Blogger Julie Gumm says her passions are simple: in addition to God and her family, she has a heart and spirit for orphans and financial freedom. She’s combined these latter two passions in her new book, Adopt without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption.
Adopt without Debt begins by chronicling the hard journey Julie and her husband Mark took to becoming debt-free in 2008. With the help of financial programs by Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University, the couple pared down their budget, adjusted their lifestyle, and remained focused on their goals despite challenges and changes in employment.
At the same time they reached their goal to be debt free, Julie and her husband reached another milestone – both had been independently moved by stories of overseas orphanages and felt impressed that they should adopt one or more of these children. But with the average adoption costing $20,000 and more, they knew they would need to find a way to add to their family without compromising their desire to remain debt-free.
The methods they used to save money, make money, and apply for grants are all outlined in Adopt without Debt. Coupled with their own experiences are the stories and experiences of dozens of other adoptive families who sought creative ways to pay for adoption expenses.
The book clearly outlines everything from how to run large-scale garage sales, to selling on eBay and craigslist, from working with local business and restaurants as a non-profit to raise money, to the possibilities of collecting online donations. Gumm spells everything out, including the addition of website addresses, company names, and even a budget sheet at the back of the book.
Gumm says she was compelled to write the book because:
I wanted to give people hope. I know there are so many people who briefly consider adoption but, when they hear the price tag, they just dismiss it as an impossibility. For those who do press ahead, I want them to see that there are tons of fun ways to help with the cost. I know not everyone is going to be able to adopt “debt-free” but if the book is the difference between a $20,000 home equity loan and a $3,000 interest-free adoption loan then I’ll be thrilled!
When asked where she got all of the many fundraising ideas included in Adopt without Debt, she explained:
Lots of online research! Hours upon hours of cruising adoption blogs (and countless more hours when I got sucked into reading adoption stories). I posted inquires on various adoption groups but really my best results came when I found an idea on someone’s blog and then contacted them about it. All the families were excited to hear about the book idea and so great about sharing their ideas with me.
Julie notes that she continues to think up and receive tips on great ideas for fundraising, which she shares at the Adopt without Debt website. She also has plans to update the book on a yearly basis.
At the time of their adoption, Julie and Mark had two small children of their own. In regards to the many fundraising activities their family undertook for the adoption, Julie says of their daughter and son (Natalie and Noah):
For the most part they had great fun. They loved the big garage sale and even sold some of their things. It was a faith building exercise for them in some ways too although we didn’t share too many details with them. Luckily for us they were NOT use to extravagances so they probably didn’t even notice some of the sacrifices we were making. It was cool to see God provide some of the extras for us too – like friends who let us use their RV in CA for a cheap vacation.
The Gumms are now living their very own happy ending having adopted a brother and sister from Ethiopia – Luke and Beza. Adopt without Debt is their contribution to helping other families do the same.