Monday, January 2, 2012

Let's get real

I am going to be blatantly honest in this post.  Just a forewarning folks.  This is the part that most people doing an adoption don't really like to discuss.  Finances.  I'm going to lay it all out there.  Adoption is expensive.  I don't care what people say, it is.  And yes, you can have all the faith in the world but you still best have a back up plan.  It's not that families can not afford to raise the child.  I want to clear that up right off the bat b/c I can't stand it when people do that.  "Well, if you can't afford the adoption, you can't afford to raise the child."  NOT TRUE!!!  Point being is majority of us do not have a spare $30,000 to $40,000 in the bank.  Granted most of us have retirement accounts but if they're like ours, you can't borrow but so much out of it b/c it is company money.  So, back to the issue at hand.  How in the world do you fund an adoption?

Many answers to that one. Some people apply for grants.  We had received 2 grants w/ Alyona and Nik's adoption.  This adoption, the sibs already came with a grant so that helped.  Still adoption out of pocket was around $26K for all three kids.  Had there not been a grant, $36K.  All things considered, that is not too bad in the adoption world for 3 kids.  So we spent a little over $8K on each child.  That is not something you have laying around the bank.  I am going to tell you all what we have done for all our kids and how we were able to get them all home.  I know sometimes, this helps other families in process.

First adoption of Irina and Max, both of us worked, economy was great & we knew we could make it work, just had to borrow the $20K we needed for them.  So, took out a home equity loan.  With today's market, you can't do that nowadays.  But, back in 1999, it was doable.  In addition, we both worked and both companies had a $5K reimbursement PER child.  So, Max and Irina's adoption was covered for the most part once we arrived home.

Next, we had Yana and Alex.  To date, theirs was still the most expensive adoption we'd ever done.  So expensive.  And honestly we put most of everything on a credit card.  We had no choice back then.  We did also borrow from retirement.  You can get no interest adoption loans sometimes as well.  We knew we had a reimbursement coming and tax time so that helped w/ most of their expenses.  However, we paid down stuff for YEARS.  YEARS.

Bojan, we actually borrowed from a loan we were using for the house.  In other words, much of the remodel stuff had to wait.  Bojan had to get home first.  And that was okay.  You do what you have to to get them home first and worry about details later. 

Alyona and Nik we did a little more borrowing and used quite a bit of tax money.  No, that does NOT nearly pay for it all but helps for sure.  Also, this is the first adoption we ever applied for grants.  We received two at the time.  One for $6K I believe and the other for $2K.  Can't remember if that was the # or not.  Just know we were paying on them for years as well.  It was tight.  Not going to lie to you.  It's hard.

We had no idea how in the world we'd pay for this last set of adoptions.  We could not borrow in places like we did before and pay back. That's not an option in today's economy.  Many in the adoption world are doing fundraisers.  We hated the thought of it but did manage to do a couple of fundraisers.  It's hard b/c it is chipping away and takes time.  I took on a part time job babysitting.  I still had the mindset we could for the most part do it on our own.  No, needed a village.  Many stepped forth to help which was amazing to witness.  A couple thousand came in from donations/ fundraisers.  I'm guessing around $2K to $3K total.  Now, you're thinking that does not nearly pay for the trip.  No, it doesn't.  However,once you commit to a child, it is your responsibility to get them home.  With the economy, can't borrow from the house, or retirement.  So, you are left with credit cards.  That is exactly what we did.  Hated it w/ a passion but we had no choice left.  No magic money was going to be flowing in last minute and we knew that.

So, we still have roughly $8K to pay off now.  Normally, that wouldn't seem too bad. However, Warren needs $8K worth of dental work, we need an $8K roof, we need diapers(unexpected), we have insurance that just went up, Warren's car needs repair, and the list could go on.  This is life.  Just the way it is.  Having the whole CPS debacle though ended up costing us around $5K.  That money would have been helpful right about now.  Some would say, oh but you'd be better off just leaving those kids behind, or why didn't you adopt just one.  Really, would they really have been better off dead....any of them?  Seriously, the fate of the majority of my kids was mental institution or life on the streets.  That is a fact.  So no, I don't think they were better off left behind and us having a car that worked better.  No, we don't live the high life.  That I know.  However, I think we're doing just fine.  Kids are healthy, happy and well adjusted.  No one is extremely sick. House is still standing.  Kids get to do activities and go places.  And, you know what they say...God will provide.  And He has.  We have medical needs met, vision and dental needs met.  We have food on the table.  We're healthy.  We have a job.  Yes, we have a lot of expenses coming up this year.  However, those would have happened whether we would have brought the kids home or not.

All I can say is when you commit to a child, you need to be aware of the expenses.  Follow your heart and gut but also have a plan if possible.  Ours was a last resort cards.  And, we had to use them.  Now, working to pay it down along w/ paying for other expenses.  Are they worth it?  Without a doubt!  Every single one of them.  Would I do it again?  Without a doubt!  It was the only way to get all of them home safe and sound.  They are our children. I know people in America still paying on their bio baby's expenses...five years later.  So, this I feel is no different.  You do what you need to for your children.  Do I wish I didn't have the extra expenses?  Yes.  As they say though, this too shall pass.

How was that for an open and honest post?  LOL.  I understand why many want to be "fully funded."  That would have been fantastic.  However, it just wasn't possible for us.  So, I took on a job babysitting to help fund our adoption.  I sold everything that wasn't being used.  I budgeted like crazy.  And now, we have three more kids home. A family complete.  It is hard work but worth it in the end.  The kids are not wanting for anything either.  I know many who say I could never do this. Yes, you can.  You can find a way.  Many who say this have a $30/$40K car sitting in the driveway.  Yes, the economy sucks.  But there are literally thousands waiting for a family.  And I guarantee you they wouldn't care if you sold your car and got a clunker if it meant them coming home to your family.  We have our "limousine."  Our Bulgarian kids call our van a limousine.  LOL.  Right now, they don't care what kind of car they have, if they have brand name clothes, or what else.  They have food, family and love.  For all of us, that is enough.  So, if you say you can't afford an adoption right now, please rethink or reconsider.  I am not advocating going broke for you do have to be able to provide for them.  I'm just saying think of taking on a second job for a bit, cutting back, budgeting, etc.  Trust me, they will appreciate the effort.  Yes, adoption is expensive.  But I know many a families who spent more on their bio kids that had complications at birth.  Only issue us adoptive families have is insurance won't pay for an adoption.  I always tell my kids we must really have wanted you.  My older kids have seen the process.  They offer to have bake sales, yard sales, etc.  Some come to me & will say "mom, I don't need this any more.  We can sell it to help get the kids home."  I never let them.  I know it is their choice but I don't want my kids to sacrifice to get their sibs home.  Warren and I will sacrifice but we feel our kids should not. And that's just the way we've always felt.  However, if they bring up helping get their sibs home, I let them have a bake sale or ice cream sale.  So, it is a great life lesson too.  Our kids at home see just how much time, money & love is poured into getting them home.  Some have remarked "wow, you did that for me too?"  Yes, yes we did.  Thanks mom. 

I know this was a very open post about money.  No one likes to talk about this part of adoption but it is the very core at why many shy away from the idea of adopting.  I know we almost did!  First time we went to a seminar by Frank Adoption Center back in '98 and heard it would be between $20K and $30K to adopt, I wanted to cry.  I did.  I turned to Warren and said "we can't afford to do this."  But here we are 10 kids later.  Where would these ten be now if we hadn't taken that leap of faith & looked for other ways to pay for the adoption?  Take a chance.  I always tell people it's not kids that cost you money, it's the lifestyle.  To an extent, that is true.  I will stop here.  I've already written too much.  Hope it wasn't offensive.  I'm not saying any one way is better than another.  We've taken on additional jobs, fundraised, sold stuff, gotten grants, budgeted, etc.  We've practically done it all over the last 12 years to get all of them home.  Just the way it is.  Just wanted to share what we've done.  Might give others some ideas of what they can do.  Good luck to all.  Focus on the kids, not the money but do have a back up plan.


  1. What was the CPS debacle? I'm new so maybe you can direct me to that post :)

  2. Check with your insurance. Many companies cover diapers for a child over age 4 with a prescription. Then they're delivered right to your door by a medical supply company. ;-) We weren't expecting diapers either. Nor we we expecting liquid poop 7-8 times a day. UGH

  3. You will be able to get the adoption credit for these adoptions, won't you? That will be a huge blessing for your family. I agree with Leah...get a doctors order for the diapers. Summer certainly should meet some criteria to get them covered. Give everyone a hug from Auntie Jo! : )