Shortly before our daughter was born I chose to leave my full-time job at a big company to stay at home with her. Although I had put in tremendous time and effort into graduate school and my career, this was one of the easiest and lightest decisions of my life. Then she was born, the most incredibly joyful and amazing day. She was finally here, and I was a new mom full of the purest overwhelming love. Then soon I was home alone with an infant. That was really hard, a lot of times I wasn’t sure what to do… I was totally out of my element.
At first I thought I should reclaim some of my previous life: I would work part-time in my former field. So while my baby napped, I researched opportunities and hired babysitters to go to networking meetings. I thought I knew what I wanted but when real jobs materialized, I backed away quickly in a panic. Choosing to stay home with my daughter was still exactly right. And it was also right to want to take on a little more. But I needed to find something that I could work on that was connected to caring for my daughter and celebrating our family.
Then one day in the mail a beautiful invitation arrived to a fundraising event for Helpusadopt.org, an organization I had never heard of. Tears were in my eyes as I read... family, love, children, helping others, building families through adoption one grant at a time. At the event I met Becky Fawcett, founder of Helpusadopt.org, and when we hugged, our hearts met, and I thought, ‘Yes, this is for me.’
It’s been almost four years now, and I’m still on this happy journey with Helpusadopt.org, now as a Director on the Board. People decide to build their family through adoption for many reasons, and it can be a miraculous journey. Something that potential adoptive parents usually have in common is managing the huge cost of adoption, which averages about $30,000 to $50,000. There are many wonderful people who desperately want to become parents and they do have the resources to raise a child. They simply do not have a big pot of money to pay for adoption.
That’s where Helpusadopt.org comes in. The organization gives large problem-solving grants to qualified people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation. There is a rigorous screening process, and grant money is delivered directly to adoption service providers to pay the bills. Since 2007, with thoughtful and generous support from friends, family and neighbors, we have helped more than 80 families come together with nearly $700,000 in grants awarded.
However, each year there are more than 800 families who apply for a Helpusadopt.org grant, seeking more than $6 million. And we only have enough to distribute $200,000 per year. Telling so many applicants that we cannot help them is very hard. And it is gut wrenching to think of all of the children who deserve loving permanent parents…they may be about to be born into difficult circumstances, or they may already be living in orphanages or in temporary foster care.
This is what keeps me committed to Helpusadopt.org after nearly 4 years of volunteering my time. It’s fulfilling to be part of such a life-changing organization: working to help other families feel that same pure overwhelming love that I know every day with my daughter. Underneath all of the regular – and sometimes crazy – highs and lows of parenting and and balancing commitments, I am content because I see that every previous step along my path was also a step forward to here.