‘Bottle’ fund-raiser helps adoptive families

Published 12:10 am Thursday, November 13, 2008

During the time it takes to read this article approximately 20 children will become orphans, and one local resident hopes to help find “forever families” for those children in need.

Laura Wilkinson created the Adoption Assistance Program last year by asking local residents and businesses to donate their spare change to fill baby bottles in support of adoptive families. The program raised approximately $1,000 that was later given to two adoptive families and the children they had welcomed into their homes. The fund-raiser will take place during the month of November, which is National Adoption Month in the U.S.

Wilkinson, who is joined this year by Christy Copeland and Kitty Wyatt, hopes the program will reach more homes and help more children find “forever families.”

“We really hoped to find a local family last year, but we didn’t,” she said. “This year we have three local families we will help with domestic adoptions to help support children here in the United States. As of now we have seven families total that we look to help with funds raised through this project. If we can find more local families, then we would be more than happy to help them with the adoption process.”

Anyone interesting in collecting funds for the program may obtain donation bottles at Pack-N-Ship located on River Falls Street in Andalusia. Funds raised by the program will help to support families who have already signed up with an adoption agency.

“It does not matter what stage of the process the family is currently completing,” she said. “It does not matter if the family is adopting domestically or internationally.

“Many of the families will not have their baby yet, but all of them will have started the process and the paperwork for the adoption,” she added. “One of the families we will be helping has already completed the paperwork and will probably have the baby before we provide them with a donation, but that is very uncommon.”

Wilkinson said each bottle will hold approximately $20 in donations and each penny donated speaks to a family searching to adopt a child.

“I obviously have a real heart for adoption and for helping people who are adopting, both financially and emotionally,” she said. “It is a hard journey sometimes. Some people start the process of adoption because they have gone through infertility issues, so they have already experienced that heartbreak. It is important to help those people financially, but it is also important to come alongside those people and let them know they are not alone. It is a very beautiful way to build your family.”

According to the United Nations, 300 million children worldwide do not have parents to care for them, 5,760 children are orphaned each day and approximately 240 are orphaned each hour.

For more information about the Adoption Assistance Program contact Laura Wilkinson at (334) 222-3987.