How did you finance your adoption? Do you have any cost-saving, income-generating, or fundraising strategies to share?
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.
—Alicia Messing, Phoenix, Arizona
A Little Help from Friends
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 pastor appealed to the church’s Mission Interpretation 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. Their generosity was beyond anything I could have imagined—and a great support for this single mom!
—Abbie Lampe, North Wales, Pennsylvania
Biking for Dollars
We were interested in adoption, but 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 day—raising more than $7000 for our adoption! We also raised money by asking neighbors to donate items for our garage sale. The sale brought in $1,237.49—enough to pay our home study bill.
—Maeve Van Hoorde, via e-mail
Donations and Gift Certificates Helped
We told our family and friends that, in lieu of gifts, we would prefer gift certificates or donations of used baby items. We received a beautiful cherry wood crib, a stroller and car seat in good condition, and we re-finished a rocking chair my mother had. We then used the gift certificates to purchase things we still needed, such as a high chair, play pen, and swing.
The First Income-Tax Refund Went Towards a Second
We were blessed to be able to adopt two baby girls within a period of 13 months. Financing our second adoption was made possible in part by the income tax refund we received as a result of our first adoption! Our first adoption, on the other hand, was made possible in large part by a generous (and surprise) gift from a personal friend.
Selling Items on the Side
I work in a call center with 200 people, and I made $1,500 by selling candy and candles at work. Our church let us have a chili dinner (another $500). We are selling candy again and seeking donations to auction off to raise money for our second adoption. These are small amounts when you are trying to raise $20,000, but every penny helps.
—Debbie Clark, via e-mail
I sold household items and collectables on ebay, and consigned clothing and held garage sales. Everything we didn't put toward monthly bills, we saved. Vacations were a luxury we did without. We keep our lifestyle simple.
—Amy Dendrinos, via e-mail
Our son came quickly, giving us less then three months to prepare. Neither of our employers offered adoption assistance. We asked my father for a loan and he gave us the money. My mother and sister also helped. We got a home equity loan to cover the rest so I could stay home for three months and return to work part time.
—Lorraine Ciavola, Mesa, Arizona
We paid most of the cost by refinancing our home, and put our travel expenses on a credit card. We switched to a low, introductory rate, which kept the finance charges to a minimum, and paid off the balance with our income tax credit. We also saved up enough vacation time so that our leave was paid and we still had days left over for the holidays, doctor's appointments, etc.
—Donna Marie Cureton, St. Louis, Missouri
General Thriftiness Got Us Through
As a single mother-to-be, financing my adoption was difficult. I changed countries and adopted an older child older to save money. I worked two jobs and brought my lunch, and I cut down on entertainment and clothing expenses. Relatives contributed some money, and I bought used clothes and furniture for the nursery.
—Susan, via e-mail
Employer Reimbursement Benefits Made it Possible
We took out home equity loans. My husband's employer offered an adoption expense reimbursement benefit, which saved us $15,000. To those who comment on the expense of adoption, we say, "Most people spend more to buy a car than it cost us to build an amazing family!"
—Lisa McDevitt, via e-mail
A Little Bit of Everything
We took out a home equity loan, got $2,000 in state reimbursement of non-recurring fees, and received $5,000 in employer benefits. We are raising money through a flower bulb sale, yard sale, car wash, and ink cartridge and cell phone recycling. We are selling donated books, CDs, and movies on amazon.com and half.com. We are also planning a spaghetti dinner combined with a silent auction. We plan to adopt again next year, and are thinking of hosting a roller skating fundraiser. We have a lot of friends with young children who would be the perfect age to enjoy it in about a year.
—Caroline Cebula, via e-mail
Don't Overlook the Foster/Adopt Route!
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. Don't overlook the foster/adopt route. There are so many children who need parents, and thanks to adoption support programs, finances don't have to be a barrier.
—Maeve MacSteves, via e-mail
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