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Providing Change for Children

May 8, 2023

Baby Bottle with Title Each year the Miriam Project runs several fundraisers designed to bolster our annual budget and enable us to continue working to accomplish our mission of ensuring that all children within the reach of this ministry are embraced by healthy and loving families within the body of Christ. One of our most successful fundraising campaigns is our annual Change for Children baby bottle drive. We have partnered with two local churches that have allowed us to pass out empty baby bottles to members of the congregation who then fill those bottles up with their spare change in the following weeks. A baby bottle full of coins usually contains between $15 and $25, although there are usually quite a few people who supplement the coins with cash or checks.

One of the families who regularly participates in our Change for Children campaign shared an inspiring story with us; we thought you might like to hear about it as well. Cherilyn and Jason and their two daughters Eyla (5) and Bailey (3) have participated in this fundraiser as a family for several years. Cherilyn and Jason use this as an opportunity to teach their children about adoption. They explain that sometimes a child may need a new mommy and daddy in order to be safe and taken care of, and that the baby bottles full of coins help with that. In previous years, Cherilyn and Jason simply gave their daughters coins to put into the bottles. This year, however, Cherilyn and Jason saw another teaching opportunity, so instead of just giving their daughters the money, they created opportunities for them to earn it by doing chores around the house. Cherilyn explained that both girls have been enthusiastically matching socks, folding laundry, and cleaning mirrors so that they can earn coins to put in their bottles. She said that they are so excited that every morning and evening they are asking for more “jobs” so they can put more coins in their bottles.  Below are some photos are the girls completing “jobs” and filling their bottles with coins.


This year we have also introduced a Virtual Baby Bottle donation option for people who may not use cash or who may not be local but still want to get involved. For just $25 you can fill a Virtual Baby Bottle and change a child’s life. Our goal is to collect 100 Virtual Baby Bottles by June 1, 2014. Will you donate one?

Educating Adoptive Families With a New Lending Library

April 23, 2023

We are excited to let you know the Community Service Council of Anderson a recently provided a grant to the Miriam Project in order to help us provide education for our adoptive families.  We believe that education is one of the best tools for an adoptive family and we encourage the continuation of education during a family’s adoption journey. The funds from this grant have allowed Miriam Project to purchase books covering various topics of adoption which we will provide for our adoptive families in the form of a lending library. We have purchased six titles covering topics such as building a healthy adoptive family, multiracial adoption, things adopted children wish their adoptive parents knew, attachment in adoption, and various topics related to open adoption. The books we have available in our lending library are:

Dear Birthmother
By: Kathleen Silber and Phylis Speedlin

Dear Birthmother discusses four myths of adoption as well as open adoption and it examines the perspectives of both adoptive and birth families.  This open adoption guide includes actual letters between adoptive parents and birth parents, as well as letters between birth parents and their children.

 

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents
By: Deborah D. Gray

Attaching in Adoption is geared toward current and prospective adoptive parents as a means to help them provide care and promote healthy attachment with their adopted child.  The book describes what attachment is and how to improve it while looking at the potential effects grief and trauma may have on attachment.

 

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
By: Sherrie Eldridge

Twenty Things begins by looking at adoption through the eyes of a child and proceeds into the twenty things an adoptive child would want their parents to know.  The content of this book comes from the insights of children, parents, and experts and it is written by a woman who was adopted herself. The book “gives voice to children’s unspoken concerns, and shows adoptive parents how to free their kids from feelings of fear, abandonment, and shame.”

 

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?  A Parent’s Guide to Raising Multiracial Children
By: Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? “outlines for parents how, exactly, to deflect the objectifying attention multiracial children receive.” This book covers how to talk to your child by age and how to respond when confusing or hurtful comments are made.  “Drawing on psychological research and input from over sixty multiracial families, Does Anybody Else look Like Me? addresses your questions and concerns and provides invaluable parenting tools.”

 

The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building A Healthy Adoptive Family
By: Jayne E. Schooler and Thomas C. Atwood

The Whole Life Adoption Book serves as a resource for adoptive families as they navigate the questions and challenges raised during adoption.  This book describes the adoption process and it prepares the whole family for adoption by outlining strategies for the transition, providing communication strategies, and helping children understand and process their adoptive story as they grow.

Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption
By: James L. Gritter

Lifegivers “examines all the ways in which birthparents are marginalized” and fights for the case that “adopted children are best served when birthparents and adoptive parents work together to ensure that the birthparents remain a part of their children’s lives.”

Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of Lifegivers. If you would like to read and review one of these books for our blog, contact us and let us know.

Funding Adoption

February 21, 2023

money calculator Adoption can be expensive but we don’t think that cost alone should prevent anyone from pursuing adoption so we have put together a list of resources and ideas that can help make adoption more affordable. If you have heard of other resources or ideas, please be sure mention them in the comments below. By working together we can make sure that as many children as possible find their forever families.

 

gfm_logo_300dpi
GoFundMe is the #1 crowdfunding site for personal fundraising on the internet.

How it Works
With GoFundMe you are able to set up a personalized page for your campaign where you can share your story.  GoFundMe makes it really easy to share your page with the people in your life. Donations can be made directly on your page and all donations will go directly to you.

How Much Does it Cost
It is free to set up your page and start collecting money. You’ll never have to pay GoFundMe directly, although they will deduct a total of 7.9% + $0.30 from each donation (5% goes to GoFundMe and 2.9% + $0.30 is for credit card processing).

Click here for more detailed information.

 

Pure Charity Logo

Pure Charity is another crowdfunding site although it is limited to certain types of charitable fundraisers. Fortunately, adoption is one of their supported causes.

How it Works
Pure Charity is very similar to GoFundMe in that users can personalize a donation page to receive donations. There are a few significant differences however. First, Pure Charity will work directly with your adoption agency and distribute the funds to the adoption agency directly. On the plus side, this means that, unlike GoFundMe, your contributors donations may be tax deductible. On the downside, that means that your adoption agency must be a nonprofit organization (Miriam Project is) and there are certain limitations as to what the money can be used for (right now donations can only be used toward agency related fees, however they are working on expanding this).

Additionally, the Pure Charity Rewards Network lets your friends and family shop online at their favorite retailers and a portion of the purchase price is deposited into their Pure Charity account. That is money that can then be donated towards your fundraiser.

How Much Does it Cost
It is free to set up your page however Pure Charity deducts 5% processing fee to cover credit card processing and other administrative costs.

Click here for more detailed information.

 

AdoptTogether Logo

AdoptTogether is another crowd-funding site that is exclusively for adoption.

How it Works
AdoptTogether is similar to the previous two, however there a couple of significant differences. Adoptive families do create profiles, however all donations are considered donations to the Hoping Hearts Foundation (which means they may be tax-deductible). Instead of donations going directly to individual families, an independent board reviews grant requests as well as actual adoption expenses. The board then makes grant decisions. AdoptTogether’s goal is to meet or exceed every grant request, although it’s possible that a family could receive less than requested dependent upon the board’s decision.

Click here for more detailed information.

 

YouCaring Logo

YouCaring is very, very similar to GoFundMe although YouCaring does not deduct any fees from the donations. Users set up an account with either PayPal or WePay, each of which have a small processing fee for credit card transactions.

 

Cards for a Cause is a fundraiser  that provides boxes of 30 high-quality handcrafted and individually wrapped greeting cards with matching envelopes for a family or organization to sell. The boxes sell for $30.00 and the family or organization keeps up to $13.00 a box (that’s 43%). For more information, contact Sarah Gibson at [email protected] or 317-479-5466.

Please share this with anyone who could benefit from the information. If you have any other suggestions or ideas be sure to comment to below!

Four Times in Four Years - An Adoption Story

January 14, 2023

Following is an adoption story from some friends of ours who have been through the process several times. Check out what they have to say!

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Our adoption story is not our own. It was orchestrated and woven together by the Almighty! We are so very thankful for the gifts He has given us!

We have completed the adoption process four times. Four times in four years! Those four years, and the several years that followed, were crazy but oh-so-fun!

Our first adoption began with a quick match with an expectant mother. Within several months, however, it became clear this placement wouldn’t happen. After a few months of healing, we were called on a Friday and asked to adopt through the African-American program (which was our first choice anyway). On Monday, they called again. This time a precious boy had been born over the weekend and needed to go home from the hospital that same day; would we be interested? We accepted and we were thrilled to be parents! It was the greatest joy we had ever known!

Our first child was about 18 months old when we decided that we would get started on another adoption knowing that the average adoption process takes nearly a year.  I remember the morning that my dear friend called me and I shared our news with her. I was sitting at the desk in my classroom before my students arrived when I told her “We’re adopting again!” She told me that her coworker and friend had just gone to an interview with an expectant mother at a small agency in Anderson, Indiana called Miriam Project and she suggested we look into it.

I called Miriam Project on my lunch break that very same day. My inquiry was met with excitement because we were open to adopting either an African-American or biracial child and the case worker had an expectant mother who had interviewed all of their potential families but still wanted to keep looking.

We met with her a few days later and on our drive home we received a call…we were CHOSEN! Six weeks from the day of the phone call we were awakened in the night with a call informing us that our brave, dear birth mother was in labor. We excitedly drove to the hospital. I will never forget walking into the room and seeing our baby girl for the first time, wrapped tightly in her first mommy’s arms. Her dark curls and golden complexion were breathtakingly gorgeous!

We spent the next few days loving on our baby girl and getting to know her birth mother better. What a privilege it was to meet and know the woman who selflessly carried this child for nine months. What a shared bond….both having a deep love that only a mother can have. What began as a gripping fear, the idea of having an open adoption and a relationship with the birth family, became one of the greatest blessings we could give our child. We are so thankful for the transformation God did in our hearts!

When our sweet daughter was 14 months old, and our son was 2 1/2, we received a call from a different agency asking if we would meet with an expectant mother who was due in a few weeks. That was a Thursday. We met her on Monday. I stayed up late that night completing almost every bit of paperwork. Little did I know, the birth mother would be in labor just a few hours later and the next day we drove to meet our second son!

Just 12 months after that, we received a call informing us that the birth mother of our first child was pregnant! So, just 3 months later, we welcomed another daughter into our home and family!

Each child has been and continues to be such a gift to us! We are so thankful for each one and for the women who carried them and who love them forever. All glory to Him from whom all blessings flow.

Caring for the Birth Mother in Adoption

December 17, 2022

PregnantHere at the Miriam Project, we believe that providing loving care for expectant/birth mothers is as important as caring for the babies and the adoptive families. We thought you might like to know about the services and support that we provide to the women who place a child through the Miriam Project. All services are provided to the birth parents free of charge. When you financially support Miriam Project, you not only become our partner in providing relief to people in need, but you help keep adoption affordable, making sure that these beautiful children can be placed in loving homes.

First Contact
Expectant mothers come to the Miriam Project from a variety of walks of life. When we are first contacted by an expectant mother, we set up a meeting between her and our case worker, Brooke. Brooke spends some time getting to know the expectant mother. Brooke asks the expectant mother why she is considering adoption and helps her understand exactly what is involved in adoption. We understand that placing a child for adoption is a very personal decision and we want to make sure the expectant mother has all of the facts. We never want her to feel pressured in any way.

During the Pregnancy
If the expectant mother continues to feel that adoption may be the right choice for her after the first meeting, Brooke continues to meet with her regularly. If needed, we provide the expectant mother with contacts for prenatal care and affordable pregnancy insurance. We also help her assess immediate needs such as employment, housing, and food and provide resources and support as needed. Brooke has done everything from helping expectant mothers pick out apartments to teaching them how to buy healthy groceries on a budget. Throughout this whole process, Brooke serves as a confidant and a sounding board and she regularly helps the expectant mother asses her feelings toward adoption and address the feelings of grief she may be experiencing.

About eight weeks from the due date, the expectant mother begins looking through the profiles of families hoping to adopt. She also has the option to interview the families personally and she gets to choose which family will adopt her child. She has the choice to decide what level of openness she would like to have with the adoptive family. We help facilitate communication between the birth mother and adoptive families.

As the due date approaches, Brooke works with the expectant mother to set up a birth plan. If the birth mother prefers, someone from the Miriam Project can be present at the hospital during birth. The birth mother also has the option to decide how much time she would like to spend with the baby before the baby is placed in the care of the adoptive family. Before she leaves the hospital, we provide the birth mother with a care package to take home. This care package includes things like personal care items, music, snacks, a journal and some items for entertainment. It also includes a handmade blanket (see pictures below). We know that a simple basket filled with comfort items can never fill the loss of not having her child with her but we believe it is one way to encourage her to care for herself and allow herself to grieve.

Care Package 1Care Package 2

After Delivery
Our relationship with the birth mother does not end after she has delivered the baby. We tell every birth mother that we are available to them for the life of the child. After the baby is born, we help facilitate communication between the birth mother and adoptive family according to the agreement they set up initially. We also provide support to the birth mother to help her get back on her feet after the delivery. For us, caring for the birth mother is as important as caring for anyone else.

Once again, all services are provided to the birth parents free of charge. When you financially support Miriam Project, you not only become our partner in providing relief to people in need, but you help keep adoption affordable, making sure that these beautiful children can be placed in loving homes. Also, if you knit, crochet, or quilt and would like to provide handmade blankets for the care packages, please fill out the contact form below and put the word “blanket” in the comment box and we will get in contact with you.

Stories From the Field: Fundraising

November 27, 2023

We at the Miriam Project understand that adoption can be a tricky journey and we don’t think you should have to do it alone. We also know that great ideas come from lots of different places, especially from people who are or have been on the journey. In our Stories from the Field series we will be highlighting folks who have helpful tips to share from their own adoption journeys. Today’s post is from Adam and Ashley; they share some neat tips on raising funds for adoption. If you like what they have to say below, head on over and check out their blog, adoptingwillpower.blogspot.com.

Adam and Ashley's Fundraising IdeasWhen my wife and I first thought about adoption, it was something we knew very little about. We knew though, from the beginning, that if we put God first and followed his plan, that our decision would be the right one. So we researched everything we could find, prayed about it every day, and eventually came to a decision: We were ready to adopt. We were so excited about what God was doing in our lives that the next step kind of came out of nowhere. Great, we were adopting, but how were we going to pay for this?

Before I go any further, I should probably tell you a little more about our situation. Ashley and I have been married for about 3 ½ years. In that time we’ve both worked full-time jobs, purchased a home, and did all those things that “responsible adults” are supposed to do. We also (being faithful followers of Dave Ramsey) began paying down debt and watching our spending to make sure we didn’t add any more. But through all the research about adoption we did, we kept seeing costs that made our heads spin and “experts” who said that the only way to pay for an adoption was to take out loans that might be paid off sometime around the time our child was applying for college. We were torn. On the one hand, we had made so much progress toward a more secure future for our family. But at the same time, how could we even think about ignoring the call that God had so strongly put on our hearts?

It was around this time that we heard about a book that would change the course of our adoption journey. While listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, we heard his interview with Julie Gumm. Julie had written a book called Adopt Without Debt, describing how she and many other families had used fundraisers to help pay for their adoptions. It was an inspiration to us. After reading the book and hearing Julie speak at an adoption conference, we immediately starting planning fundraisers. No idea was too crazy and no fundraiser was too small. We saw every dollar as a step that got our child closer to coming home.

We started fairly small. We sold bracelets and t-shirts, sold concessions at a couple of auctions in town along with two yard sales. Things were going pretty well. We had a soup supper in February at Ashley’s family’s church and were blessed by raising over $2,000. We were amazed at how many people came out to support us or sent in donations.

When we decided to do some fundraisers, we came to conclusion that anything we did had to meet a few standards (other than raising money, of course). We wanted to make sure everything we did was very public. We didn’t want our adoption to ever feel like it was a secret. We were excited about what was happening in our family and had been moved by our research on the need for adoptive parents. If us being open about our journey led to anyone else considering adoption, then it was a massive success. The second thing we wanted our fundraisers to be was fun. We didn’t want these events to feel like we’re just begging for money, we wanted people to have a good time and feel like they were really a part of our family.

With that in mind, we scheduled our biggest fundraiser yet, Can Our Yard Night. We invited everyone we knew, put an ad in the newspaper, and sent flyers to local church friends asking them to do one simple thing, come dump their aluminum cans in our yard. And so, on one Friday night, everyone came over and dumped piles and piles of cans in our yard. We had a great time getting to see all the friends, family, and even strangers who decided to help support us. The Saturday cleanup wasn’t quite as fun, but after over 600 pounds of aluminum were bagged, we’d made a huge step forward in our adoption journey.

We’ve been blessed in that, as the costs have come, we’ve always had more than enough to pay for everything. We know now, more than ever, that we’re doing what God intended for us to do, because He’s always made a way.

I can’t say we’ll never need to take out a loan. What I can say is that God has used this to build and strengthen our friendships and families, and has brought so many wonderful people into our lives throughout this process that we can say, without a doubt, that this has been the greatest blessing of our lives.

What Adoption Means to Me Part 4 – An Adoption Case Worker

November 23, 2023

This is the final post in a series illustrating the difference adoption has made in the lives of many different people. Thank you to all of you who support adoption and make stories like this possible. In this entry you’ll get to take a look at adoption through the eyes of Brooke LeMay, case worker for the Miriam Project. If you are looking for ways to get involved, you can start by giving a donation and signing up for our e-newsletter by clicking on the buttons to the right.

Brooke & Finn b&wA dear friend who was adopted from India, a mentor who adopted a sweet little girl in an open adoption, families at church adopting precious little girls from China, and babysitting for a family with foster children. As I look back now, I can see God weaving a passion for adoption into the very fabric of my being by way of the people he placed in my life and the experiences he allowed me to have.

I’ve always had nothing but respect for those who adopt children as well as for those selfless women who choose to place a child for adoption. It wasn’t until I started working at the Miriam Project, however, that I truly saw adoption for what it is- a beautiful heartbreak.

So much of adoption is beautiful- a child being welcomed into a loving family, couples who have longed to be parents finally having a son or daughter placed in their arms.  It’s enough to bring tears to one’s eyes.

But adoption is also messy — watching a woman who has carried a child for nine long months have her own heart broken for the sake of her child; or, a father letting go of his dreams for his child so the child can have a better life than the father is able to offer. The loss and sadness of these realities are, at times, almost too much to take.

When I began my work with the Miriam Project, I sometimes felt frozen between these two very different aspects of adoption- the joy and sorrow, the mourning and the celebration. How does one make sense of that?

Intellectually, I have always known that God makes sense of what we simply cannot; however, over the past six years my heart has come to understand what my head already knew. I have graciously been invited into many sacred moments as God has gloriously redeemed situations which never would have made sense to us.

To me, adoption is watching in awe as God weaves an exquisite tapestry of redemption from threads of heartache, longing, and surrender.

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