Not long after the adoption of our son Noah, we asked one another, “After everything we went through to become parents, would we do it again?” The answer was an obvious, unequivocal, “Yes!” We considered ourselves very fortunate to have faced the many challenges that met us along the way, including the pain of loss, the struggle with infertility, and the uncertainty and frustration that comes during the adoption process.
We also reflected on the desire to give back to a community that had been so supportive and respectful of our desire to adopt a child. One idea that arose during our journey was to help people better understand the process of adoption. This came about when several of our friends who were also fighting a brave, yet frustrating battle against infertility, expressed an interest in adoption and a curiosity of how to begin the process.
In March 2011, we started the Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation in honor of our adopted son Noah. Our mission is to empower couples and individuals (who have struggled with infertility) with knowledge of the adoption process, and to assist them with supportive grants so that they may successfully build a family through domestic adoption. We chose to focus our efforts domestically because during our journey, we saw many children in need. The majority of them were bound for, or already in, the foster care system. Our son would have entered into that system had we not adopted him.
By sharing our story and the process we went through, we feel strongly that other couples like us might have an easier time navigating through the adoption process. We hope to help reduce frustration when researching adoption information. We want to provide some sort of financial support to help with the burden of the many associated costs.
In many cases, when couples or individuals decide to adopt, it is possible their financial resources have been depleted due to the high costs of fertility treatments. In our experience, there was limited financial aid available for domestic adoption. Especially for middle income families. As Dave Thomas, an adoptee and founder of Wendy’s and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, remarked, “People ask me, ‘What about gay adoptions? Interracial? Single parent?’ I say, ‘Hey, fine, as long as it works for the child and the family is responsible. My big stand is this: Every child deserves a home and love. Period.’” We share and embrace this view.
Partnering with local medical providers allows us to receive beneficiary referrals. Our beneficiaries are those who have previously and unsuccessfully gone through fertility treatment, and have made the decision to pursue domestic adoption as the way to build their family. Medical professionals providing treatment–such as reproductive endocrinologists–recommend the services of the foundation to their patients. Depending on what stage they may be at in their adoption journey, the foundation provides targeted, one-on-one assistance. No two journeys are the same. The foundation is 100% run by volunteers–a board of directors and an advisory committee whose members have personally experienced adoption, infertility, or both. This enables all funds raised to go directly to its beneficiaries.
While the foundation operates in North Carolina only, our goal is to export it’s operations model to others interested in carrying out similar work across the country. By partnering with others who share our passion for adoption, we hope to see an increase in available resources for those wishing to parent; thus ensuring their dreams are fulfilled.
Written by: Parul Patel and Nathaniel Goetz, co-founders of the Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation. The foundation may be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NoahGoetzFoundation.
Photo Credits: Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation