When we experienced our unexpected surprise in July and learned that a specific child's file was being prepared and would eventually reach our adoption agency, one of my thoughts was, "How will we afford this adoption? I just quit my job." Tucker had made so much progress since coming home, and I was afraid that my going back to work for the 2014-2015 school year would negatively effect him - and the rest of our family to be honest. So for that reason, I decided to resign my part time position as a school psychologist.
I have shared countless times that affording adoption is possible. Few people have $35,000 sitting in their bank accounts for adoption. However, I have witnessed family after family have every penny they needed to adopt their child through hard work, awarded grants, and the generosity of loved ones. In February I wrote a blog post about funding an adoption with grants, interest free loans, the adoption tax credit, and employee assistance benefits. The following week, I wrote a second post about using fundraisers to help afford adoption costs. When we decided to take the leap for a second time, you better believe I went back to both of those posts to see what we needed to do to afford this adoption.
I don't know about you, but I really appreciate when people are transparent with me. So, for the sake of transparency, I want to share with you how we are hoping to afford this adoption. My goal in doing so is to encourage those of you who are considering adoption to not let finances be the reason for saying no. Too many kids need a family for us to let something like money get in the way of making it happen!
Based on our estimates, we believe this adoption will cost us $34,103.80. Your next question is probably, "Why does adoption cost so much money?!" Let me break it down for you. For our situation...
$1,900 - Home Study Fee - includes visits to home and report giving approval for adoption
$250 - Hague Review of Home Study - to ensure that all requirements are present in the home study
$8,855 - Adoption Agency Fees - facilitates our entire adoption process
$235 - Education & Trainings - to prepare us for our second adoption
$79.80 - Fingerprints for Indiana - background check
$890 - Immigration - federal background check with the Department of Homeland Security
$579 - Authentication of Dossier - county, state, and federal approval on dossier documents
$1,190 - Log In Fee - China collects this fee when our dossier is logged into their system
$600 - Matching Fee - once we are matched with a child, this fee is paid
$350 - Visas - allow us to enter China
$4,800 - Airfare to and from China
$14,375 - Travel Expenses - orphanage donation, hotel, flight within China, food, tours, etc.
$34,103.80 - GRAND TOTAL
For our last adoption, we used $25,000 that we had set aside to build our "dream home" to pay many of our adoption fees (of course now we know we are living the dream in our real dream home). Our puzzle fundraiser brought in an additional $5,425, and the Bauermeister family donated $6,000 to us. Our first adoption was fully funded! This time, we have much less money set aside for this adoption...$8,400 to be exact. Your next question is probably, "How do you plan to afford this adoption?" Let me explain.
Adoption Tax Credit:
We received $8,400 on our tax return due to the Adoption Tax Credit. We will receive the remaining $4,570 on our 2014 tax return, assuming we have at least that amount of tax liability. This makes $12,970 that we can apply to this current adoption due to the Adoption Tax Credit.
Employee Assistance Benefit:
Per our puzzle fundraiser conditions, we paid forward the $5,000 that Ryan received from his employer after Tucker's adoption was complete to the Haun Family as they bring home Charlie Mae from China. We will most likely need the $5,000 that Ryan receives after this adoption is finalized. This brings our total to $17,970. If we are fortunate enough to be awarded grants to cover our adoption costs without this $5,000, we would likely give this benefit to another adoptive family again!
It is our hope to hold another puzzle fundraiser when we are further in the adoption process to provide an additional $5,000 for this adoption, and the result has been more amazing than we could have hoped. We treasure Tucker's puzzle and tell him that every single piece of the puzzle represents someone who helped bring him home. We would love to do the same for our next child! This time, however, we plan to use a website where people can make tax deductible donations. Stay tuned! If we reach our $5,000 goal, we will have $22,970 to put toward this current adoption.
MudLOVE Bracelet Fundraiser:
When we decided to adopt again, we had no idea that my dad and stepmom would initiate this fundraiser. They bought us 100 bracelets, and we sold them for 100% of the profit. So many people were interested that we reordered an additional 165 bracelets. If our calculations are correct, this fundraiser will bring in $2,032.21. We will announce the final numbers after all bracelets have been distributed, and the money is collected. If that number is correct, we will have $25,002.21 for our adoption.
After completing our home study, Ryan and I applied for seven different grants that provide assistance for adoption. We will probably not hear back from the grant organizations until October and as late as January. We might apply for 2 additional grants, if necessary, later in our adoption process. We are hoping to be awarded grants to provide for the remaining $9,101.59, assuming that our total costs really are $34,103.80. Depending on time of year in which we travel, our hotel and airfare could be more or less expensive, but we will not know until the last minute.
So, in sum, we are beginning this adoption with only $8,400, and to be completely honest, this money is nearly gone already due fees we have paid so far. However, among all of the ways listed above and our very conservative personal spending, we are choosing to believe that God will provide every penny we need to bring home our 4th child.
I know many people are outraged by the costs associated with adoption. However, I am choosing to be part of the group that says it is the best money we will ever spend. Our cars will eventually break down. Vacations will eventually end. In time, we will move out of our homes. Our clothes won't fit, or they will go out of style. Our jewelry will break, get lost, or sit in a box. The latest technology will soon become obsolete.
On the other hand, a child who was once relinquished will now have a forever family. This child will come to know that God loves him/her and will learn all about Jesus. The child will receive love, education, food, friendship, and grace. This child will have the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others. This child will have the opportunity to change the world. I cannot think of any better way to spend my money, and I am SO GRATEFUL to all of you who agree and helped us bring Tucker home and are now helping us bring this child home, too.
Money cannot be the reason that these children never experience the love of a family. I cannot imagine Noah, Liam, or Tucker living in an institution until age 14, having no hope for their future, struggling to earn money to live, and never knowing the love God has for them. Please don't let money be a hurdle that prevents you from adopting a child. I would love to talk to you if you have any questions about affording adoption. I cannot wait to see how God helps us fund this adoption so that it can be an encouragement to all of you!