are adopting two unrelated kids we also had to pay this fee a second time for their papers to be processed and approved.

3. We pay the agency/consultants. They review paperwork, help guide and offer insight on the process, they have connections with people who do the leg work for the adoption.

4. The attorney needs to get paid. I'll do my best to remember some of the things this included and lump them in this category since our attorney took care of most of these. There may be court fees, paperwork fees, transportation fees, passports, etc. I know I'm leaving out a LOT but suffice it to say there are a lot of small costs that add up VERY fast.

4. Foster Care Fees. Kids aren't cheap. It doesn't matter where you live. It is expense to care for a child well. There are the costs of formula, food, diapers, clothes, lodging, medical costs, stipend for the family caring for them, etc. These costs are hitting us especially hard right now as we had not planned on them at all.

5. Travel costs. For us to get into the country we have to apply for visas, we have to pay for airfare (round trip for parents, one way for kids), we have to pay for people to help us in country, tips for people who help us, we have to pay for a place to stay while we are there, we have to pay for transportation while we are there, we have to pay for food while we are there, there are certain legitimate fees to be paid to finish up the adoption and exit the country, there are cultural items and souvenirs to buy while you are there. There could be unforeseen medical costs. If you pack more than the allotted number of bags or if they weight too much there are extra fees, too.

6. We will most likely fall into this category unfortunately. Eventually visas expire. Our children's visas are only good as long as their medical report is valid (or 6 months - whatever is shorter). There is a fee per person to get these renewed.

 And all the miscellaneous stuff that adds up. The cost to mail things - to our agency, to friends/family, overseas to our attorney. There is a cost to wire money overseas. There are educational  things too - books are not cheap but contain vital information. There is so, so much to learn. There are conferences to attend to help equip us to help our kids. And there are so many more things I'm forgetting or not mentioning.

All this to say.....we thought we were done this part. We thought we had the necessary funds raised to pay our final fees and make a trip to bring our kids home. Our kids should have been home months ago. Instead they are not and every month they aren't home we are incurring more and more fees. This means we must kick our fundraising back into gear. This is not what we expected. This is not what we wanted. But this is what is happening. We are asking for help again. We realize we have asked before and so many have generously responded. We appreciate it and we thank you.

We have several things planned and in the works and we are excited to share them with you. We are
asking for your help in making our future fundraising successful. We hope and believe we are nearing the end and will have what we need soon.

Thank you for sticking with us. For supporting us. For praying for us and our kids. We need it now more than ever.


  1. You totally lied when you said that you could afford to raise a kid, just not all the bucks necessary to adopt one!

    Do you care that there's massive fraud/corruption that YOU ARE ACTUALLY PAYING FOR with your $35k+ to acquire a Congolese kid?

    Do you care that it is SO MUCH MONEY by local standards, that Congolese kids who HAVE FAMILIES that love and want to raise them get trafficked into international adoption for PROFIT???

    Why on earth do you think it is acceptable to BEG FOR CASH on the INTERNET form STRANGERS in order pay "foster care" fees for a kid in one of the POOREST countries in the world, with an average per capita income of US$368/year?? And you're paying, what.. US$500-600 per month??

    You clearly don't seem to get that:
    - buying humans is wrong. WRONG.
    - kids are trafficked into adoption beacuse you're paying $35k to buy a Congolese kid
    - DRC is a sovereign nation, even adopted on paper by US parents Congolese kids are Congolese citizens only who do NOT become US citizens til they step onto US soil
    - DRC, again, as a sovereign nation is not required nor can it be compelled to issue DGM exit permits to its own citizens. Congolse ONLY citizens, like the adopted on paper by US citizens kids!
    - Americans aren't entitled to adopt Congolsese kids -- it's a privlege that the DRC govt can revoke at any time for any reason (or even no reason at all!)
    - The US government CANNOT make DRC issue exit permits to non-US citizens (or, frankly, any citizens at all!).

    Last but not least, there are folks who adopted Congolese kids WITHOUT the mandatory DGM exit permit - yes, they brag about smuggling their DRC kid to the US without the REQUIRED PAPERWORK. They literally bought, and bragged about bying a traffickdd Congolse child because they are HORRIBLE PEOPLE!!


    Please please please do not be as awful as they are. Let due process take it's course and ONLY adopt the girl you've been referred if she is TRULY an orphan. Oh, and don't adopt her at all if you cannot pay 100% of all adoption costs. That just says you kind of sort of maybe wanna buy her with other people's money, but it isn't actually worth spending YOUR hard-earned cash on!

  2. Katee

    First off, let me start out by saying, don't judge people you don't know. Secondly, don't make sweeping statements that you have no factual basis for making. Mike and Erin are loving, caring people, who are not trafficking children, they are trying to follow ALL proper procedures set out by the Congolese government to adopt two children and give them the opportunity at a life they otherwise would not have. Not only because they will have those extra opportunities but also because most Congolese children don't live that long because of poor conditions.

    You say that they are begging for money without spending any of their own "hard earned" money. Simply not true. I know for a fact that they have invested a significant amount of their own hard earned money for this adoptions and in order to follow through they are now forced to pay for care for their children until the proper paperwork is filled out. While there may be corruption in the Congolese government, you only have to look as far as our own government with it's own scandals about corruption. This is not the fault of Mike and Erin, but a fact of life that has to be dealt with in order to save these children.

    In closing, if you do not want to give, fine, don't. That is your choice as a free US citizen. However, don't let YOUR bias, YOUR misinformation and YOUR own inadequacies attempt to taint something that is being done out of love of life and children by two very special people.

  3. I can't say anything that Firefiterp didn't- but I agree with them one hundred percent. So don't give. Don't help. Just sit around and keep raking in all that bad karma.


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