Kisses and Disses: A few words on Adoption Fundraising.

Adoption fundraising exists because because affordable adoption’s don’t. That’s the best way I can think of to say it.

This isn’t going to be a post about how much adoption costs. And it’s not going to be a ranty rant rage post either. I’m just going to try and give an accurate picture of what it looks like- sort like a kiss and a diss sort of post.  So read on and enjoy ( or not. Either way- if you’re good, I’m good.)

A couple of fore thoughts:

1. This will be long. And there’s not pictures, which stinks, I know. I apologize for that.

2. I’m not going to talk about grant applications. That’s a separate post.

3. If the fear of debt over adoption or the fact that you have current debt, or very little money or no one will take you, etc is keeping you from adopting, and you WANT to adopt, you need to work on pushing past that fear. Kids needs homes, and I know people who have debt and adopted, who accrued debt during and because of their adoptions, and have limited resources and adopted. All kinds of people adopt, and all kinds of agencies deal with money situations differently.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you feel called to adopt or be involved in orphan care you should not ignore that.

4. The Lord will Provide for you. Sometimes, it’s huge sums of money, and sometimes if $5 here and $10 there. But it adds up. This week, when I was feeling particularly down, we raised $912. Yes. That’s NINE HUNDRED AND TWELVE DOLLARS. Not nine dollars. My goal for the entire fall season was $1000. So there’s that, right? This was huge for me to see.  This has not happened before, and it might happen again, but I’m thankful for it. So thankful.


People WANT TO HELP. It’s true. There are people out there that you know that are going to be your cheerleaders and are going to keep you going when you really just want to lie face down on your bed and cry about the threat of debt (which I hate with a passion) and a mangled budget as you throw every last penny you own into this endeavor.  Some people don’t know how to help, but want to and when a fundraiser comes along will be totally enthusiastic and participate.   But generally, the more people know you’re adopting, the better your fundraising will go. And if you have a referral, the fundraising goes better, becuase there’s a name or symbol to associate with adoption now.

Fundraising lets me stretch my creative side. The apple butter is a case in point. I had been craving it, and remembering how I told Violet she smelled like apples, and I thought about it for a couple of hours and  cobbled together the apple butter fundraiser, Apples for Violet, which frankly was way more successful than I anticipated. And it’s fun to can things and put labels on the jars, and give them to people. And it’s fun to eat Apple Butter on bread and Ice cream. If you want to order some, click HERE and fill out the form, and we’ll let you know when it’s ready! I’m starting the second batch tonight!

It works. Like I said- people want to help, and they’ll rally around you: Here’s a short summary of some of things we’ve done and how they’ve worked and what we made, vs, what I thought we would make.

Garage Sales: We raised about $500 over 3 garage sales. I really thought it would be a flop and not make anything at all, except for the ones that some friends had for us. That was pretty fun.

Apple Butter: $200 and still going. I thought we would make nothing and eat a lot of Apple Butter over the next year.

Ebay Sales: maybe $200. I can’t answer what my parents have or had in mind.  We’ve been selling things on Ebay. This is our favorite fundraiser so far. And I’m not going to lie- when my tablet dings that cash register sound at me, I get super excited. Total Strangers are supporting our adoption on Ebay. My parents do it, too, and together we’ve come up with somewhere between 2-3,000. And we spent all of it when we went on our first trip, and we’ve slowly been building back up towards a huge payment due when we take our second trip.

The puzzle piece fundraiser– $2440 and counting. We still have 500 pieces left, and there’s time. You can sponsor a piece HERE. We’ll put your name on the back of the puzzle piece and the complete puzzle will hang in Violet’s room. My goal was $1,000. We’ve already spent $2400 on our first trip and our dossier.


The Disses- this is where it all gets real, people. I’m going to very real in some spots. 

1. It’s entirely possible that you’re going to burn some social capital. People are going to be irritated by your fundraising efforts. It happens. Don’t let it get you down. Apologize to people you irritate if you feel like it and it’s warranted, but don’t stop your fundraising because a few people don’t like what you’re doing. You can’t be all things to all people.

2. people are going to make comments, and they’re going to be rude ones. During our puzzle fundraiser, we had some fun giveaways based on things we had, and that people donated to us to give away. Unless someone had donated something to us, we didn’t say much about them. But we spent about $40 on the puzzle fundraiser, including buying the puzzle- which was $20. But one person questioned our giveaway strategy-at church- in front of other people, which was super embarrassing and frankly, a little aggravating. I didn’t know this person well, so I (graciously as possible) informed them how we sourced our giveaways, and told them if they had reservations not to donate and to just pray for us instead. I had to take a couple of hours after that to move on.

3. You might always feel awkward about fundraising. Honestly, I’d prefer to have a billion dollars and be able to pay this whole thing out of pocket and never have a single fundraiser. But that’s not my life. My life is the one where adoption requires fundraising and faith. So I keep two things in mind. While Jesus didn’t fund raise, he did make a great sacrifice on our behalf. So in that same vein, although on a vastly different level, we’re choosing to 1) have fun with this, and 2) put aside our personal preferences for Violet’s sake and make this thing go.

4. In this awkward fundraising place, you’re going to question yourself and what you’re doing. You’re going to be tempted to freak out about money, and totally be self centered. Don’t give into that temptation. Focus instead on the face you have in the picture the agency sends you or the place your adopting from. Find ways to be generous in spite of your need. I’ve been donating to various things I see around the internet and to a couple of other adoptions when I get the chance and have the skills to donate. Keep in mind that if you’re a Christian, adoption is, among many other things,  a God honoring, gospel reflecting activity. If you’re not a Christian, Adoption is the best form of humanitarian aid. It’s a huge thing to be a parent to a kid whose only chance to have a favorite animal, book, dream, ice cream flavor, or song is YOU. It’s huge and  profound and humbling.


So that’s it. Fundraising. It’s fun, but it stinks. And in the end we get Violet. So it all works out.



Sweet Success: We’ve nearly run out of apple butter.

So in that last post, I threw out there that I had made some Apple Butter becuase Violet smelled like apples.

And I also put it out there that said apple butter could be purchased in order to benefit Violet’s homecoming. I promised someone a pint jar as a prize for spreading the word about the apple butter and the lucky recipient is:

NICOLE W from Raleigh! I’ll bring your apple butter to you!

Seriously. This is all we have left: 1 pint jar and 1 4 oz jar. That’s it. It literally flew out the door to various parts of Raleigh, Durham, and California.


My friend Sam said this about our apple butter:

Can I just say that Charity Starchenko‘s apple butter that she’s selling to raise funds for their adoption is AMAZING! B. practically licked his plate! Thanks, Charity!

Little Boys everywhere LOVE this stuff. That’s all I’m saying.

And the best part is, MORE IS COMING! I even got all techy like and made a form you can fill out to order it! If you live in Raleigh/Durham, we can deliver. If you live beyond the Raleigh Durham Area, we can ship it to you. Just fill out the form, answer some quick questions, and we’ll send you a pay pal invoice for apple butter and or/shipping. If you have questions, you can comment on the blog, or send me an email at

Shipping for 4 4oz jars is about $10.

Here’s the link to the order form:

Apple Butter:

Lasts several weeks in fridge and up to a year in it’s unopened canned state in a cool dark place like a pantry.

Tastes good on toast, ice cream, with bananas, or just straight out of the jar after a long day.

Is a great gift for teachers, your grandma, or a random person who loves toast and jam.

Use it to sweeten cakes or top a muffin or scone with.

Have a tea party and put it out.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE (and it’s better than ginsu knives, people):

Share the post AND buy some apple butter and I’ll put your name in the hat to receive a few great prizes:

3 people will win a fun Polish treat, from a great Polish Deli here in Durham called Halgo. No kidding, Halgo has some great stuff. It’s a great taste of what an actual polish grocery store looks like and feels like. I really dig small eastern european markets and wish we had more here.

1 person from the Raleigh Durham area will win A mini Halcyon Session from my Studio. It’s a perfect way to get those Christmas cards done.

What’s more fallish than Apple Butter in the fall! Thanks for reading!