Let’s preface this post by stating the obvious: Adoption can be expensive with no easy way to pay for it (unless you own the Isle of Maldives).
That said, it is possible for the average American family to afford an adoption, and–with a significant amount of determination, prayer, and elbow grease–to pay for it without accumulating debilitating debt. Let’s look at a potential road map to debt-free adoption.
1. Make the need known.
Most of us have been hardwired not to ask for money. In fact, we’ve been taught not to trust people who do. So when it comes to adoption, we feel hesitant to ask for help. Yet we may be underestimating what our friends and family want to do to make our adoption a reality. Consider writing a letter to those you know and love. Briefly share God’s heart for the orphan, His call to the church, your call to adopt, the details of your adoption journey, and your financial need.
Set up an online mySTORY account to make online giving even easier. (Note: 100% of each donation received by Lifesong goes directly to the need. Lifesong does not take admin fees.)
2. Ruthlessly cut unnecessary expenses.
Consider the things you may not need in this current season of life and do whatever you can to put pennies back in your pocket. Cut items like cable, fast food, and subscriptions where you can. Host a garage sale. (Better yet, invite friends to donate their unwanted items to your sale.)
3. Be discerning with fundraisers.
Sometimes we avoid directly asking people for money by selling T-shirts or hosting spaghetti dinners. And while these aren’t bad strategies, (We encourage families to fundraise!) selling a $20 T-shirt for a $7 profit may not always cut your straightest path to debt-free adoption. Consider fundraisers with the lowest possible overhead costs (such as offering babysitting or doing yard work) and host a fundraiser only after you’ve stated the need (see #1) to those in your inner circle.
“There were times throughout the process when we were not sure where the money would come from to fund our adoption process. God never failed us. Each time money was due, we had it. We don’t just have $40,000 sitting in the bank. If we can do this, anyone can. God provides!”
–Matthew & Heather
4. Partner with a business.
Look for businesses in your area who might be willing to donate services or products to support your adoption. Ask restaurants to put out a jar collecting change for your adoption. Check with your place of employment to see if they offer any adoption benefits. Build a team of people who will help you think outside the box to raise necessary funding.
5. Apply Adoption Tax Credits.
For 2016, the Adoption Tax Credit was $13,460. And though it isn’t as simple as receiving a fat check in the mail, it can be helpful after you finalize your adoption. For now, qualified adoption expenses for tax purposes include adoption fees, attorney fees, court costs, travel expenses, and re-adoption expenses related to adopting overseas.
6. Apply for adoption grants.
At least 27 different grant organizations (including Lifesong!) are looking to support adoptive families in process. Learn more about Lifesong’s matching grants.
7. Pursue fostering-to-adopt.
We would be remiss not to include fostering-to-adopt on a list of ways to affordably bring a child into your family. Thousands of waiting children in the U.S. need a family and do not require the same financial gymnastics to bring them home. Fostering-to-adopt isn’t for everyone (just like adopting overseas isn’t for everyone), but if you haven’t decided where you will adopt, keep fostering-to-adopt in mind. And check out our foster care ministry, The Forgotten Initiative, for encouragement and support.
Be encouraged. If God called you to pursue adoption, He will provide the resources to obey. Fundraising is a journey that God will use to prepare you for everything that is to come once your child is home. It will grow your faith, change your views, and heighten your awareness of your dependence on God–all helpful when rearing a child who will need love and healing.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24