Mom Resorts to Selling Her Wedding Ring So She Can Afford to Adopt a Baby

Zaundia KlingbielZaundia Klingbeil and husband Enoch were two weeks away from becoming approved as foster parents when the call came. A woman was pregnant, and she wanted to place her child for adoption. Would the Klingbeils be interested in adopting the baby girl?

After 13 miscarriages, including the loss of twins at 18 weeks gestation, Zaundia Klingbeil said it was God playing a role in her life. She fell to her knees, thankful. But then came the questions: after the medical bills from all those miscarriages and numerous fertility treatments, could the couple afford adoption?

And then an idea. Zaundia could sell her wedding ring.

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"Material things can't come to the grave," the Fargo, North Dakota, mom tells The Stir. "I told my husband, 'I'd much rather have a hand holding a baby without a sparkle on it than an empty hand with a sparkle on it.'"

Not an easy decision, but one that's been making waves ever since.

Zaundia put an ad up on a local garage sale site two weeks ago, and news began to spread. Soon she was getting calls from local media -- and eventually an offer from a local business, High Point Networks, to match donations (up to $8,000) to a GoFundMe site, a site that soon went viral. 

The Klingbeils are the latest in a wave of would-be parents who have turned to the Internet to help fund their adoption, but it's a choice Zaundia makes clear was not her first choice.

In fact, adoption was not the couple's original plan. They welcomed son Elias 11 years ago and thought another pregnancy would be easy. But it wasn't. Zaundia's menstrual cycle has never been regular, and in more than a decade since welcoming their first son, they've encountered hurdle after hurdle -- from miscarriages to early deliveries. In March 2011, Zaundia was only 18 weeks pregnant when she delivered sons Ezekiel and Lucas. Both boys died.

"With all the other miscarriages, it was hard, but I still felt like I was the mom of one," she said. "After we lost the twins, I felt like I was a mom of three but with only one child."

Although the Klingbeils got pregnant again in 2014 and lost the baby before ever hearing the heartbeat, it was the loss of the twins that Zaundia says was really the last straw.

Enoch Klingbiel
Enoch and Elias
"We look at it as if we were able to do that, able to give our children back to God, we obviously have a lot to give," she recalls.

That's when they started the process to become foster parents, with the hope that they could one day adopt a foster child. "Ultimately, we were just praying that God would give us the right child," Zaundia explains.

The call for the Klingbeils to adopt couldn't have come at a more complicated time. Not only were they in the midst of the foster care approval process, but they were moving into a new home in Fargo. Still, the call was an answer to their prayers. To protect the privacy of the biological mother, Zaundia will only say that it came from the friend of a mutual friend and that the woman in question is pregnant with a baby girl who has some health issues.

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The Klingbeils had already signed up to foster children with special needs, so that did not present a problem. What did were the finances. Enoch works as a HVAC contractor, and Zaundia had been working at a nursing home, but she had to leave her job to be able to travel at a moment's notice to the delivery of the baby -- which could happen any day now -- and be home with the newborn.

Adopting a child via an agency could be around $13,000, Zaundia found, and that didn't address the costs of improving their house to meet home study requirements or the various fees of out-of-state adoption. 

That's when she floated the idea of selling her wedding ring and decided to create an online fundraiser. She get the GoFundMe goal at $8,000, although folks familiar with adoption costs have since told her she should have gone higher. Covering the paperwork for an out-of-state adoption alone is in the neighborhood of $1,500. 

Funding adoption online is becoming more common, but it isn't a choice that comes without its critics. About 10 percent of people who have visited her GoFundMe site have been negative, Zaundia says.

"People have asked, 'If you don't have money to adopt, what makes you think you have money to parent?'" she noted.

Her answer is simple.

"Just because you make payments on a house doesn't mean you can't be a homeowner. With adoption there isn't a payment plan; it's all up front."

Besides, whatever monies the GoFundMe draws above and beyond adoption expenses -- including fees such as airfare to travel out of state to the location of the child's birth -- will be put into a fund to cover medical expenses for a girl who Elias has named Elise Grace, names that mean "God's oath" and "gift from God."

"If we had saved all the money we spent on miscarriage and fertility treatments, we'd probably have enough for two or three adoptions," Zaundia said, "But you never know what's going to happen in life."

Because of the offer from High Point, Zaundia should be able to keep her wedding ring, and the viral nature of the family's Internet appeal has given them something a little extra: she is printing out the positive comments on the GoFundMe site and on a Facebook page about the adoption and will make a scrapbook for little Elise to read in the years to come.

"Before she's even born, she's touched so many people," Zaundia says. "I want her to see that."

What would YOU give up for a child?

 

Images via Zaundia Klingbeil

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