How We Afforded Our Adoption
One of the biggest hurdles on the road to adoption is finding the necessary funds. While the adoption tax credit and employer benefits can help after the fact, many readers came up with creative ways to raise the money before they adopted. Here, we've compiled their best ideas for affording adoption.
Tapping Assets, Taking Loans
A kind banker organized a total re-finance of our house at a lower interest rate. For our second adoption, we had the chance to save and prepare (having a lower mortgage payment helped), and our banker wrote up a short-term note for a revolving line of credit "just in case." If you go to a "hometown bank" (not part of a big national chain where employees are usually not given much leeway) they will usually bend over backwards to help, especially when you tell them why you need the loan. People want to be nice and helpful - especially when it comes to something as wonderful as an adoption!
Jean and Steve, Minnesota
First we applied for an adoption grant. Then we took out a small loan from our 401K and set payments to reimburse ourselves at a 5% rate. Next, my daughter and I took coupon clipping to a new level. I started working for mystery shopping companies, and changed my insurance coverage to increase the deductible. I called my cell phone, Internet, and long distance providers and negotiated better rates. At Christmas, we spent half the normal amount. My mother-in-law paid for travel expenses as a gift to her future grandson. Our daughter even babysat for extra money!
The Runnels Family
We found our credit card's interest rate much lower than any adoption loan interest rates. My husband's company reimburses $5,000 of adoption expenses. Adopting two at a time helps with the cost as well. We are in debt, but we'd rather be broke and a happy family than rich and lonely!
Warren and Stephanie
I participated in my company's stock option plan for years. It was a nice way to save and think about what I was working towards.
My husband and I are currently funding our adoption with an equity line of credit on our home. We chose the line of credit because it allows the flexibility of early payoff or overpaying, a fluctuating credit line for purchases or payments to agencies as needed, instead of an equity loan which would require us to take a lump sum and pay interest on the whole amount.
Wendy and Jeff, Pennsylvania
We sold a home we had been renting out. Our profit covered our adoption expense and we got the $10,000 tax credit as well. Our daughter was definitely the right choice!
John and Michele, New Hampshire
We drained our CDs (Certificates of Deposit). One had nearly $15,000, which enabled us to complete the adoption.
Gail and Marty
My husband learned that his position was being outsourced to China and that he had just trained his replacement. So rather than take another position in the company, he found a job with another company and took the parting gifts to fund our adoption.
I worked an extra job for over six months. For my second adoption, I charged everything I could on a credit card. When I got home I worked like crazy to pay the bill before the interest kicked in. I called my second child my "Visa baby."
Tightening Their Belts
We budgeted our household based upon my regular salary, and the hours I worked beyond that (both from overtime and moonlighting as a teacher) were put into savings. I worked like crazy from the time we filled out our adoption application until we received our referral.
We went without vacation, new clothes, meals out, or gifts, and kept the heat low. We picked up any overtime we could, and I got a second job on weekends. We furnished our nursery almost entirely with second-hand treasures and hand-me-downs.
I sold my grand piano to get the money for the adoption. I had a piano party with my friends the night before the truck came to take it away. One Kawai Grand, $10,000. One daughter, priceless. I've never missed that piano.
We knew that after we came home from China with our daughter, I would take a few years off from teaching. So we started behaving like a one-income household a year earlier, and socked away my paycheck into a separate savings account. When it was time to travel and pay those last-minute fees, all the money was there.
Getting Help from Friends and Loved Ones
I made a brochure explaining who we were and why we wanted to adopt a boy from Russia. I put it in every hand I could find - I even sent one in when I paid my bills! One day a man from New York called to ask how much we needed. I told him we still needed $20,000, and he said, "It's yours." He had adopted from Russia six years earlier and had intended to adopt more children, but decided that his new son needed undivided attention. His way of bringing home more children was to provide the funds for another family.
My husband and I ran a marathon and raised support that way. We trained together for months and sent out letters and sponsorship cards. We were blown away when our sponsorship added up to almost $27,000!
I set up a "Miles for Mariya" fund, and asked friends and family to pledge a dollar per mile (and contribute what they could) to bring Mariya home. Our church pastor appealed to a church committee for money to start the fund, and sent a letter to the congregation, inviting everyone to help. The result was fantastic! Many people contributed financially, and the whole church has adopted Mariya as their special girl. Shortly after she arrived, the congregation held a shower for her and for her friends back in the orphanage.
With only $2000 in savings, we were far from able to finance it. To raise the money, we planned a family Bike-a-Thon. We asked friends, relatives, college roommates, sorority sisters, doctors, dentists, and co-workers to sponsor us or to join us in the ride and get their own sponsors. My husband, three children, a close friend, and I rode 27 miles in one dayŚraising more than $7000 for our adoption!
Maeve Van Hoorde
Chose the Less-expensive Route
We adopted older children, for whom adoption fees were less than average.
We used an in-country agency and were able to complete each adoption (including all travel) for under $10,000 each. This is under the allowable IRS adoption tax credit limit, so we were able to get all of our money credited towards our taxes - essentially getting our last two adoptions for free! The communication between the foreign agency and us was greatly improved, because there was no American agency as a go-between.
We didn't have to finance our adoption: We adopted two children through the state foster care system, and received foster care payments, WIC, mileage reimbursement, clothing vouchers, and day care and medical services while the children were in our care. The state also paid our attorney fees. We will receive a monthly stipend and medical benefits until the children are 18. There are so many children who need parents, and thanks to adoption support programs, finances don't have to be a barrier.
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