Adoptee rights advocates who work to change discriminatory laws almost always work long and hard hours for free, and many go into debt to do so. That’s not right.
If you already know where I’m going with this, feel free to click on one of these buttons to make a tax-deductible donation toward the expenses of securing equality for all adult adoptees. If you need to know what I’m getting at, then skip the buttons and read on. I hope you’ll be convinced.
Donations of any amount are welcome and can be made here.
All of my own legislative work on behalf of adoptees is done for free. As is the work by Annette O’Connell in New York, Shawna Hodgson in Texas, Susie Stricker in Maryland, impacted intercountry adoptees in D.C. and elsewhere, and Marley Greiner just about everywhere else. There are dozens of other advocates in the same boat (hello, Arizona and Massachusetts)—working for free to benefit thousands of adoptees on issues involving basic human rights and equality.
While working for free is often a given, we rarely discuss the personal debt and expenses many of us incur while doing that work for free. Websites, printed materials, gas, airfare, hotels, email apps, productivity software, Lyft rides—none of it is free. These expenses usually come straight out of our own pockets. In the last two years I’ve spent more than $4,000.00 of my own money (well, to be accurate it’s mostly been my spouse’s money—Hi, Nancy!). Annette has spent thousands and Shawna at least as much. All in the service of securing equal rights for you and for others, whether in New York (yay!), Texas (crossing fingers), or in the other states that Adoptees United is hoping to move to equality (you’re on, Maryland, DC, and Virginia).
We need your support financially to make this necessary work successful. The burden of that work—while it can be shared at times while walking the legislative halls with us or making emails and phone calls in response to action alerts—should not fall so directly and hard on those that do it time in and time out every day. We need your help by funding the purchase of resources we absolutely need.
This isn’t a complaint. While we often tear out our hair and cuss like we never thought possible, it is generally rewarding work to push for legislative change on the basis of equality. But it shouldn’t come at an untenable financial price to those who do it. Wherever you are, whatever your situation, a simple $10.00 donation goes straight toward expenses that Adoptees United tries to cover for on-the-ground advocates. This includes:
- Website Hosting. This covers all the websites that AU hosts, including its own. These include TXARC, NYARC, the Capitol Coalition for Adoptee Rights, and web hosting additional state and regional organizations;
- Printed Materials. We supply printed materials to local organizations that commit to equality and unrestricted equal rights legislation. This includes palm or rack cards, flyers, booklets, reports, and postcards for use in various campaigns, almost always to educate legislators.
- Email Databases. We are building a combined database of more than 5,000 emails and growing, all centralized so that we can target communications effectively across the country. To get the most out of that resource, however, we need to pay for premium email marketing and database services, such as MailChimp.
- Legislative Tracking. We subscribe to LegiNation’s BillTrack50 service to track adoptee-related legislation in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and US Congress. It’s already made a huge difference in being on top of bills that impact adoptees, as well as providing legislative information needed to educate advocates on those bills. We currently publish the results of this resource here, and I’m also transferring my law firm’s bill analysis function to Adoptees United so that it permanently becomes a charitable and educational benefit to the public, not just a private law firm’s pet project.
- Travel Expenses. Constant travel to state houses or Congress to testify about bills or to meet with legislators and other advocates adds up fast. In two weeks, for instance, I’ll be going to Maryland to testify in favor of SB0743. The price? About $500 for a cheap late-night flight, inexpensive lodging, and a rental car. Local advocates’ travel expenses also add up and should be reimbursed whenever possible.
- Other Special Projects, like the DNA Project or the fund to assist intercountry adoptees with USCIS filing fees and expenses.
All of these things are necessary and make real differences in building a movement. But the expenses should be shared more widely by the movement and not borne solely by the people who are doing hard work for the public good. We think you can help. We know you can. Please contribute by sending us a tax-deductible donation.
And if it helps to know, yes, I’ve donated nearly $1,000 already to AU, in addition to all the free work I have just described. It’s that important to me. I hope it is that important to you—and to all of us.