Thursday, January 12, 2012

Adoption costs HOW MUCH?

The new year is in full swing, back to work, back to eating normally, back to the routine. As much as I like the holidays, I am happy to be back to normal.  Well, the normal with those added New Year’s resolutions.  This year, I went bold.  The hubby and I are trying an all cash budget.  All the monthly bills are being paid automatically through the bank, but everything else like groceries, household stuff, personal maintenance, laundry, entertainment, meals out, gifts and all those little things that  you use your debit card for are being paid using cold, hard CASH.  We take out a budgeted amount of cash each week for these things and when it’s gone, it’s gone.  I have to say it is much harder than I thought.  This has put a sudden stop to my online shopping and I have put back a thing or two at the store because I just didn’t want it enough to use my weekly allowance.  We have big goals. If a little baby comes into our lives in 2012, it will be worth passing on a few dinners out or that extra little something that I didn't really need so we’ll be financially ready.

As I have said many times in this blog, newborn adoption is costly.  (Adoption of an older or special needs child does cost significantly less)  Our adoption will cost around $25,000 + legal fees.  You are probably wondering why does it cost so much, kids need homes and families want kids, right?  With our agency, to adopt a domestic infant the fee covers counseling and support of the expectant parents (which sometimes includes health care and basic needs like food and shelter allowable by law), adoption education classes, support groups, family assessment including the home study, national networking on our behalf, interim care, post-placement support, legal documentation, and finalization.  If you think about it, it all adds up.  We’ll pay our balance of $18,000 + our legal fees and the birth parent's legal fees at placement.  The next tax season after placement, we’ll  file our taxes and  receive an adoption tax credit to offset some of the cost.  My company also has a great $3,000 adoption benefit which will help when I take some time off for us to bond as a family. No maternity leave for adoptive parents.  I am estimating in the end, we’ll probably pay $14,000 out of pocket.  Ok, enough with the math.
So how do you come up with the money to adopt?  Some people have that kind of money saved and available. But if that is not the case, you'll need a financial plan.   First, take a look at your monthly expenses, cut the fat and come up with a budget to allow you to save as much as possible. Revisiting your budget every few months is a good idea to make sure you are staying on track and to make adjustments as needed.  That’s what we did, hence the 2012 cash budget. Second, you should research ways to get free money like adoption benefits from your company, adoption grants, or start a blog with ads.  Third, you need to decide what your borrowing options are to make up the difference of what you were not able to save.  That might mean refinancing your home if you are home owner or gasp! borrowing from your 401k or other retirement plan or looking into low interest credit cards or low interest loans for adoption. Or if you have a rich uncle, that might work too. Remember you will be getting a tax credit, so you’ll be able to pay back most of it in a short period of time.  Lastly, you need to fundraise, fundraise, fundraise! Fundraising is a common practice for adoptive parents.   People want to help.  People are excited for you.  Just Google adoption fundraising and tons of great ideas come up or ask other adoptive families what worked for them.  Also, there are companies that will help you fundraise like Just Love Coffee or Noonday Collections.  Check out our Fundraising page.  Your goal is definitely achievable.

Gigi Piggy will be fed well in 2012.
As 2012 rolls in, a new plan is in place for us.  Thanks for understanding if we sometimes decline your invitation out on the town or propose not exchanging gifts this year.  Quality time with you will be enough for us and we hope it will be enough for you too. 

If you do want to help us with our goal, stay tuned there will be new fundraisers coming soon.

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