The Petersen’s suddenly found themselves in a position to adopt a boy who knew no other family. Funds had to be raised quickly with minimal fees or effort. They used Give. Here’s their story.
As foster parents, the Petersens had fantasized for many-a-newborn (like a dozen of them) and what it would be like to get to keep one, but knew it wasn’t in the cards because each one has a family who has also been waiting.
The Petersens had invested much of their hearts and souls, dreaming of life with Parker growing up with their six-year-old.
When they heard on Tuesday that there was no more adoptive family, they stepped out and took a risk, asking to be considered — without an adoptive profile.
They said, “Sure! That would be ideal – He’s the only family he’s ever known and you’re already mutually attached.”
Cause: Adoption Fees – Right Quick
What they didn’t expect was their terms to make it official. The agency required a payment of $10,000 in legal fees by January 13, 2016, to continue the case, which is expected to happen in March.
If they win the case, then they enter the next phase of adoption fees. Regardless, the legal fees are due up-front and are non-refundable, as they go directly to the legal team.
Extra work and garage sales are a nice idea but they had an immediate need and yet their conscience wouldn’t allow them to wash their hands of Parker because of money alone.
“How do you put a price on a life? We can’t seem to do it. He is precious to us as if he were our own blood, just as our other adopted son is. His adoption was free through the state, but Parker is with a private agency, which is where this became a different scenario. We 100% don’t want money to be the reason Parker doesn’t get to have a smooth life, as well as the trauma on our 6-year-old and us. Money comes and goes, but our love for this little guy was never going to go away. The pain would only dim, but never disappear.”
If the case is successful, the only thing remaining is to continue with the adoption fees and complete six home visits from their social worker. The initial phase of legal fees includes some unpaid expenses to the biological mother that were never paid, so that is why the goal for Phase 1 is $12,000.
At this point third-party expenses includes everything to see the adoption happen and can be wildly different from estimates, so Phase 2 is $25k. They will be updating the itemized list on the site to detail third-party expenses and the amounts better now that we got more info.
How Jesse Used Give
When they heard that they had to pay legal fees to proceed with the adoption, they were overwhelmed. Timing couldn’t be worse as estimated taxes are due every January and Jesse had an ER visit with three-day hospital stay right before Christmas, followed by a heart procedure the day after they found out Parker was available for adoption. Raising that amount of money within one week seemed impossible.
Initially, Jesse started a GoFundMe page but there were some complications. First, while he was still writing copy, their account was frozen. GoFundMe was rejecting their campaign since it involved “the defense or support of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity.” That wasn’t true, and so it got cleared. But Jesse then also considered the 5% on top of payment gateway fees that it would cost them. Lastly, they wouldn’t be able to pull any money from GoFundMe until 5 days after it was donated. With Stripe it’s only 2 days. All these things together got Jesse thinking he needed a different solution.
As a Genesis Recommended Developer, Jesse used No Sidebar Pro and one of his DigitalOcean droplets for hosting the site. He quickly added SSL using Let’sEncrypt.org (free SSL) and surpriseadoption.com was secure and ready to do transactions with Stripe.
Not exaggerating, Jesse had the form on the homepage widget and the Our Parker Story complete and active in about 20 minutes. He made some option choices with the buttons and text and then quickly purchased the Stripe add-on. Suddenly surpriseadoption.com had two payment options available.
With little time to lose, Jesse tweeted it out at 3:30 pm Eastern Time. By midnight, they had $8,485 donated by 52 people. Needless to say their minds were blown. Since then, they have exceeded Phase 1’s goal and some are still giving, with another $4,290 by 37 more people in only 4 days after launch.
— Jesse Ⓦ Petersen (@jpetersen) January 9, 2016
Because of the community’s generosity, the Petersens were able to send the agency the $10,500 check to secure legal representation for Parker’s case. They also have the money available as expenses start rolling in.
Jesse estimated that roughly 70% of all their donors were people from the WordPress community. Another strong testimony of how generous and familial the WordPress community is. We’re thankful to be a part of it!
As adoptive parents, they will begin receiving bills for his case from the agency, as well become responsible for all of the requisite background checks, notarized statements, the home study, and all of his baby expenses at the store, etc. Yeah, being on the fostering side of the equation is a lot cheaper!
He highly recommends Give.
“I can say, without a doubt, that Give is the best tool for self-hosting your fundraising needs. If you know how to use WordPress and know anything about being on a host that allows for an SSL or you can install one yourself with Let’s Encrypt for free, then you’re already almost done.”
The Petersen family is humbled by the outpouring of support of their friends, family, and complete strangers.
“Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.”
It’s wonderful to see so many willing hearts reach out to change the life of a child and watch the community gather around this family to help. It warms our hearts and reminds us of the whole reason we built Give in the first place.
Check out their story on the website surpriseadoption.com and consider helping them with Phase 2.