Crowdsourcing adoptions

"Crowdsourcing adoptions" Continued...

Issue: "Rejecting religious liberty," June 15, 2013

“These families are caring for a kid who will no longer be a burden on society,” Fortener said. “Why can’t I take a kid who has no one? Why does it make sense for couples to pay $90,000 to help a child? As a culture, it’s whack.” 

His vision is to give friends, family, and the church a chance take part in a family’s adoption process, which creates a community around the baby even before he or she comes home. Many of the donors stay in these children’s lives and are even considered extended family for the adopted child (see sidebar below).

For now, AdoptTogether relies completely on volunteers for everything from web development to video production, and volunteers include the Forteners and members of Mosaic church. 

In April the Wittigs finally were matched with a little boy in Uganda. It could take up to a year before he comes to their home, as they await a court date, make trips to Uganda, and apply for a visa and U.S. passport for their son. The process has included “a flood of emotion,” Andrea said. “Just to proceed to the next step—to have a name and a story and a face—it’s overwhelming and it’s amazing.”

Disappointment and celebration

One couple’s down-and-up AdoptTogether experience

TOGETHER: Bill, Manny, and Nicole.
Jalisco Wayne
TOGETHER: Bill, Manny, and Nicole.

Bill and Nicole Radtke decided to adopt a baby from the Los Angeles area after discovering they were infertile in 2011. They created an AdoptTogether profile in early 2012. Bill, a filmmaker, shot short video updates for their friends and families to follow them through their adoption process. 

Last July, the Radtkes got a call from an 18-year-old expectant mother who wanted to meet the couple, and soon they were officially matched. The Radtkes uploaded a video on their AdoptTogether page to share the news, and many friends donated money and called to congratulate them.

But a few days later, the woman disappeared, completely cutting off contact with the agency and the Radtkes. For a month the couple remained in limbo, unsure if the expectant mother would come back or not. Nicole said having their supporters share in the experience “made it easier for us because we knew we weren’t the only ones grieving. I think it was unexpected how attached people were to our adoption journey even before Manny was born.”

In September the Radtkes were matched with another mother who was expecting her baby in a couple of weeks. The Radtkes admitted they were more reserved this time, holding back their expectations until the baby was actually in their arms. They continued updating their friends and family by video, and even brought a camera into the hospital the morning Manny was born. By the time they brought him home in October, they had raised the $23,000 they needed. 

The couple said it was beautiful to see friends, some of whom they didn’t know very well, sacrifice to help them start a family. Their investment in Manny also led to a special relationship with the baby. 

“We saw that the people who gave the most, sacrificed the most, became like family,” Bill said. “It created this bond, it was more than just they like being around Manny and seeing him, they literally felt like his aunts and uncles. It’s a very beautiful way to see so many people come together for this baby.” 

The Sunday the Radtkes walked into Mosaic church with baby Manny in their stroller, their supporters showered them with a hero’s welcome: “It was awesome,” Fortener said, “like Caesar coming back from war.”—A.L.

Angela Lu
Angela Lu

Angela is a reporter for WORLD Magazine who lives and works in Taiwan. She enjoys cooking, reading, and storytelling. Follow Angela on Twitter @angela818.


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