Update: We met our initial goal and brought Ellie home in late April. She is a joy and you can see all sorts of pictures of her on Instagram. We will continue to leave the cookbook here, however, for anyone who makes a token gift. All further gifts will go directly to paying down debt from our first adoption.
One year ago, I launched my e-cookbook, Around the Catholic Table: 77 Recipes for Easy Hospitality. Our hope was that it would help us raise enough money to adopt a second child debt-free. By God’s grace, it did. And seven months after our fundraiser went live, we adopted a beautiful baby boy: Becket Christopher Martin Chapman.
After Becket’s birth, we spent three weeks with him in a NICU in Dallas. We arrived home, exhausted, but over the moon in love with our little man. We thought that maybe someday we would adopt again, but with a two-year-old and newborn preemie, we also knew that any future adoptions would have to wait. Our hands were full and our bank account was empty. Not six days later, though, my husband walked into the kitchen with some news. Our first son Toby’s birthparents were expecting again. They could not and would not parent. Would we?
Despite the tiny preemie in our arms, we unhesitatingly said yes.
That was five months ago. Now, with the baby due in early April, I am relaunching the cookbook I wrote for Becket’s adoption, in order to help us bring Toby’s sibling home.
Around the Catholic Table: 77 Recipes for Easy Hospitality and Everyday Dinners is an e-cookbook dedicated to cultivating a spirit of Christian hospitality in every heart.
- 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 e-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 Our Donors
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 $10. If you feel called to give more, you can, and we will be profoundly grateful. If you can only give $5, that’s great, too. We want to make it easy for everyone to help us, because every gift counts.
To donate and get the e-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. This will allow you to 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 donate via Venmo or check, reach out to me at my email account: email@example.com, and I will personally email you the cookbook.
Note: If you plan to print this cookbook, make sure to download the Mac Preview version (it will open on both Macs and PCs). Otherwise, optimal viewing online is in 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 prefer to use Preview to view PDFs, just download the Preview specific version.
Why An Adoption Fundraiser?
Domestic infant adoption helps mothers who are unable to parent find families they trust who can parent for them. It also offers couples like Chris and me, who have never been able to conceive, a beautiful way to share our love with a child.
Unfortunately, adoption is expensive. Most private newborn adoptions in the U.S. cost between $35,000 and $55,000. That money covers agency fees, legal fees, home study fees, court fees, and travel costs, plus living expenses and counseling for the expectant mother.
That number comes as a shock to many people, but 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 to choose life.
At the same time, these costs are simply too much for most families to bear. It’s also 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 2021 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 can parent their child now. 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.
Chris is a Catholic school teacher in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. I am a Catholic writer. We’ve both worked for religious non-profits for the past two decades, and since Toby and Becket’s adoptions were on the high end of the average range, we never could have afforded to adopt either of them without the support of our community. We financed Toby’s largely through a home equity loan, along with help from friends and family. We financed Becket’s through donations made to the Around the Catholic Table fundraiser.
If all goes as planned, the costs of adopting Toby’s sibling should be significantly lower than our two previous adoptions—most likely around $35,000, including the cost of travel. To help finance it, we have sold our second car and applied for several adoption grants. Unfortunately we haven’t had as much luck with those as hoped, so we’re looking to the cookbook fundraiser to make up the difference. Anything raised above the goal will be donated to the Sisters of Life.
Thank you for giving us that help, and, just as important, your prayers.