Once my husband and I had decided that we would pursue private adoption, there were still so many questions that had to be answered. Would we use an adoption consultant? Could we afford one? How do we feel about using an adoption placement agency? Would choosing to just use an attorney yield the results we were looking for? Oh the choices! So we began to pray.
We took the foster and adoption certification classes through the state. Honestly I recommend it for anyone considering fostering or adoption. It was incredibly informative and educational. Even though we landed on private adoption, we learned so much about the process and the emotional aspects for everyone involved.
Even though our journey to become a family had taken many unexpected turns, would you think that I was still holding on to my plans and dreams about how this was all supposed to work? Perhaps it was the loss we had experienced and the grief that came along with that, but I was holding on to some unrealistic expectations for how I thought all this was supposed to play out. The birth mother would be doing this for the “right reasons”, because she wanted a better life for her baby - one she just couldn’t provide.
We had major reservations about involving an agency. We had heard birth mothers using one would have all of their bills taken care of once they signed on. That meant things like cell phones, cable and other things we thought were “luxuries”, things my husband and I worked two jobs to pay for during different seasons of life. We heard they supported boyfriends without jobs, and other children with the support they received. We had also known birth mothers who took all the support throughout a pregnancy, only legally change her mind in the end, taking these birth parents for every cent they paid her to support her throughout her pregnancy. At the time, we just couldn’t swallow this concept. That also meant we would decide against the consultant agencies, not to mention the additional fees we couldn’t afford either.
So we were left with finding an attorney to help us find our baby. There was a part of me that was afraid of finding a birth mother in the same city we lived in. One of my deepest fears was that the birth mom would show up at my child’s school and watch them on the playground. I just wanted some physical separation between us. I didn’t want a door to be open for “stalking”. So I started calling attorneys who had been recommended back home, since we visited at least once a year we could accommodate a birth family wanting an annual visit. But it all felt very business-like, transactional and cold. I felt a bit defeated.
Another friend suggested I call an attorney in our state. I wasn’t jumping up and down about the idea. But I took a chance and made the call. This guy gave me thirty minutes on the phone – which was ten to fifteen more than all of the others I had spoken with. AND, he wanted to set a time for us to come in and meet with him. He said to plan three hours! Already I felt like maybe God had finally answered a prayer about our journey. I started to feel hopeful.
As my husband and I traveled over an hour to meet with this attorney, we had revisited that we didn’t feel comfortable paying certain birth mother expenses. But I pointed out that we may have to let some of those expectations go, because in the end all that mattered was that we brought a baby home. During our conversation with the attorney, he actually brought up some of the expenses and that he tried to minimize them with the birth mother – precisely the things we had discussed as a couple. And then he shared with us that he had lost his special needs brother just weeks before.
Thank you God for sending us an attorney who understood the financial and emotional strain that goes along with being a special needs parent. We really felt like he would help minimize both the financial commitment and the emotional drama. We felt like our prayers had been answered, and we knew we would sign on with him and take a step forward in our journey. We had always embraced the word “BELIEVE” in our journey with our son, and we had adopted the symbol of the bumblebee for him years ago when we learned that science says a bumblebee’s wings are too small to support that fat little body for flight. But God says the bumblebee can fly, and so the bumblebee flies! Would you believe that on our drive home, a bumblebee got caught in our windshield wiper?? What a sign – one we had prayed for and had waited for!!
So began our waiting period. And we did wait, but we never waivered that God had the perfect baby out there for us. It was about eight months before we got the call about a potential situation. We knew that had we used a consultant, our wait would probably be three or four months. But we waited in quiet confidence that our God would not forsake us. We knew his plan was perfect, even if it was bumpy, if the road was long, and if there were many twisting turns along the way. We were matched, but like everything else on this journey, it was not picture perfect and it did not go as we envisioned or planned.
I want to encourage you, that no matter what path you choose for adoption, you will know if it’s right for you or not. Be honest with your spouse about what you can handle, what you are willing to concede, and if you are willing to wait. Different answers than we had don’t make either of us wrong or right, just surrendered to God that he will lead us on the journey that’s right for your family. Trust in the Lord and He will guide you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart: do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (NLT)
This was our adoption fundraiser t-shirt!
We know that families praying about adoption and foster care have many questions. You are not alone! We would love to hear your question and feature it on Adoption Strong's blog Q & A Friday. Simply go to our Ask a Question page and submit your question to us and some of our team of contributors will respond.
And now for today's question:
How can we afford adoption? And how do I raise money for adoption?
God’s will is God’s BILL. God’s will done God’s way will never lack GOD’s SUPPLY. I really clung to those in my journey. Some may be called to fundraise and some may be called to sit STILL and let Him facilitate the details. For me, I was called to sit STILL. I remember believing with a full heart that we would have a debt free adoption and I looked at my husband and told him that. I remember the exact spot where we were talking in our kitchen. He looked at me like I was crazy. Would you believe 4 months later we were overflowing with an Ephesians 3:20 blessing and had enough and then some to cover the whole adoption. God creates a story through each of us and if we hand Him the pen, we will surrender the stress and worry of the financial side of it. HE WILL take care of the details. If you are called to adopt, He will provide. I strongly suggest spend quiet time with God to hear from Him, meet with people who have adopted to gain knowledge from their stories, and most of all come in agreement with your spouse as this is key in receiving the blessing from God.
When my husband & I started the adoption process for the first time in 2014, we had minimal savings & were overwhelmed by the cost. After researching & talking to other adoptive families, we learned that our concern was common & that many couples overcome the financial obstacles in adoption by fundraising. The more we looked into adoption fundraising, the more encouraged we became. We also learned there are adoption grants & interest free loans that adoptive families can apply for. After doing significant fundraising for our first adoption & some for our second, we learned a lot.
I wanted to give y’all thorough answers to these questions, so I wrote a full blog post on this topic. The post is titled Adoption Fundraising Info, Ideas, Tips & Encouragement & is up on my blog now:
The financial aspect of adoption is definitely intimidating, but do not let the cost discourage you from moving forward. My advice to you is if you feel like God has put this particular avenue of adoption on your heart, it is for a reason & purpose! You'll probably have to get creative, work hard & make many sacrifices to bring in the funds, but as any family blessed by adoption will tell you...it's SO beyond worth it!
There are a variety of options, practically endless. Each will have it’s own set of positives and negatives. Whether it’s barely successful or wildly successful depends on how passionate you are about promoting your efforts and asking your support network to spread the word.
PRODUCT SALES – T-shirts, dip mixes, things you make. Just realize unless you are making it yourself, everyone takes a percentage of your sales, sometimes more than what they pay you, so be selective.
ONLINE AUCTIONS – if you have connections to get a few great high-quality products, go for it! Keep it small and manageable.
GARAGE SALES – they can require a lot of effort, but can also provide you with high returns. Ask your family and friends to donate items and help you run it and help you promote it. (Coming up, I have a post about all the ins and outs of how to make this extremely successful for you!)
TAP INTO YOUR RETIREMENT FUND – there are penalties for this, but if you don’t have the time and energy to fundraise the old-fashioned way or you aren’t ready to be public about your journey.
APPLY FOR GRANTS/ZERO INTEREST LOANS – employers and organizations at-large offer these opportunities to couples adopting and sometimes is extended to immediate family members too (so your parents might be employed by a company that offers assistance!).
Usually, it’s a combination of these things unless you just sold a big piece of investment property or recently won the lottery. We set up a separate savings account for the expenses and funds, so we could keep track and watch it grow. It might be slow at first, so be patient and trust that HE has you and will help you get there.
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper