|Foundation helps off-set high cost of adoption|
|Monday, January 9, 2012|
Discovering first-hand just how expensive it is to adopt a child lead a local woman to establish a non-profit organization to assist other couples who wish to adopt.
Hendersonville native Amy Eatherly and her husband, Michael, decided to adopt a child from Ethiopia in the summer of 2010. Soon after that decision was made, they realized that a major effort would have to take place to generate the $25-$30,000 that would be needed.
“We figured out pretty quick that it was going to be very expensive and that we were going to have to get busy to raise some money,” Amy said. “We started having yard sales and other fund raising events but we decided it would take more than that to get the job done.”
Eatherly, a teacher who taught for two years at Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Hendersonville, decided to adopt a child from Ethiopia after taking a couple of African Studies classes in college. “I learned a lot about the AIDS and orphan crisis in African and really just developed a heart for the people of Africa,” she said. “Ethiopia is one of the countries that don’t have an age requirement on prospective adoption parents.”
Eatherly, 25, and her husband are both graduates of Station Camp High School. Michael works in Nashville as a computer programmer.
Amy’s mother, Lynn Porter, joined in her efforts to raise funds and the two began doing some research. They soon discovered 147 Million Orphans, a Nashville-based adoption support non-profit organization.
“This organization led us to selling necklaces made by women in Uganda using material from recycled magazines,” Eatherly explained. “We began going to craft fairs and selling the necklaces. This not only helped us raise some money but it supported these women with little means in Uganda.”
Amy and her mother continued to research and found more unique products, including purses and scarves, through another non-profit organization called African Hope Crafts, a Christian job creation ministry designed to empower the disadvantaged and those suffering with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
“We Google everything,” Eatherly said to answer a question about how they located these organizations. “We feel that by using these two organizations, we are not only meeting our goal but our purchases help support their local economy, gives the disadvantaged a job and helps them support their families.”
As the two continued to fundraise at craft fairs and bazaars, it became evident that the high cost was preventing many people from adopting children in need of a home.
“Every time we were out explaining what we were raising money for, dozens of people would come up and tell us their story of wanting to adopt but being stopped by the expense,” Porter explained. “They would tell us that they would love to adopt but just can’t afford it.”
Their passion for the cause led to the formation of Support Adoption Foundation (SAF), a 501(C)3 established by Eatherly and Porter to share what they have learned and help others go through the fundraising and adoption process.
“We’ve raised enough money to allow us to mail in our paperwork for our adoption,” said Eatherly, who said the whole process takes between 12 and 18 months. “Now we want to show others how they can use these methods to raise money for their adoptions and provide some grant money as well.”
Porter, a nurse by trade who spent five years working at Hendersonville Medical Center, did most of the paperwork to get the newly-formed non-profit chartered. “We met with an attorney and have established our by-laws, set a board of directors, and taken care of all the legal paperwork,” she said.
SAF will show those wanting to raise money for an adoption how to raise the first $15,000 required for agency fees and a home study needed to get approved. After that, another $10-$15,000 is needed to make trips to visit the orphanages, meet with officials and make all needed arrangements. A good portion of this money is need for travel expenses. SAF plans to offer some grants from their fundraising to help with this part of the expense.
Although it has been a lot of work, both women say it has been their passion and worth every bit of effort. “We have heard so many heartbreaking stories that we felt like we had to do something,” Porter said. “We want to find a home for every child because everyone deserves love.”
Since the organization is so new, efforts are still underway to setup a website, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts. Anyone interested in helping SAF should contact Porter at 590-7978.
by Randy Cline