Ben and Jaimie Homan are running a Christmas tree stand at the base of the Citrus Tower in Clermont, FL to raise money for the adoption of their third child. They started with 200 trees on Black Friday, and they are down to about 60. The couple has been approved for adoption and matched with an 11-month-old girl in India. This is their first time ever running a tree stand, as Ben’s expertise is in web design, but they are having fun and learning along the way.
The Citrus Tower, owned by Ben’s father, hosts an annual Christmas event throughout the whole month of December. There is a light show, along with music and snow. As an added treat, Ben and Jaimie are handing out hot chocolate and candy canes to visitors. Ben’s brother owns Highlight Market, a home décor store, next door. The addition of the Christmas tree stand by him and his wife seemed very fitting. Prior to Black Friday he took a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, rented a 26 ft box truck, and drove 2 hours north to get the trees. Ben and Jaimie felt that earning money through this side work would be a better alternative for than asking for donations. International adoptions can cost up to around $40,000.
The couple used to live in India for Ben’s work. They saw the conditions that the orphanages there were in and felt compelled to do something. Before leaving to come back to the US they started a nonprofit to support the orphanages. They always knew that they wanted to adopt at some point. Ben remembers fondly the adoption of his little sister; Jaimie used to work with kids who had been placed after abuse. “We knew that one day we wanted to adopt a child from outside the country to give at least one more child hope,” Ben said. “There are all kinds of rules and regulations in some of these places but we applied as soon as we were able.” Even though they have been matched with a child, it’s not set in stone that she is the child they will get to adopt. Jaimie says, “We are just going on hope.”