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How Do I Afford the Early Part of My Adoption Process?


affording adoption Affording adoption can seem daunting. The adoption tax credit is available to help some families, but those funds aren’t available until the adoption is complete. Many generous grant organizations exist to help families afford adoption. However, they often maintain requirements that monies can’t be distributed until later in the process – after a home study is complete or after a referral is accepted. What do you do in the meantime when you are just starting on your adoption journey?

Follow these steps at the beginning of your adoption journey to ensure that you are adequately prepared to afford your international adoption.
  1. Review your past three to six months of spending. Where can you cut back? Do you really need the three disc plan from Netflix? Can you cut back to instant stream only? How about eating out less? What about skipping that morning visit to Starbucks? How about a “staycation” instead of traveling somewhere? Go to the library and borrow a book about frugal living. Select some concrete steps that are right for your family and will reduce your monthly spending.
  2.  Open a designated adoption savings account. Many banks offer online savings accounts that do not require minimum balances or charge high fees. is a good place to start looking for an account. Your local credit union is also likely to have inexpensive savings account options. Choose an estimated monthly savings amount based upon the spending review you conducted in step 1. Immediately, arrange for this amount to be deducted from every paycheck or automatically transferred from your checking account and directly deposited into your adoption savings account. Steady, monthly deposits will add up to a significant amount over time. Starting early in your adoption process is important to increase the amount that you can save. Also, make sure you transfer any money that you already have set aside for adoption into this fund.
  3. Place all windfalls in your adoption savings account. Getting a tax refund this year, a bonus from work, or a generous cash gift from Grandma? Deposit the funds directly into your adoption savings account. If you receive a raise during your adoption process, consider increasing the monthly amount that you deposit into your adoption savings account by the amount of your raise.
  4. Look around your house for items you don’t need. Chances are, if you are like most people, your house is filled with items that you haven’t used in some time. What can you sell? Look into selling these items on Ebay or Craigslist. Hold a garage sale. Deposit your proceeds into your adoption savings account.
  5. Seek opportunities to earn extra income. Are you an accountant that can do taxes on the side; a handy-man that can work on the weekends building decks? You may have an artistic, crafty side. Think about opening a shop on Etsy. Deposit your earnings into your adoption savings accounts.
  6. Get help from loved ones. You may have friends or family members that are willing to help. Share your story and explain your goal. Even if they aren’t in a position to make a donation to your adoption, they may be willing to forgo buying or receiving gifts for Christmas or Birthdays and that money can be placed in your adoption savings account.

With this steady approach, the balance in your adoption account will grow. As you move along in the adoption process, you will then be able to apply to adoption grant organizations and assess your progress to determine if fundraising efforts are necessary.

Finally! After months of financial sacrifice your child is home. You can go back to drinking Starbuck’s and start planning that Spring Break on St. Johns – right? Sorry, no. The financial demands of parenting your child have only just begun. The costs of clothes, additional groceries, extra-curricular activities add up. And, remember that amount you faithfully saved every month in your adoption savings account? Well, now, it’s time to investigate which college savings 529 plan you can start depositing it into every month. No one said parenting would be easy!

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2013

 For more information about MLJ Adoption’s international adoption programs, please contact us.

Sheri Molnar is the Director of Operations and Finance at MLJ Adoptions. Visiting children living in institutions in Honduras and Congo has provided her with a tremendous motivation to come into work each day and work tirelessly on behalf of children in need of loving, permanent homes.