Don’t Let Money Stop You From Adopting

Sam and I never realized, when we started our adoption journey over 10 years ago, that we we would be pegged “the people to ask about adoption.”  By adopting ourselves, it became an accidental calling for us to encourage others to adopt.  “Accidental” because though I love talking about adoption and helping people figure out if it’s the right path for them, it’s a ministry I never expected.

One of the questions I get asked the most is:

How do you afford it?

My answer to anyone who thinks that money is an obstacle for adoption is this:

Money should NOT be an obstacle for adopting a child.  Money should never keep us from bringing a child into a forever family.

Yet I hear this over and over again:

“I’d like to adopt, but it’s just so expensive.”

Money is a big reason why people don’t adopt. According to a recent survey, 33% of Americans consider adoption. 79% are concerned about the cost. Less than 2% adopt.

This is our third adoption on a pastor’s salary.  We are not rich folks, people. Instead, we had a “adoption financial plan” each time.

But this is what we’ve learned through three adoptions:  It’s possible to save for adoption on a stable income without taking out loans. We are proof of that. It’s possible to adopt and still pay your bills. You won’t starve. You won’t go bankrupt. You might even be surprised at how your needs are provided for in incredible ways. It will stretch your faith.

So when people say it’s expensive, but refuse to change their lifestyle in order to make it happen, I question how “called” they really feel.

Because if you don’t have a problem buying a $25,000 vehicle, but have a problem with a $25,000 adoption, then what are your priorities?

That’s not to say that I think everyone should adopt.

Adoption is a special calling and I would venture to say that few are called. That is okay. Follow your calling, whether it be biological children, adopted children, both or none.  There is no guilt in that.

Most people who adopt don’t have $25,000 sitting around. Instead they feel called to the adoption journey and intentionally pursue it. God works out the details.

When you feel called to something, you don’t hold back because you lack the resources.  You do it because you have the biggest resource of all: the power of God.

But even with God on your side that doesn’t mean you won’t have to sacrifice. You may feel the pinch financially. Or that pinch may feel bigger than a minor irritation–it might even hurt. For instance, you may have to give up your cable TV, your gym membership, or some other first world luxury.

When you compare the value of a child to the importance of a golf habit, the chips fall into place (no offense golfers). Suddenly that club membership just doesn’t seem so important.

So what does it take to come up with an adoption financial plan?

I’m no money expert, but here is a snapshot of how we’ve afforded it.

DSC02746

An Adoption Savings Plan (from a non-financial expert)

Make painful cuts in the budget. Get rid of all the excess fat in your spending.  No, you don’t need all those clothes or shoes. You don’t need to go out to the eat so much or get your nails done. It might be a temporary cut, or you might find afterward that it has revolutionized your lifestyle. You can live on far less than you think.

Live on one income.  Our first adoption was funded because we both worked and only lived on one income. Added bonus: It prepared us to live on a single income after the baby was born so I could be a stay at home mom.

Take on extra work.  I babysat when we were saving money for Silas’s adoption. Although the little girl was a peach to care for (truly, an easy kid), the truth is–babysitting is not my thing. I felt trapped at home. Our schedule revolved around the babysitting schedule, which was limiting. But I did it because I needed the money and I had a two-year-old at at the time, so it was a great way to earn cash for our adoption and stay home with my daughter at the same time.

Applying for adoption grants.  There are more out there than you think. They are long and tedious to apply for, but free money to adopt is worth it.  With our second adoption, we received a Show Hope grant from Stephen Curtis Chapman’s adoption foundation.

Fundraising. There are many creative ways to do this.  Let me tell you, it can be fun to see how your little community rallies around you.  We are beyond thrilled to see our little Pure Charity fundraiser totally funded.  Don’t overlook the power of a grassroots effort when it comes to funding your adoption. With social media and crowdsourcing, fundraising has never been easier.  Plus, your family may even throw a giant garage sale with handcut french fries to boot.

Donations.  Friends and family may loan or give you money because they love you. These usually come out of the blue, unasked for, at a time when you least expect it. The generosity of others will move you.  It will teach you to be more generous.

It usually takes a variety of all these things to bring in all the cash needed for an adoption. So make a plan and then after that?

Pray hard.  Give it to God.  Work your tail off.  Watch the need be filled. See God work.

If you’re called to adopt, the money will come together.  We are proof of that.

Sara

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