November is National Adoption Month, and what better way is there to celebrate this year than by shining a light on a local mom who has worked for 10 years to change the lives of hundreds of families through adoption?
Becky Fawcett always knew she wanted to be a mom, and now as a mother to her son, Jake, and daughter, Brooke, she has the family she always dreamed of, but it wasn’t an easy road. Her struggle with pregnancy, IVF, and finally, adoption, was her inspiration for creating Help Us Adopt, an organization that helps to financially assist families hoping to adopt children 10 years ago.
Following many fertility treatments, and three devastating miscarriages, Fawcett stayed optimistic. “It still never occurred to me that I would never have a live birth,” Fawcett says. “A lot of people have miscarriages, it’s very common, so I kept moving forward with blinders on.”
The price for fertility treatments is no small sum, and the same goes for adoption. According to Fawcett, she and her husband spent almost $200,000 (after tax dollars) on IVF and adoption costs to have their two children. “We spent a lot of money on infertility, we were not spending beyond our means, but we blew through our savings trying to have children,” Fawcett explains.
Emotionally and financially drained, Fawcett and her husband decided on adoption. They had $40,000 left in their savings—“the exact amount to adopt a child to the penny,” Fawcett says. This was the breakthrough moment for her, fearing that if she had not had this money, she wouldn’t have become a mother. She knew she had to take action so others, who didn’t have the exact amount of money to adopt, could still start a family. “What would have happened if I had been denied being a mother because of my bank account? It would’ve been a very sad life,” she says. Her experience with adoption and passion for working with families sparked Help Us Adopt.
Now celebrating its tin anniversary, Help Us Adopt receives grants from donors to give to families who want to adopt, but aren’t quite there on the cost. Since 2007, the organization has helped “build” 218 families and awarded over $1.9 million in grants to help families adopt children. She credits her success and ability to receive donations to her simple break-down of adoption. “If people can’t afford to adopt, what happens to these children who need to be adopted?” Fawcett notes, adding: “Every kid deserves a chance.” This explanation has broadened the horizons of people who didn’t even think they cared about adoption, but are now some of her biggest donors.
Grants are awarded three times a year, making Fawcett and her team the ones who have to make the decision about who will receive the financial assistance. “We really look at special circumstances around the child or children. Fawcett explains, “It’s a very hard decision. If I had $5 million a year to give away, my life would be a lot less stressful, because we say ‘no’ to people for no other reason other than that I just don’t have enough funds to go around.” Donors are especially drawn to the organization because of the transparent use of money. “You see where your money goes. I can show you pictures of these kids. People can watch these kids grow up. You think of what your money can do when you give to charities, our outcome is very unique,” Fawcett says. The organization is grateful to all donors, both big and small, because no matter what money you can give, it goes toward helping a child in need be part of a family.
For Fawcett, it was important to keep their services open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. “It’s very simple. The more people you offer to help, the more children are going in homes,” she says. Help Us Adopt’s main focus was to show that everyone has the right to have their voices heard, and this equality will help more kids. “I didn’t want to put a lot of parameters around this organization because everybody’s struggle is their own, everybody’s struggle is unique, and everybody has a story,” she explains. Her priority is helping create families, and not creating a barrier for potential adoptive parents is part of that.
Fawcett’s organization has proved to be not just a financial aid to hundreds, but also an emotional resource to even more as a support system. She cites her time struggling with infertility and adoption as both brutal and lonely.
“I couldn’t find people who wanted to talk about this stuff,” Fawcett says, “Every step of the way, people have said ‘Thank you for talking to me and thank you for saying this stuff out loud.’ It’s important to talk about a conversation that is so vitally important, and for some reason, people don’t want to have.” Her strength and passion has created a platform that didn’t just focus on the adoption community, but broadened this need and got people to believe and support this adoption cause.
Looking forward, Fawcett and Help Us Adopt are celebrating 10 well-spent years perfectly timed to National Adoption Month this November. She reflects on the great work she has done as well as works towards growth of the organization in the future. Fawcett’s goals include hopefully hiring another person to raise money faster, as well as adding a fourth grant cycle to their year. “As we increase, we will increase money to those quarters. It’s very simple. I just need capital. I don’t need big fancy offices, I don’t need a huge gigantic staff, I may need one more person, and then I need an angel donor,” Fawcett says. “If it’s that easy to save a life, why not give?”
To learn more, visit helpusadopt.org!