Recently, I caught wind of a website that raised some controversy.
A couple in Florida wants to adopt. In order to help defray some of the costs associated with the adoption, they set up a fundraising website where friends, family, and others could donate.
So far, no big deal. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and PledgeMusic have become common ways for people to fund businesses and other projects. Expanding into adoption fundraising is a logical extension for many of these sites.
But here is the difference: in order to stand out / have fun / generate buzz, this Florida couple set up a hook. When you donate on their YouCaring crowdfunding page, you get to specify your favorite NFL team. The parents vowed to raise their child as a fan of the team with the most donation dollars. They called their site the “2014 Baby Draft” and even created an intro video.
This is where I need to divulge a very big disclaimer:
I never saw the actual site or the intro video. By the time I heard about this story, the negative backlash had caused the couple to take down the fundraiser. I did find this article which tells more about the original idea.
What type of negative backlash did they encounter? Again, I’m not 100% sure as I hit the tail end of this. My guess is the “Baby Draft” name rubbed people the wrong way as it doesn’t really articulate the premise of selecting a rooting interest for the child. I can see where some folks may have thought the parents were going to draft a baby in the manner that NFL teams draft players – through extensive evaluation, workouts, and analysis – when adoption just doesn’t work that way. Again, that is my speculation.
As for me? I probably should be more outraged by it – and maybe I would be if I had watched the video – but I have a hard time getting worked up by this.
Is a “baby draft” in bad taste? Maybe. Is it a good idea to place any parenting decision in the hands of an Internet vote? Typically, no. Should you question a parent who would truly “sell” his child’s rooting interests to the highest bidder? Possibly.
But consider the other side…
Is adoption expensive? Absolutely. The parents who set up the site estimated their costs at $45,000. While that’s above the national average for an agency-assisted adoption of a U.S. born infant, it’s easy to see that number if they are adopting internationally.
Is it easy to get grants or loans for adoption? No. Certainly, there are many adoption grants out there, but when you get past the ones with strict faith-based restrictions (i.e. married heterosexual Christian families) you are competing with hundreds of other families for the same limited pool of grant funds that may not be paid when you need the money. Adoption loans are even tougher to find and obtain.
Do most employers offer adoption benefits to help defray costs or provide the necessary time away? Some do, but they are few and far between.
Do prospective adoptive parents need to be creative with how they raise funds? Definitely. You’ll see all types of fundraisers, benefits, and sales. One blog that I follow has a future adoptive mom decorating cakes to help raise funds. It’s a cool idea (and she makes beautiful cakes) but it’s hard to imagine raising tens of thousands of dollars in this manner.
Maybe the Baby Draft family was misguided, their intention / motivation was not clearly stated, or they should have used a phrase other than “Baby Draft”, but I can certainly emphasize with their plight. Our three adoptions were not cheap. Very not cheap*. We were able to do it with a combination of strict budgeting by my financially gifted wife, generous loans from my mom, and our good friends at Visa. And even with all of that, we’re still getting our financial legs back under us 10 months later.
*So not cheap that I can barely afford good grammatical composition for my sentences.
But adoptive parents – present and future – know that despite all of the costs, fees, and expenses, the end result is priceless.