Posted by MissyHall | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 11-04-2012
Tags: adoption, costs, Missy Hall, saving
While we are waiting…we will navigate the ins and outs of the costs of adopting.
Last fall my boy asked, “How much does it cost to go to to our family out to dinner?”
“Well, it depends on where we go.” I answered. He must have been craving In and Out, or maybe just a fun family outing, or maybe he just didn’t know quite know that earning a quarter per chore takes a while to add up to $20. But, any way you slice it, he treated us to dinner! It was a sweet time out, where he was able to spend the money that he had been earning and he got to spend time with his favorite people. (At least I still think that we are his favorite people, but he is slowly moving in to that phase of thinking his friends know it all and are super cool to boot!)
In our house we have a quarter system: our kids can earn a quarter for each of the chores you perform and you can lose a quarter if you get a “ticket” for naughtiness. (Other tickets include, Lose Dessert, Go to bed early and No TV) Basically, this night, he emptied out his cup, he took all his birthday money in his wallet and insisted on paying! It was a first. It may have made me cry…just a bit.
So, my question is: What are you saving for? The high costs of adoption often stop people from moving forward. I’ve had friends tell me that “We would like to adopt, but if I have a child, insurance will cover the costs.” It makes me sad that the process is so difficult, so uncertain and so costly. It also makes me sad that great families are missing out on great kids because of the fear of the costs. I do not believe that money has to be a roadblock in this journey.
I know in comparing spending quarters for In and Out and the thousands of dollars it could cost to adopt is truly comparing apples and oranges (I know), but, Brother Bear was willing to spend it all for something he valued. We all have different values and things that we deem important. Look at the things we do spend money on: cars, trips, house remodels, schools, other material things (and this list can go on and on.) Yet, the way you prioritize will be different from the way that I do. Just look at my kids’ little piggy banks: they believe they are saving for worthwhile things, too, and while (another!) purse may be on the top of Sister Bear’s list, it is not my biggest desire these days.
If you are adopting abroad, each country has different requirements, and often a big piece of that is travel. One organization that helped us think through some of the specifics when were in pre-Phase 1 was Holt International. They have online interactive webinars. In fact, I got an email about one entitled “How to obtain Financial Assistance” that is coming up this month. There are grants, tax credits, and many organizations that will provide assistance.
We have chosen to stay local and when you Foster to Adopt, there are little costs involved. We paid for fingerprinting, a copy of our DMV records, the Home Study through our agency, but you could also choose to be licensed through your county. We have also filed the additional paperwork (and an additional set of fingerprints…why LIVE Scan can’t use the same set twice is beyond me.) to be prepared for a private adoption. So far, the calls we have received have been along this line. The birth mom has been willing to sign a relinquishment as opposed to the Judge ordering a removal of a child. Costs for this are higher, but we have decided that it is a priority of something we will save for. And it has truly been amazing to experience people’s generosity as unlikely friends have contributed to this adventure. In fact, money has shown up in some of the strangest of places. My grandmother passed away four years ago, but Wells Fargo called because she had a safe deposit box. We went on a “treasure hunt” to drill the box and found old coins…the perfect treasure hunt booty…and even that is going into the savings!
Additionally, we are realizing that there is very little we need to buy or even can buy at this point as we don’t know the gender, the age, the size or the timing of when a future child will join our family. We have bought only two special gifts: a koala from Build-a-Bear filled with love notes from each of us. It is a visual reminder in our home of the child who will one day snuggle up with this little stuffed-y. And, a book that I bought at a conference in 2005. Hunnie and I wrote a message to him/her in the front cover when all this was still just a far off dream!
Since we believe “it takes a village”, we are trusting that we will get some awesome hand-me-downs when that time comes. And truly, a forever family is way more valuable than any “stuff” we could purchase! Basically, we are saving, we are trusting and we are still just waiting!