I have been hesitant to write this blog post, however after our last adoption, and with the current one, I feel like I have some advice worth reading. The weight of adoption fees can be very overwhelming, and at times they can induce a panic when trying to absorb such a massive number. International adoption is very expensive. There are a lot of people involved in making sure that an ethical adoption happens, and those people must make a living from their employment that is part of making those ethical adoptions a possibility. Hence the very high fees.
So, what does one do about those fees? I read daily, the pleas of those worrying about making their next agency payments, or flights, and hoping that a donor will come through. Hey, I totally get it. Most people, myself included, do NOT have $30,000 just laying around. It’s just a reality, and while the ever popular “adopt from foster care” may be the answer for some hoping to adopt, it isn’t for everyone. Did you know that every state has a cap on the amount of children they will allow you to foster/adopt. That’s right, my state says that five kids is enough. Glory will be our 6th child, because there are countries out there that understand that a child living in a larger family, having a family support system, and feeling loved, is better than living as an orphan forever.
If foster/adopt isn’t possible or your desire, and you aren’t a gazillionaire, what do you do if you want to adopt? What do you do if raising the money is also seemingly impossible? Well, for those planning an adoption in a year or two, I do have a few tips.
I’m going to be honest. I felt really unsupported and let down with our fundraising efforts when we adopted Anna and Tanner. In my mind, and a lot of others, I thought we were going to go into the adoption, everyone would know how great it was, and so many people would want to jump in and support us. I saw families who were fully funded with their adoptions, I saw the grants out there, and even though I worked hard and applied for them, we ended up with nothing.
What did we do?
My husband picked up extra work for four months straight, we cut out all extras, and we saved. We used an adoption credit card for the airfare, and had a plan in place to pay it off within the 0% interest grace period.
Make a plan
My best advice for those desiring to adopt, is to make a plan. Write down every thing that you will need to do in order to adopt, write down all estimated fees. Write down when you want to pursue the adoption, and then write out a very detailed budget.
Get out of debt
This may seem absurd to some, but seriously, if your adoption is a year or two off, try to scale down your debt. John and I worked hard to make sure that our only debt was our mortgage. Our vehicles are nearly a decade or more old, but we chose ones that would be good for the long haul, and they are all paid off. If you have no debt, then when you decide to adopt, it won’t be such a burden to have an adoption loan. We were able to apply for a loan to cover a big portion of our adoption. I hate debt, really I do, but financially, we were able to do it, and with it being the only debt we have aside from our home, it’s doable.
Follow your plan
This one is very difficult. I wanted to jump right in over the last four years and adopt again right away. However, we knew that we didn’t have a lot of luck with fundraising last time, and that it would be foolish for us to set ourselves up for financial strain. If God calls you to do it, He will provide a plan, I’m certain of it. I feel like our patience and trying to follow the plan as best as we could, has been so helpful. What good does it do you, the child you are adopting, and your family if you don’t have a plan? If you have to dive into financial instability, and then have that looming over you when you are trying to maneuver bonding and doctor’s appointments, it could become to much to handle. Financial matters are the number one contributor to divorce in America, and I can’t imagine what that on top of trying to build a new family dynamic could do, especially if a child has a lot of needs that weren’t planned for.
Pray and breathe
I was hoping that my fundraising effort so far would have been more productive. I spent 21 hours (meaning time I could have been sleeping), working on the auction that yielded no results. I spent 15 hours crocheting things that did not sell. There is a magic formula to selling things, I’m not sure I know what that is. However, instead of letting it bum me out, I’m taking those things that didn’t sell, and I’m donating them to Glory’s orphanage. I’m going to continue to pray, and I’m going to breathe. I cannot change the way things are happening. We are going to be travelling a lot sooner than planned, Glory’s needs are more sever than planned, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a grant. I’m going to pray and breathe. When you have plan, even if things don’t go accordingly, it’s still easier to weather the unplanned…if that makes sense.
Get a job and have a backup plan
If you don’t have children, consider a second job. My sister is a waitress while she attends college, and let me tell you, if I didn’t have a bunch of kids, I do that to raise the money needed. She makes very good tips, and I can imagine if you had a second job, that money could add up to a fully funded adoption in just a year.
Also, have a back up plan. You may get every donor out there to help you along, and that is fantastic! It might not happen though. Make sure you have a back up plan. We have one. It’s oh so NOT my desired choice, but if push comes to shove, it’s there. It’s there, and we know that if we have to, we can use it in order to keep our adoption on track. It can be devastating to put all of your eggs into one basket, and then get to travel time, only to be completely tapped out, not being able to continue. A true heartbreak to all involved. So whatever you can do as a back up, plan it, write it down, keep it tucked away for “incase of” times.
Obviously all of these things are for people who aren’t in the middle of an adoption, and they do require some patience and discipline. I know myself, I want to adopt them all and right now. However, I’ve come to realize over the years that it’s best to have a calm and praying spirit instead of a rash and impulsive one. Calm and praying allows us to weather the uncertainties and be okay if we aren’t supported financially by those we reach out to. Rash and impulsive would have had me freaking out and disheartened. Be the calm and prayerful one, and glean the awesomeness of self discipline learned while planning for an adoption. I know with our first one, I was able to learn how to really save and give up so many things. It was one of the best lessons I learned in life, because giving a child a family is a motivator to get yourself in gear like no other.