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Crowd funding for a good cause

Local family looks to community for help in adoption process


Newberg residents Tony and Heidi Rourke thought they were done having children. They thought their family — son Ryan, 14, and daughter Emma, 11 — was complete.

They thought they were done with dirty diapers, done with baby food, done with sleepless nights bent over an infant who refuses to be comforted. by: GARY ALLEN - Called to adopt -- Heidi and Tony Rourke and their two children, 14-year-old Ryan and 11-year-old Emma, prepare for a new addition to their family as they have begun the search to adopt twin infants through a nonprofit Christian agency in Portland, All God's Children.

But — as they see it — God had other plans. Tony Rourke said it all began in April, when — during his solo runs preparing for his first marathon — he started feeling like God was preparing him and his family for “something big.”

The Rourkes sat down with their children and discussed what causes they might like to get more involved in as a family. Two rose to the top: taking care of kids and feeding the hungry.

“That’s where it started snowballing for me,” said Tony Rourke, an underwriter for the insurance company LifeMap and also the chairman of Newberg’s Citizens’ Rate Review Committee and president of the Newberg Soccer Club. “Eventually, I started feeling like he wanted us to adopt, and he wanted us to adopt siblings.”

At first, the Rourkes said they were terrified.

“Yeah,” Tony said with a chuckle, “because we’re not spring chickens anymore. We thought we were past little kids.”

But the faith that led them to the conviction in the first place, also convinced them that it was the right path to continue on.

“We’re not called to understand,” said Heidi Rourke, who holds a master’s in teaching and homeschools both of her children. “We feel we’re just called to obey and have a willing heart.”

Their vision began to take more shape in November, after they asked for a prayer meeting at their house with family as well as their pastor and friends from Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin. They said the experience confirmed the calling, in that a number of people also felt the Rourkes were being called to adopt.

But the meeting also added a new wrinkle, as Tony and Heidi began to feel that they were being asked to adopt not just siblings, but twins. They fully acknowledge that the probability of a set of twins being born and put up for open adoption is so low it’s practically “mathematically impossible,” but that doesn’t appear to cause them any concern.

“God can do anything,” Heidi said.

After researching adoption organizations across the state, they settled on All God’s Children, a nonprofit Christian agency based in Portland. They’re still undergoing the home study process but say they’re confident they’ll be approved, and the agency — which operates domestically and internationally — is aware and on-board with their desire to adopt twins, specifically.

The Rourkes have already begun talking with their biological children about the new additions (“They’re both excited and ready to help,” Heidi says) and rearranging their home to allow for “baby-proofing” and a new nursery.

The one remaining consideration is the expense. Agency adoption — even within the United States — is expensive, costing anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000. And — not having planned to adopt until the past year — they admit they don’t have that kind of money “sitting in a closet somewhere.”

They’re exploring some creative ways to fill that gap. They plan on applying for grants and no-interest loans for which they might be eligible once their home study is complete (a prerequisite for most grants). In the meantime, they’ve turned to an option that’s more commonly associated with entrepreneurship and business startups than charitable causes and philanthropic giving: crowd funding.

“The crowd funding approach makes sense for businesses, because businesses can give you something in return,” Tony Rourke said. “But the more research I did, I saw people are doing crowd funding for things like mission trips, even adoption. It’s really about leaning on the community you live in to help you out.”

Their campaign on GoFundMe went live in December and has already collected nearly $2,500 of their $30,000 goal.

When asked why they believe they have been called to adopt, both are silent and thoughtful for a moment before Heidi chimes in.

“We’re just really blessed,” she said, mentioning their supportive extended family and their church. “I think the Lord is saying, ‘I gave you so much, and now I’m asking you to give something back.’”

For more information on the Rourkes and their crowd funding campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/Rourke-Twins.




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  • 19 Dec 2014

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