The Makana Project
Organized by: Marilyn Rood Tom
Marilyn Rood Tom via Crowdrise
March 07, 2015
The Makana Project is a two-fold fundraiser: 1) As a family we are raising money toward the domestic adoption of our next child. 2) We are teaching Zoe to appreciate the miracle of adoption and immersing her in a project that helps her look forward to the coming of her brother or sister. We would like to give Zoe something tangible that she can be a part of, a cause, that will create a positive memory in her mind when she thinks of the time we all worked to add another child to our family. Along with the money we are currently saving in our own household, all donations will help cover the costs of our domestic adoption: placement costs, medical costs, birth-mother assistance costs, legal fees, travel fees, etc.
A Little About Us
We are Matt, Marilyn, and Zoe
We got married in 2006. Matt is a civil engineer and designs bridges for a living; Marilyn is a devoted stay-at-home mother who used to work as a high school English teacher. Matt likes to take long bike rides on sunny days, and Marilyn likes to cook new recipes with vegetables she’s never tasted. Matt enjoys building Lego Technics, and Marilyn likes to sew and craft. We are very family and service oriented. Matt serves as the Seminary teacher in our local church, and Marilyn also volunteers in the church as the local Employment Specialist. We devote one night a week to spending family time together, whether it is playing a board game, eating homemade fondue, or taking a walk on one of the greenways around Raleigh. We also visit our parents often, who live only two hours away on the coast. When we visit Matt’s parents we usually take Zoe to the beach, and when we visit Marilyn’s parents Zoe gets to ride the horses and feed them.
The idea of adoption always resonated with us. We talked about it even when we were dating. Four days after we were married, on our honeymoon, Marilyn broke her spine in two places. She spent the next grueling year and a half in physical therapy learning to walk correctly. With the long journey to recovery and the fragility of Marilyn’s health situation, we decided in 2008 to pursue our dream of starting a family through adoption. In 2010 we met Zoe’s birthparents.
Yes, we have an open adoption. We love it. Open adoption rocks. Zoe’s birthparents are our family. We spend time with them; they visit us. We love them. And we have always appreciated their belief in us.
In 2010, after two years of waiting, our beautiful daughter Zoe was born. We named her Zoe Makana. Makana is the Hawaiian word for "gift." Until Zoe came, we did not know how empty our lives and hearts were. She is four years old now, and very excited to be going to Kindergarten next year. Currently she likes to cook, like Marilyn, from a Disney cookbook. She likes to paint, pretend to be a princess, and build tall skyscrapers with her blocks. She also believes she has magical powers in her hands. But Zoe is also the most compassionate child we have ever known. She wants nothing more than to bring happiness to everyone around her.
Why Adoption Matters
Everyone knows someone who wants a child. They are like the sands of the sea. And everyone knows a child who needs a good home with loving and supportive parents. But most of the time the two never seem to meet up. Here is why:
- Adoption is expensive. Most domestic adoptions are $20,000-$40,000. Most adoptive families have gone through an exhausting process: Trying naturally to conceive, IVF, and adoption. Many have spent much of their life, and their life savings, trying to bring just one child into their home.
- Many mothers with unexpected pregnancies do not know their options, including adoption. Half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these end in abortion. 
- Many birth mothers willing to place their child for adoption only know about closed adoptions. They are unfamiliar with the new legislation allowing adoptive parents to partner with birth parents to provide a relationship for all parties involved.
- The road to adoption can be long and arduous. In the U.S. 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 101,666 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. 
The Hawaiian culture calls family Ohana—an all-encompassing word that means both blood-relatives and those who are adopted into the family. We believe in the idea of ohana, and our daughter is our proof. With Zoe's adoption we not only added a new child, but birth parents, birth grandparents, birth aunts and uncles. It is true that our family tree is not as linear as some, but so much love can never be wrong.
That is what we want to offer our next child: An ohana of love. A forever family. We want our next child to know that we love that they were adopted and we celebrate that fact through The Makana Project: Every child is a makana, a miracle worth waiting for. Please help us by donating today.
1. Finer LB and Zolna MR, Shifts in intended and unintended pregnancies in the United States, 2001–2008, American Journal of Public Health, 2014, 104(S1): S44-S48.
2. Childinfo (UNICEF, 2011)