We’ve talked about how much adoption costs and why it is so expensive. So how can any normal family afford this? This may be the most uncomfortable, TMI post yet, but here we go. Get out your magnifying glasses for a look into our lives.
When we decided to adopt, the husband was working at Edward Jones but wasn’t sure if he would be there forever. Our future finances were up in the air. Would he still be working at EJ? If so, would he be doing well and making a lot or not doing so hot and scraping by? If he decides it’s not for him, will he find another job soon? Will that job pay more or less or about the same? Or will he not be able to find a job for awhile? There were a lot of unknowns, but we knew that if we waited for the timing to be perfect we would never move forward with the adoption…so we prayed and we started the process.
The fee schedule for adoption is front and back loaded. There are a lot of expenses up front, then nothing for the time you’re on the wait list, and then a lot when you receive your referral. We had enough in savings to cover the expenses we’d incur in the first six months or so. And then we would have nothing left over to cover the expenses after referral… but that was a long time away, so we thought we would cross that bridge when we got there.
Now, a little over four months into the process, we have a plan. We know where Mark landed professionally. If we make some sacrifices and don’t have any major unforeseen expenses, we should be able to save enough during the time we’re on the wait list to pay all these fees…and even have some left over. (happy dance…I don’t have to go two plus years without a trip or two!) I feel lucky and thankful that we have good jobs that allow us to do that, and proud that we have made good decisions to put us into that position. For awhile we thought we might need to borrow some money or pray for a miracle, and I am thankful that we’re at where we’re at. Knock on wood. It’s perhaps the one time I am thankful for the wait time. We need the wait time!
A major reason we’re able to do this is because of the resources that are available to adoptive families. Our company offers a generous reimbursement to families that adopt, as do many companies. There are also generous tax credits available for adoptive families. These aren’t just tax credits that you deduct from your income…they are checks that are mailed to you when everything is complete. So, even if we did have to borrow some money, we would be able to pay it back relatively quickly. There are also interest-free or low-interest loans available for adoption. And adoptive families really love to do fundraisers.
The scary part about tax credits and reimbursements is that you do have to pay for things upfront, and I’m always hesitant to rely on things like company benefits or tax credits because you never know when things like that might get cut. We are really really REALLY hoping that these things are still around when we need them, because bringing two children home to a cramped house and little savings would be challenging at best. And when we come home with them we WILL have a cramped house and we WILL have little savings….so we need those things to stay in place. We really need those things to stay in place. Trust in God. Trust in God. Trust in God. If I keep saying it, it will sink in…right?
If you are thinking about international adoption, please know that you do not have to be rich. We’re not. But you might have to live below your means for awhile. You might have to sit down and have a hard look at your inflows and outflows and see where you can make some tweaks. You might have to put your dream car or dream house on hold for several years. You might have to take a leap of faith. But if international adoption is something you want to do, you can. YOU CAN.