Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Affording Adoption: Fundraising, Saving, and Deciding

It's a common concern among hopeful parents.  

You can afford to raise a child.  But you can't afford that whopping homestudy fee, the wait fee, the placement fee (gulp), the post-placement fees, and the legal fees.   (That's A LOT of fees).   And sometimes birth parent expenses.   Travel costs. 

So what do you do?  

I know some will tell you, "Just adopt from foster care.  It's free!"  But I want you to know that foster care adoption isn't for everyone, that it's OK to have a desire to adopt an infant domestically, and that you shouldn't adopt from foster care solely because it's free.  You need to go into foster care adoption understanding what you are doing and knowing a whole lot about trauma and attachment, among other things.

Alright, so you want to adopt domestically, but you can't afford all those fees.   What do you do?  

1:  You choose an affordable agency.

There ARE agencies that do not have $30,000+ fees.  There are.  I would know, as we used small, ethical, affordable agencies for all four adoptions.   This might mean you spend a lot of time choosing an agency.  This might mean waiting longer for a child (as big agencies tend to have more outreach, like advertising and PR tactics, and more connections).  

But listen.  The most important thing isn't a fast placement.  It's an ethical placement (that doesn't put you in the poor house). 

How do you find an ethical adoption agency?  I spend a great deal of words discussing that here.  Because it's so, so very important.  Remember:  every choice you make today has a forever impact and must be explained to the child you adopt in the future.    

2:  You don't make irresponsible decisions.

There are some financial decisions that may give you money NOW but could hurt you in the long run.  Very carefully consider how wise it is to take out a second mortgage, borrow money from a relative, or borrow from your retirement fund.  If you aren't financially savvy, talk to a trusted relative or friend about your options and concerns.  Making irresponsible decisions will negatively impact your finances for the long-haul.  

3:  You cut back. 

Before you ask others to help you afford to adopt, you do everything in your power to save on your own.  You cut out the extras:  cable TV, daily mornings stops for coffee and pastries, memberships (ahem, gym) that you do not use or use enough, frequent eating out/ordering in.  You figure out what is truly essential.  You take the money you were spending on these things and save, save, save.  (Plus, you'll be more fit!)

4:  You clean out your stuff and sell items. 

Think of the things you have that you don't need and can make you money!  A vintage collection of something, bigger items that you no longer use or need.  Think of this as a win-win:  you get more space in your home for all the baby stuff and you make money in order to afford adoption!  

5:  You take a second job.  

Sell a product on Etsy, get a second job on the weekends or evenings, offer a service (something you're good at).  Beware of pyramid schemes that are almost always a ton of work for very little pay off.  If you do opt to join a direct sales company, be sure it has a great reputation and doesn't require a lot of up-front investment from you.  (Remember you're trying to save money, not spend.)  

6:  You fundraise.  

I discuss this in my new book (ways NOT to be tacky when fundraising and how to handle criticism).  Fundraising can be effective.  To help you:  there are Facebook groups and there's this book by a mom-by-adoption. There are some great ideas out there:  selling t-shirts, puzzle fundraisers, auctions, dinners, yard sales.  There are endless possibilities!  The best thing you can do is talk to others who have done these successfully (try the adoption fundraising FB groups) and mirror what they did.  

My #1 fundraising rule, which I talk about in my new book, is this:  DO NOT BE TACKY.   (You're welcome.)

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