Around the Catholic Table Adoption Fundraiser

$51,000 Raised of $55,000 goal

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Marriage came late for me. Far later than I ever imagined or hoped it would. Through all my years of waiting, though, God showed me that if I opened my door to others, my home would never lack for life. And it hasn’t. My guests have brought laughter and wisdom and so much love into my home, and my life is infinitely richer for the people I’ve invited into it.

Now, as my husband and I seek to welcome home a second baby through adoption, I want to help you welcome more people into your home, too.

In order to help us fund this adoption, I’ve written an e-cookbook. But not just any e-cookbook. Around the Catholic Table: 77 Recipes for Easy Hospitality and Everyday Dinners is a cookbook dedicated to cultivating a spirit of Christian hospitality in every heart.

It features:

  • 77 easy-to-print recipes
  • Designed to feed a crowd;
  • Simple to prepare before guests arrive and with children underfoot;
  • Recipes for every occasion, from brunches and casual suppers to cocktail parties and cookouts;
  • And which take into account the most common food allergies, sensitivities and restrictions. Not all recipes are “food allergy friendly.” But, the majority of recipes are gluten-free, and every section includes dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian, or vegan recipes, all to make it easier for you to know what to cook when guests with food restrictions come to your home for a meal.

In addition to the recipes, this cookbook includes seven essays by me on hospitality, food, and practical aspects of hosting, plus more than 65 full-page photos.

So, how do you get Around the Catholic Table?

Our Gift to You

I’m not selling Around the Catholic Table. I’m giving it away to every person who contributes to our adoption fundraiser.

The minimum suggested donation is just $10. If you feel called to give more, you can and we will be profoundly grateful. But to get the cookbook, all we’re asking for is $10. We want to make it easy for everyone to help us, because every gift counts.

To get the cookbook immediately, using PayPal (which accepts all major credit cards), select your PDF viewer from the two options below, and click “Add to Cart.” When you checkout, you’ll see the suggested price is set at $0. Simply edit that amount to reflect your preferred donation, then continue with checkout. A copy of the cookbook will be automatically emailed to you to download.

If you prefer to send a check, reach out to me at my personal email account:

Note: This cookbook was designed to be read on Adobe Acrobat Reader, for both Macs and PCs. If you don’t have it, you can download it free here. If you have a Mac and use Preview to view PDFs, make sure to download the Preview specific version below.

IMG_8455  (Adobe Acrobat Version)   

IMG_8455  (Mac Preview Version)   

Our Adoption Story

Chris is a native Pittsburgher, who has worked in Catholic education for the past 24 years. He currently teaches theology to seniors at a local Catholic high school (pray for him!). Emily is a freelance Catholic writer, with a passion for cooking, hosting, and old houses. She first learned how to cook for a crowd in her early 20s, when she spent a year volunteering at two Christian retreat houses. There, she picked up a few tricks from visiting chefs, and still thinks cooking for 20 is easier than cooking for two.

Both of us always dreamed of a large family, but as Emily was 41 and Chris was 47 when we married, we knew “large” was out of the question. We hoped for at least a few children, though, and doctors assured us that was possible. Anticipating those babies’ arrival, we bought an old fixer upper a few months after our wedding in 2016 and began the hard work of keeping it upright (not even exaggerating). After 18 months of trying and failing to conceive (and Emily undergoing two surgeries to address possible causes of our infertility), we started praying about adoption. That’s when we were approached about an expectant mother who wanted us to parent her baby boy, who would be born in July 2018.

In the process of that adoption, we encountered many unexpected struggles and obstacles, but on July 25, 2018, our son Toby was born. In the months since, he has brought joy, laughter, and a whole lot of wonderful crazy to our lives. Raising him is, without question, our most treasured and important task in this life.

Over the past year, we have wrestled with pursuing another adoption. Given the costs and our extensive debt from Toby’s adoption, adopting another baby seemed like a pipe dream. We looked into foster care, but for many reasons, that’s not a good fit for us at this point. Through it all, though, we’ve not been able to shake the feeling that our family is not complete—that someone is missing. So, we decided to step out in faith and began working with the wonderful, ethical adoption consultants at Cradled in Grace. All money raised through this fundraiser will go towards a second adoption.

Why An Adoption Fundraiser?

Domestic infant adoption offers mothers who are unable to parent a way to find families they trust who can parent for them. It also enables many mothers, who would otherwise abort, to choose life for their child. And of course, it offers couples who long to share their love with a child a beautiful way to do so.

Unfortunately, adoption is expensive. Between agency fees, consultant fees, legal fees, social worker fees, support for the expectant mother, travel and accommodations for our family in another state for up to 3 weeks, and many other small costs that add up, we can expect to pay at least $45,000 (likely more) in adoption-related expenses.

That number comes as a shock to many people, but on one level, it makes sense. The process for one parent entrusting a baby to another is complicated, difficult, and rigorous. Many people have to be involved, and the expectant mother often needs a great deal of financial support in order for her to choose life.

At the same time, these costs are simply too much for most families to bear. Likewise, it’s shameful that so much money has to go to adoptions, instead of combatting the circumstances that leave mothers feeling unable to parent.

But, like it or not, this is the state of adoption in 2020 America. For many women choosing adoption, all the money in the world will not change their situation (or at least not change it anytime soon), and they need good families, who they can choose to parent their child. Good families, in turn, need to be available for those women and babies.

As Christians, we believe we have a duty to combat the systemic problems that lead to the separation of mother and child. We also have a desire to help the babies who need a home now, and can’t wait for systemic solutions. But we, like many families, need help to do that.

We are currently seeking to raise $45,000 which is what we need to cover direct adoption expenses. If we’re able to reach that goal, we will raise it to $55,000, so that we can cover travel expenses and allow Emily to have a brief maternity leave from her writing. If people still want the cookbook at that point, anything raised over our goal will be split between helping other wonderful adopting couples we know with their adoption expenses, and paying down debt from our first adoption. 

Thank you for giving us that help, and just as important, your prayers.