Infertility, Marriage

How We Plan to Fund our Adoption

May 10, 2014

Some of you may or may not know that adoption can come with a hefty price tag – average being about $35,000. Yowzers.

Most couples don’t just have that kind of cash just laying-around without a purpose.

If you know us well, you know we are incredibly diligent and intentional with our finances. We’ve been thinking about how to fund adoption without debt for a while now. We don’t believe God wants us to pursue debt to grow our family, since He has a lot of negative things to say about debt in scripture. 

Listening to The Dave Ramsey Show one afternoon, I heard an interview with Julie Gumm, author of “Adopt Without Debt” and it confirmed our conviction in this area. Knowing we will not go into debt, we are still left with a few options to grow our family. On this blog, I want to document how we plan to pursue funding for our adoption – for others in the future who pursue a similar journey AND to provide a glimpse for those who don’t know all the ins and outs of adoption.

The agency we are working with carries a price tag of $25,000 for domestic infant adoption with the possibility of a few thousand extra depending on the situation. Now, there is a possibility of pursuing designated adoption (getting matched together with a birth mother ourselves) which would be approximately one-third to half the cost. We will do all we can to pursue designated adoption and we will talk about that below and how you can help us with this!

Without further ado, here is our plan:

1. Budgeting and Savings

Understanding how to be a good steward of your finances is vital and key. I don’t think this step can be stressed enough. Jonathan and I have been on a journey the past couple of years toward financial peace. We read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and facilitated Financial Peace University. We recommend them for everyone who handles money, adopting or not.

Specifically applying this to adoption – Jonathan and I plan to more or less go back to “beans and rice” while we are scrimping and saving for adoption. We’ve already cash-flowed nearly $3,000 from our budget through intentional budgeting and saving. With each step in the adoption process, we will continue to say “no” to wants so we can say “yes” financially to adoption.

2. Adoption Grants

In “Adopt Without Debt” she lists off many adoption grant available out there. She also makes them available on her website.

This summer, we plan to take a couple weeks of accumulated time off so we can dedicate 60-70 hours/week filling out grant applications. We’ll probably camp out at a local coffee shop so we can stay stimulated at all hours of the day through the process. There will not be a grant we qualify for that we will not apply for. We will turn over every stone in due diligence with grants.

3. Adoption Tax Credits

Adoption tax credit laws are changing all the time. This website helped provide me with information on just how important the adoption tax credit can be. For 2014, the maximum adoption credit and exclusion $13,190 per child.

I am not sure how big of a difference this will make on our bottom line…since it’s non-refundable like it was in 2010 or 2011 (jealous of those of you who got back big checks post adoptions back then). Basically we will be able to claim that amount as a tax credit, making our taxable income lower but not really significantly since we aren’t high income earners to begin with. It will be something but really won’t change our situation much, like a refundable credit would.

4. Fundraising

This can be the scary part for some adoptive couples out there. Since Jonathan and I already fundraise our of income this portion isn’t that frightening. We know too many generous and kind people to be afraid of fundraising. We also have watched God provide for our needs time and time again in the most random ways. If adopting is God’s will for our family – the money will come some way or another.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction…” James 1:27

Sure, we could simply rely on grants, tax credits, and personal budget/savings to do this adoption. But we feel an actual calling to involve others. In our self-sufficient society, we feel God asking us specifically to make ourselves vulnerable in this way. To expose our needs to others – for judgement, generosity, kindness, cruel comments, etc. I have no idea as to what people will think but we are being obedient to God in this, so I can’t care what people think.

This adoption isn’t just a means of growing our family. It can be a way to bring The Body of Christ together in a powerful way to answer God’s call to care for orphans. Who are we to prevent others from being able to answer this call in a concrete way by supporting our adoption efforts financially? For most, this will be the only way they ever have to care for an orphaned child in an up close and personal way. Through financially supporting us, they are giving a child a family.

We aren’t sure exactly how we will pursue fundraising. There are TONS of ideas out there in books, blogs, and on Pintrest. Once we become home study approved, we will take more concrete steps to put together a fundraising initiative.

5. Designated Adoption

I mentioned up above that pursuing designated adoption versus agency domestic adoption is significantly more affordable. As in one-third to half of the cost. It involves locating a birth mother on our own or via family/friends connections and then going to our agency to set up the legal paperwork and proper counseling to facilitate the adoption.

The hardest part of this type of adoption is locating a birth mother. We plan to make an adoption video/profile and set up some sort of social media campaign to let others know we desire to adopt and are looking for any connection to a birth mother out there. If you have any connection at any time to a birth mother discerning adoption, LET US KNOW!

Again, a very vulnerable thing to do but we are convinced that if God wants us to do a designated adoption – a connection will be there. If we are supposed to pursue domestic agency adoption – the connection won’t be there. Time will reveal His will for growing our family.

There you have it my friends. Our basic game-plan on how we plan to financially pursue adoption.

I have experienced many emotions in the past couple of weeks. In any given day I can range from excited and happy all the way down to bitter and resentful. Thankfully the happy times are winning out far more often than the negative. What works me up so much is the seeming unfairness of it all. We’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to have biological children over the past couple years and no baby. Now we are spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to adopt a child but we have no garauntee it will work out. While this is happening – women are aborting their babies, parents are neglecting or abusing their children, drug-addicts are using throughout their pregnancies, and couples everywhere simply try for a baby and end up pregnant seamlessly. All those situations humiliate our infertility and it’s hard to process them in the midst of so much struggle.

By God’s grace we will teeter onward towards His will for our family. Jesus, have mercy on us! All you holy men and women, angels and saints, pray for us!

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  • Reply Katie May 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    You might already be aware of this site but just thought I’d share with you the Adoption fundraising site we plan on using:

    • Reply Amanda May 11, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you for the info! We have seen that site and others but haven’t done the research on which one is most economical for us and donors. Have you looked into any others?

  • Reply Ecce Fiat May 11, 2014 at 4:44 am

    These are super helpful! I honestly had no idea about how many adoption grants are out there. Thanks for sharing – I’m bookmarking this page for if/when we arrive at this step. Blessings to you on this journey!

    • Reply Amanda May 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      I am glad you find this helpful! I will do a post on ALL the grants we end up applying for to documents an up to date list of those available out there.

  • Reply Stephanie May 11, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Great post! I’m happy to hear that the positives are outweighing the negatives at this point. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the negatives, especially when we’ve already been through so much! Knowing there are women out there choosing abortion hurts more now than ever now that we know pregnancy doesn’t come easy for us. Why can God just give US those babies, rather than to women who are ungrateful for their gift? Sad, sad stuff. We must keep hope alive, though!! Prayers for you guys! 🙂

  • Reply Amanda May 11, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks Stephanie! It is easy to get wrapped up in the negatives…all too easy when it seems crazy unfair. I just can’t think about it too long or I go to that angry place. Thank you for your prayers! We continue to pray for you..especially as you get ready to go “active” next month on the list! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Did you guys utilize any of the above means to fund your adoption? I imagine most couples tap into a few of the above avenues. If you have any good ideas, please email them to me!

    • Reply Stephanie May 12, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      We’re definitely taking advantage of the tax credit!! 🙂 Otherwise, we have no special tips. We know we’re not buying a house any time soon (since we know we’re not settling in Memphis, but don’t know exactly where “home” will eventually be), so we’re comfortable using a bit of the money we’ve saved for a downpayment for a future house… since we won’t be needing it in at least the next year or two. We also are working with an agency with a lower-than-usual adoption fee. It’s still not a small amount, not even close, but a little better than $35,000. So, that’s our sitch. Not sure if that helps at all! Cheering you guys on from afar, though!

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  • Reply Mr. M May 14, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Great article. Thank you so much for the tips and advice.

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  • Reply Sue July 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I am searching for a way to afford to adopt my 12 year old granddaughter, whom I have raised from an infant. I finally sought and got actual legal custody when she was 3. Every search I do to accomplish my goal, only returns results of different types of adoption, except “kinship” adoption. I have wanted this for so long, and now that the parents have agreed, I am at a loss. I have a part time job that supports us well enough, but when it comes to “extras”, like affording the adoption, I can’t find any help. I dread the day the parents change their mind, or worse yet, something happens to me and they get her back. Is there any help for a mimi in Texas wanting to adopt her granddaughter?

    • Reply Amanda July 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Sue, I am sorry but I am not much help to you especially since I don’t know the adoption laws in your state. I do know that doing kinship adoption is no where even CLOSE to the $25K for domestic infant adoption. Have you called a local adoption agency or service to ask about cost? Perhaps you could work more hours? I am sorry I don’t know more about your specific situation. Best wishes!

  • Reply Judith March 8, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Your posts have left me feeling both terrified and encouraged… My husband and I find ourselves in a very similar situation to yours. Now almost 10 years in this struggle we have made the decision to adopt but are somewhat overwhelmed. Any advice you can share we would appreciate!

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