Sadly, one of the largest hurdles preventing most people from considering adoption is the cost. There is no way around it, adoption is expensive, typically ranging anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000. But that doesn’t mean that adoption is only possible for people who wear monocles and top hats. There are some legit ways to lower the costs of adoption in order to make it a reality for you.
My wife and I are in the process of adoption currently, and we’re eager to demystify the experience for like-minded couples. I know some people make their own babies, but that has been kind of difficult for us. We’ve always known we wanted to adopt, but were unsure how to start. After pregnancy didn’t come easily, we decided that we would rather have our money going to provide a home for a child who needs one.
Before we get to the tips and tricks that my wife and I have learned in our adoption journey, it’s important to know one simple fact: your friends and family want to help support you financially, they just might not know how. So here are a few tips to help you break down those difficult financial walls when it comes to the adoption process.
Ask your agency, and your employer. If you’re going through an adoption agency, then you are not the first couple they’ve met without access to a money tree. Reputable agencies have scholarships and grants for qualified families – but you have to ask. Many employers also have adoption assistance built into their benefits. It takes work, but don’t let the fear of paperwork cause you to leave money on the table. Taking advantage of these avenues could cut your adoption costs by thousands!
Make something, then sell it. While at an adoption conference my wife and I bought Christmas ornaments that a family was selling in order to finance an international adoption. I like to think I’m a pretty savvy consumer, but I bought something that resembled a wooden coaster with a bent paper clip in it for $10! Why? Because I wanted to help this family out and I didn’t know how to give them money. I mean, what do I do? Do I put it in my hand then try to shake hands? Awkward. Do I make a paper airplane and throw it at them? That could hurt somebody!
What you make doesn’t have to be wholly symbolic. You don’t have to be as epicly talented as Martha Stewart. The sweet spot is making something that gets people thinking “I’m so glad to help out and also I like/wanted this item.” My wife likes to sew and she’s crazy-good at picking fabric, so she made simple clutches and make-up bags. If you are insecure about what you can make, just remember that people want to help.
Start a baby fund and name it. Extra change no longer pays for Frappuccinos on the drive home, now it helps pay for Baby Owen (that’s the name we use to refer to our future child). Maybe you give up a small luxury (I’m looking at you, Hulu Plus), and put that money monthly into the fund. When there’s a name it’s easier to visualize and stick to those savings goals.
Save for what’s next. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Don’t get bogged down with the final figure you’ve been quoted. Just focus on the next payment you need to make, and save for that. Sure, all together it might be a large sum, but individual payments are doable.
I can sense your disbelief, and I understand it. When my wife and I started this process, all we could see was the money barrier. Then we found out it would cost $1000 to do the first step (a home study). A thousand dollars is nothing to sneeze at, and that’s relatively cheap for a home study. That figure became our goal, though. I got a part-time job working for a caterer. We ate in more. We went to the movies less. Before we knew it, we had saved just what we needed. One bite at a time we were eating that elephant. Delicious.
Know your tax laws. This might not help on the front end, but there is a substantial tax credit for parents who adopt (close to $13,000 in 2013). Different states also have additional adoption assistance. Get to know what you can expect so you know to claim it come tax time.
Start a blog, write consistently, have a friend connect you to another blogger, then guest write for SaveOutsideTheBox.com and watch the money roll in. That’s my idea, get your own.
Stephen Owens is a doctoral candidate and his wife Brie is a waitress and wedding planner. They created www.owensadoption.com to get the word out about their unique adoption journey. Check out their blog if you wanna learn more about them and their reason for adopting.