Money is never the primary reason people decide to adopt, nor should it be. Actually, for many it isn’t even in the equation until you sign on the dotted line with an agency or professional. Hopefully, before you make that commitment, your adoption professional has given some idea of the costs associated with your adoption.
For those of you who are considering infant or international adoption, prepare to dig deep—real deep into your pockets—because most of these adoptions will cost somewhere in the range of $25,000 – $50,000. Some international cases may cost more than that depending on the country you are going to travel to. Some countries require multiple trips and long-term stays which can result in a loss of income and very high travel expenses.
It’s no surprise then to learn that the #1 barrier to adoption is the high cost! Most folks shy away from this path simply because the costs are so daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
There are many options to finance an adoption and there are many excellent resources out there that can provide assistance. Many turn to books such as Julie Gumm’s popular, Adoption Without Debt. There are also a number of foundations who are deeply devoted to helping families cover the cost of adoption—such as Show Hope, HelpUSAdopt and many others. There are even crowd-funding sites such as AdoptTogether and GoFundme.com that provide a way for families to receive cash gifts for their adoptions. And let’s not forget about the Adoption Tax Credit—a sizeable tax ‘credit’ that allows the family or individual to take up to $14,000 in qualified adoption expenses to offset their tax liability. It’s important to understand that this is a credit NOT a refund which is an entirely different thing.
The biggest issue is how overwhelming the whole process is—paperwork, politics and finances! It’s a highly emotional experience; many find themselves on the path of adoption after the trauma of infertility or loss. So now they arrive on the adoption path and once again find themselves dealing with so much. Where to begin? What do to first? Where will you get the money?
As an adoptive parent and CEO/Founder of Your Adoption Finance Coach—a company that provides resources, online training and personal coaching for adoption agencies and their families—I have one word for these families…fortitude!
Here are some suggestions for managing your finances if you are getting started or already on the path to adoption:
- Start with a complete budget—include all of your own personal expenses along with what your agency or professional have given you. Consider everything and leave nothing out, you the right number to start with.
- Visit a tax advisor to see how the tax credit will benefit you. Many do this last—we recommend first so you know how it benefits you and at what level.
- Consider what you already have—savings, family gifts—and what you can put away each month toward your adoption.
- Craft your story—make it unique like you. Why are you adopting? Give it your heart.
- Develop a plan—month-to-month just like a household budget—what’s coming in? What’s going out?
- Determine what you need and then consider how you’ll get it—loans, grants, fundraising.
- Implement your plan. Stay with it, update it often and change it according to what’s happening. This is your ‘business plan’ for adoption. It’s a living document that helps you achieve your goal of bringing your family together forever.
It may seem like the biggest task you’ve ever taken on, but the rewards far outweigh the costs! For those that feel like it takes forever and the path is so circuitous, just picture the moment when you will be united with your child, holding them in your arms for the first time. It’s in that moment that all the work and fortitude it took will fade away and your new life as a family will begin!
About the Author: Kelly Ellison is the CEO and Founder of Your Adoption Finance Coach. She and her team of coaches help families plan how they will afford adoption. Your Adoption Finance Coach services are free for CH/LSS families.Learn more about financing adoption here