“All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
Charity Matters: Tell us a little about what Help Us Adopt does?
Becky Fawcett: Help Us Adopt began in 2007 at our kitchen table and an idea to help build families through adoption. Our platform was families combined with a commitment to equality, something everyone could believe in. The brutal reality is that over 100 million children in the world need homes and adoption is the answer. We didn’t want to tell those children that people can’t afford to adopt, we wanted to be the ones who make their adoptions a reality. We do that by raising funds to provide grants to people who need financial support to begin their families.
Charity Matters: What was the moment you knew you needed to act and start Help Us Adopt?
Becky Fawcett: I was raised that we were fortunate, there will always be people with more and always with less but more importantly, be grateful for what you have. When my husband Kipp and I realized that Invetro Fertilization (IVF) wasn’t going to work and adoption was going to cost $40,000 I thought, what would happen if we didn’t have this money? I knew how much motherhood meant to me and that I could just barely afford this, but where would I have gone if I didn’t have the resources? So, I began to look for organizations that helped families to fund adoptions and couldn’t find one that didn’t dictate how someone adopts.
I never intended to start this. My original intention was to give my marketing and pr skills as a volunteer to an existing grant organization. The more I looked I realized that the only existing organizations were limited in their thinking, giving small amounts of money to help fund adoptions, charging expensive application fees and were really patching the problem. These organizations were dictating how someone adopts. I thought who am I to tell families that they have to fit the traditional mold to adopt? Everyone grows up dreaming of a family. We knew we wanted to support all who had a dream of having a family.
That is why I started this because it just didn’t exist. So in 2007, I set out to tell this story that I knew I had to tell. Raising the initial funds was easy, until the recession….
Charity Matters: What are your biggest challenges?
Becky Fawcett: Our biggest challenge is raising money. Finding big angel donors is a lot of hustle for the million plus dollars we raise a year. Finding those donors who are investment donors. The other challenge is that there is still a stigma about adoption and a lot of misinformation about adoption out there and what makes a family. It is frustrating the language used around adoption.
Charity Matters: What fuels you to keep doing this work?
Becky Fawcett: So many things, number one thing is that a lot of people thought we would fail and we have succeeded. Strangers have come to us and want to get involved, which is huge. We are doing groundbreaking work not just for adoption but for family equality. I love leading the charge here and I have become very comfortable with the uncomfortable.
I love building things and I believe Help Us Adopt can be even bigger. The last and most important thing is that helping people is infectious!
Charity Matters: When do you know you have made a difference?
Becky Fawcett: The minute we read an application from a family I know we are going to make a difference. When we award a grant we know we have moved the needle. We relieve families from debt in some cases, in some situations our funding helps to speed up the process of adopting their child. I know we help people the minute that grant is awarded. When the child gets home that is when the story starts getting told.
We can watch our work grow up before our eyes and that makes me SO excited! When we watch these children grow up and get Christmas and birthday cards of these beautiful families. Adoption is my world, this is my children’s lives and I need to make it better for everyone. For my children, for their birth mothers and all birth mothers who make the most difficult decisions in the face of adversity that none of us will ever understand. I am advocate for them and their rights as well and I never expected to be here.
Charity Matters: Tell us what success you have had? What has your impact been?
Becky Fawcett: Help Us Adopt is now in our 12th year and are awarding on average a family a week a grant. When we started Help Us Adopt we only had $100,000 to award. Now, we have four grant cycles at $150,000 each year and our average grants are about nine thousand dollars. This puts us at helping a family a week for 2019.
A lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into this. It is hard work but a steady progressive upward climb. Everything we do is slightly different and we run our nonprofit like a business. Our issue is a unique and such an untold story. People think it is easy to adopt and that it should be free. When we start to tell people the challenges in adoption and about the children that need homes, people say, “I had no idea what can I do? ” Every single donor big or small makes a big difference by helping the life of a child. We put kids in homes and build families and everyone can relate to building a family.
Charity Matters: What life lessons have you learned from this experience?
Becky Fawcett: I know that every job I have ever had lead me to this. I have learned to always ask, the worst thing that can happen is that someone can say no. People are waiting to be asked. Tell people you need help they want to help.
Charity Matters: How has this journey changed you?
Becky Fawcett: I don’t even know how to put that into words. I know I am not the person I was fourteen years ago. I am such a better version of myself in so many ways. The biggest change has been my level of compassion. I think I am much more aware now that you really never know what someone is dealing with. I didn’t tell people what I was going through when I struggled to have children. I’ve learned I have had to trust strangers, my children’s birth mothers and so many others along the way. I know I’m far from perfect but I do know the instant love I had with my children has changed my life forever.
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