North Texas Daily

Project 2713 provides assistance to intrafamily adoption process

Project 2713 provides assistance to intrafamily adoption process

September 14
16:08 2017

The process of adopting a child can be a worthwhile yet difficult journey. Sarah Haug, founder of Project 2713 and UNT alumna, wants to lend a hand in the process.

Project 2713 is an organization that gives financial aid and resources to families pursuing intrafamily adoption, which happens between a child and a stepparent or relative.

“We are able to keep children [with] their own family, and there’s some sort of relation that child has with that family,” Haug said. “They feel more at home. It’s a stabilized environment, assuming that it’s a safe environment that they can stay in.”

Growing up, Haug was the youngest of four daughters with a history of intrafamily adoption. Haug’s grandfather was adopted by his step-grandfather, who owned a large portion of farmland. She remembers spending her childhood there, roasting marshmallows, catching minnows in the creek and running from stampeding cows.

Without the adoption of her grandfather, Haug said she could not imagine how different life would have been.

“Just the impact that’s had three generations down has been huge, and he still maintains that land,” Haug said. “That’s where we mainly grew up. Our family moved around a lot for various reasons, but that was always home to me.”

Haug said intrafamily adoptions rarely get financial help from the government unless they have already been a foster parent. For families doing a standard adoption in the U.S., aid comes in the form of tax benefits and credit. This covers the long list of expenses families face when adopting, like attorney fees, travel expenses and court costs.

“It was just big on my heart to reach out to these families who were trying to do the right thing [by keeping] the children within the family, which is normally the goal of CPS anyway,” Haug said. “That’s what sparked the idea and that’s how it started.”

Project 2713 first came into play when Haug started Workman By Design, her design shop, and wanted somewhere to donate a percentage of her profits to.

So, she started her own organization.

Haug named it Project 2713 after the Bible verse Psalms 27:13: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

“I want to walk with that family through that entire process and see the joy on both the family’s and the kid’s faces when that adoption takes place,” Haug said. “We haven’t been able to walk with a family completely through it yet because we’re so new.”

But Haug is hopeful.

Since their launch in December, Project 2713 has been working with its first two families—one in Fort Worth and one in San Antonio.

“People come to us in all different areas of adoption,” Haug said. “For example, their finances are getting low and they need some help. We just want to know what the family’s main need is and help them with whatever it is that we can.”

For right now, Project 2713 connects with families by referrals from adoption attorneys. It also has board members in five counties surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In the future, Haug hopes to expand to bordering states.

“I want us to become an organization that really helps Texas [so much] that we grow and start expanding to Arkansas and Louisiana,” Haug said. “I want to expand until we’re a nationally-based nonprofit while honing in on the local idea, too.”

Families can also fill out a grant application on Project 2713’s website. Project 2713’s fund, which comes from sponsors and fundraising events, will try to assist those in need of financial help. If not, there are still other options available.

“Since we are small, we help as much as we can,” Haug said. “However, we use a platform that allows [people] to fundraise through us. They are able to fundraise for the money we can’t give them and anything that’s left over goes to our general fund to help the next adoption.”

This offers anxious parents the ability to provide for their children in the complicated steps that come with the adoption process. For mother Tiffany Murphy, adoption came as a surprise.

“We weren’t looking to adopt at the time,” Murphy said. “[My daughter Lily] was not even a week old. Her parents were in prison for murder, and it was a really horrible situation. I had no idea where to begin, and that’s why I’m so supportive of what [Haug] does.”

This is just the beginning for the Project 2713 team, and the future holds a world of potential.

“I see us expanding and being able to help more and more families,” said Abbey Blasczak, a photographer who has been with Project 2713 since the beginning. “Right now we’re very small and have limited funds, but I see us being able to bless so many families [while] growing in staff. Hopefully [we will] be able to spread across the state and maybe even the country.”

But right now, Project 2713 is still focused on planting seeds in good ol’ Texas soil.

Project 2713 will be holding their Backyard Bash from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday at South Lakes Park. There will food trucks and games for the whole family.

“We have an event in Denton coming up, and being able to see families and children come to enjoy a life together [would be] one of the best things to see,” Haug said. “Our foster care system is filled with kids, and if we could make a dent in that, it’d be amazing.”

Featured Image: The board members of Project 2713 and their friends spend time at their recent Blaze Pizza fundraiser. Courtesy | Abbey Blaszczak

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Amy Roh

Amy Roh

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