Crowd funding your family

Using crowdfunding to grow families

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - People are turning to "crowd funding" for all kinds of things. It has been used to help people after a tragedy. It has helped to raise capital for a business or project.

More often, lately, it is being used to help couples find happiness.

According to crowd funding website "GoFundMe", $1.4 million has been raised by couples for adoption or fertility treatments. They want to start their families and they are looking for assistance both from people they know and those they don't. Twice as much money was raised on the site for this purpose in 2014 as was in 2013.

"I knew I wanted to adopt from an early age," said Lauren Higdon of Charlotte.

She and her husband, Brian, considered international adoption and domestic. For now they've settled on adopting a child in the United States who needs a home.

The Higdon's even have the nursery ready to go.

"We just want to have laughter in it and have our children here," Lauren said.

What they've struggled to get together is the money for something so expensive. They say they can afford a baby but don't necessarily have the means to pay for an adoption. They started their GoFundMe page with a little hesitation.

"We aren't looking for handouts. We set up the site mainly for family and friends to be able to follow what we're doing," Brian said.

However, they have thousands of dollars in donations. They'll need it. It will cost as much as $20,000 for paperwork, background checks, legal fees and more.

Their story is real but North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says people have used crowd funding websites to take advantage of the public.

"If you are going to give to a crowd funding site, you need to make sure you know who you are dealing with. Verify as much of what you see as you can," Cooper told WBTV.

He also suggests researching what percentage of each donation the web service takes. It varies by crowd funding site.

The Higdon's aren't exactly sure when their family will come together but they're hoping to have a child at home by Christmas. If you'd like to follow their journey, click here.

If you think you might have donated to a phony crowd funding site - you can call 877-5-NO-SCAM to file a complaint.

For more information from the NC Attorney General's office, click here.

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