Most people have considered adopting, if only for a fleeting moment. What stops you from moving forward? Perhaps it’s not a good season of life – the house is too small, you’re recovering from an illness, there’s a big move on the horizon, your marriage isn’t stable or it just costs too much money. What if there was a way to remove that financial obstacle? There are ways to finance your adoption without losing your shirt.
Trim the Budget
As with anything in life, it’s important to plan. When we face situations that will require a lot of money, we need to take a look at the budget and see where it is reasonable to trim the fat. Can you downgrade the cable, decrease the amount of eating out, do a staycation this year or sell a big ticket item to raise the start-up costs or free up some money monthly to be saved throughout the year? Short-term sacrifices can lead to big rewards when something really matters to us.
Kudos to those companies who recognize the importance of adoption! Many businesses have begun to offer an adoption benefit to their employees. Check with your human resources department to see if you qualify. Active military members can also receive reimbursement for a portion of their adoption expenses.
Currently, the IRS offers a tax credit for eligible adoption expenses up to $12,170 for the year in which your adoption is finalized. If your adoption qualifies as special needs, you may be eligible to take the tax credit even if you do not incur any expenses. The credit is set to significantly decrease in 2013 if Congress does not approve an extension. Talk to your accountant to see if this credit would be beneficial to you.
Did you know that there are organizations out there who want to give you money to help bring your new child home? It’s true! Adoption grant and low to no-interest adoption loan organizations have a heart for helping unite families with children who need them. You won’t be able to apply for these grants and loans until you have an approved home study through a licensed agency, however. Fill out your applications carefully and be certain to include all of the information requested. These organizations have limited funds and many, many applicants. You don’t want to waste your one shot because of an error. As with any offer of money, do your homework. Research the organization online, check their rating with the Better Business Bureau and talk to your adoption agency and other adoptive families about their experience with the organizations you've chosen. While some organizations ask for an application fee, be wary of anyone asking for abnormally high "processing fees". If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The options are only as limited as your imagination. If you do not have the initial start-up costs for agency application and home study fees then fundraising will be necessary. Start by writing a letter to family and friends explaining your desire to adopt and describing your current situation and what type of child and adoption you are pursuing. Give them the opportunity to partner with you on this journey. Most adoption agencies and some grant and loan agencies will set up an account for your adoption allowing your friends and family who donate to receive a tax deduction for their gift. A good way to keep friends and family up-to-date on your progress is to start a free blog and you can even place a DONATE button on your blog for donors to give toward your adoption through Paypal.
There are also many companies who like to assist prospective adoptive parents by giving a portion of their proceeds toward your fund. Ask around at local businesses to see if they would be willing to hold a fundraising night where a portion of the proceeds would be donated for your adoption. Look for useful items to sell to promote your adoption. Two of our featured businesses this month are Just Love Coffee Roasters and My Crazy Adoption. Just Love will set up a website specific to your adoption and $5 from each bag of coffee that is purchased through your site will be donated toward your adoption costs. My Crazy Adoption offers creative apparel such as t-shirts, bags, hats and mugs with your own family’s adoption country and saying. Kari will work with you to design just the right logo for your adoption and you sell the apparel to your friends and family for a profit.
Another great fundraising option is to plan a big-ticket event. If you’re organizationally-challenged, grab some of your Type A friends and plan a fun night. Do you know some great musicians? Find a local venue that would be willing to waive the rental costs and hold a concert. Do you know a lot of runners? Hold a benefit run and charge a registration fee. Have you and your friends been meaning to clear out the closets and basements and garages? Hold a community yard sale with all proceeds donated to your adoption fund. My friend Chrissy’s yard sale netted over $1000…in the middle of the torrential rains that caused Tennessee’s spring flood of 2010! Don’t underestimate the willingness and ability of people to give when a cause touches their hearts.
Consider Adopting a Child with Special Needs
Will you consider opening your home to a child with special needs? Many international and domestic adoption agencies significantly reduce their fees and/or offer grants toward the adoption of children with varying special needs and other organizations such as Brittany’s Hope, Project Hopeful and Reece's Rainbow offer assistance toward bringing these children home. "Special needs" could mean that the child is older than most adoptive families would prefer, that they are part of a larger sibling group or that they have medical or mental conditions that would require specialized care. Additionally, there is little to no cost to adopt from the U.S. Foster Care System. Federal and state governments subsidize the cost of adopting a child through foster care and, in some cases, will continue to provide a monthly subsidy to the adoptive parents for the care of the child until he/she reaches the age of 18.
While the cost of adoption can appear daunting, you can find ways to pay for your adoption without losing your shirt. Don’t let money stand between you and your new child. For more information on financing your adoption, check out Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption by Julie Gumm.
Do you have a great adoption fundraising idea that you’d like to share with other prospective adoptive parents? Let us know!
Kim is the wife of one rockin' Worship Pastor and full-time mom to four crazy and beautiful kids. Toss in a part-time job, housework, a blog, training for a foster care license and what passes for a social life these days and she’s still wondering how she fits 32 hours into a 24 hour day.