Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Making Mother’s Day, By Making Adoption Affordable

Children from HelpUsAdopt.org

TALLAHASSEE, FL – When a fertility clinic and all else fails, adoption can seem like the answer.

Mary & Bennet
Mary & Bennett

"I think about Helpusadopt.org a great deal. I will never forget the stunning feeling of being awarded $10,000. It was such a huge help, I cannot describe. The gratitude still swells in me; I am so happy to have been awarded a grant from Helpusadopt.org. I look back and wonder how I would have managed without the $10,000 you awarded me.

Bennett’s adoption is the biggest and best thing I have ever done in my life."

Except it's not in many cases.

Adoption is an expensive and lengthy process. It can take from $30-to-50,000 and two years or more.

That's where groups such as HelpUsAdopt.org come in. The national nonprofit has, in the last six years, helped build 73 families by awarding $570,000 dollars in adoption grants.

Becky Fawcett and her husband Kipp founded the group in response to their own experience.

"When I was struggling with infertility and miscarriages and wanted nothing more than to be a mother," she recalls, "when Mother's Day rolled around every year, it was one of the most painful days of the year."

Fawcett says the group is set apart from others by focusing on nondiscrimination, not defining what a family is, not charging applicants to apply and giving out the largest grants - up to $15,000.

Caroline Edgerton lost her husband and infant son in an accident in 2007. A grant from HelpUsAdopt.org helped her to close a financial gap and adopt a son, Logan.

"I was very fearful," she says. "I didn't know if I would be able to afford it and do it on my own and make that dream happen. And now I know that there are resources and there's a lot of support out there that is available."

Fawcett, and a committee of five, select grantees, looking for people who are making every effort to pay for their adoption themselves but are coming up short. She says she spends most of the rest of her time looking for donors.

"We have about 800 people a year who apply with financial requests over $6 million dollars," she says. "And we have $200,000 to give away this year."

Caroline Edgerton says the organization has remained in the lives of her and Logan.

"It wasn't just, 'Here's your grant, congratulations, move forward,'" she says. "Logan is now 15 months old and they've just touched our lives in such an amazing way."

Families helped by the group since 2007 include heterosexual married couples, single parents - male and female - and LGBT couples. 

Links and graphic added by the Observer

Photos: HelpUsAdopt.org

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