28 May 2011

Gotta Have The Green Stuff?

It's no secret that most people who adopt through an agency have more money than most. It's just a fact because it takes a lot of money to adopt if you're not gonna go through foster care. When we started looking into adoption we were surprised, a bit shocked, intimidated, and even a little hurt at how much adoption fees are. We knew we were meant to adopt but just didn't know how in the world we were going to be able to afford it. Now don't get me wrong. I am not "poor-mouthin'", as Momma calls it. I'm just sharin'. Back when we were starting the adoption process I would have loved to have read about a middle class family having to sacrifice to pay for adoption fees, but who were still able to do it. That's what I'm doing here. I'm gonna tell you how we're doin' it.

Spud's not one for fundraisers. He thinks it's begging for money, and of course no husband wants others to think he cannot provide for his family. Me, with the personality I have, wanted to do anything I could to help raise the funds. I found it nearly impossible. In fact, I just recently found two fundraisers that we both felt comfortable with. Money can be such a huge issue in a relationship. You cannot let it be. Okay so now I'm jumping around. Back to how we are handling the adoption fees.
We had to pay with credit. No other way around it. We felt our daughter was coming soon, and felt that she was coming through a certain agency, and had no time to plan to pay the fees any other way. Even if we would have had time I don't think we would have done things differently. We used the equity in our home and opened a second credit card account. Spud hates, and I means despises, debt. We had to change our views and look at it as something unavoidable for our family, like a house payment. No way you can pay cash for a house. For our family, adoption was a definite just like having to have a house. It's a wonder what something as simple as changing the way you perceive certain things can do for you.
So we made a payment plan (paying way over the minimum payments each month), and every day we make sacrifices to pay off the adoption fees ASAP. I'm not saying we go without food and other essentials. I'm saying we eat cheaper groceries, go out to eat less, make clothes last a little longer, use less gasoline, and other things like that. It's the same things other people sometimes do when they buy a new car. Just "tighten the belt" a bit. We could probably do even better at it.
Point is, it can be done. Do not be discouraged as we were. It'll take time and sacrifice and planning, but it can be done. You may have to move to a smaller home. You may have to drive an old car. No matter what you have to do please know you will look back and not regret a thing! You will be happy for the sacrifices you made. Family sacrifices are good for a family! What a learning and growing experience! And when the fees are paid off you can buy a new car, go to Disney Land for a week, or do whatever you weren't able to do for the year or two or three it's taken to pay off the fees. Then you can adopt again!
Let us discuss the tax credit. It's currently just over $13,000. You have to assume the debt initially until you can get the credit. You can only claim it in the year you finalize the adoption. For example, our daughter was born last year, but the adoption was finalized this year when she was six months old. So we couldn't claim it on 2010's tax return (the one we submitted this year). We are claiming it on our 2011 taxes (next year) and will get the credit in 2012 (on our next tax refund). A $13,000 tax credit will pay for almost half of a private adoption agency's fees. It depends on the agency, the birthmother's needs, and, sadly, the race of your child. For some it will only cover about a third of the cost.
If, even though you've moved to a smaller house, drive old cars, tighten the budget, and still cannot see how your family can afford adoption fees, then, to me, that means your child will not come from a private adoption agency. I believe the children that belong to your family will come in a way your family will be able to handle. Maybe your child is coming to you from foster care? through the state? through an acquaintance? I am one to believe that our children already belong to our family and we have to figure out how to get them here. (Not that I'm forgetting birthmothers. I would never do that. I have high respect for birthmothers. Another post maybe?) I do not know how our next child will come to us. It could be any of these ways or some completely different way. We're working on figuring it out.

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  1. Yes, yes, YES!! I totally and fully believe with this. It was a VERY HARD transition for. We have NEVER gone into debt--not for school, not for cars, not for toys/vacations, etc.

    Our son is worth it.

  2. It's a fact that people who adopt thru agencies have more money? Would you mind sharing your references. That's kinda surprising to me.
    We adopted internationally and paid cash for the application fee and homestudy. All the rest was provided through adoption grants and donations we were given (over $26K). I blogged about it in a post titled Money, Money, Money.
    God is a faithful provider. "He is a father to the fatherless; He places the lonely into families." Psalm 68.

  3. Ginger - It is a fact only in my experience. I am wonderfully surprised that you were able to pay cash! We would have loved that. We applied for grant after grant and tried to fundraise ourselves. I will be checking out your post for sure! Thanks for sharing.


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