Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paying for Int'l Adoption: how we are doing it {hush hush}

No one likes to talk about money. I think this is because people either 1) want others to think they are made of it or 2) don't want to admit they are, in fact, not made of it. Yet when it comes to International Adoption, we hear about money a lot. Most commonly I hear -  'Oh i would adopt it if I could afford it'. Perhaps that is the case for everyone who has told me but I also feel like adoption is scary enough taking on the unkowns, taking on an unknown with the costs, can seem unmanageable.

The reality is that if you live in the US and pay taxes, you can adopt internationally for less then $10,000 (including a 2 week all inclusive trip to China!). And while $10k is no small chunk of change it is doable for many families. Before I get to that though...let  me back up....

Ever since Alexis joined our family I have been torn on if I want to work outside the home or not.  I enjoy my job a ton (good ppl, interesting work, great flexibility, good money)...but I enjoy my kids as well.  For now, working part time from home is the perfect balance.

For Emma's adoption, we used my part time income as our 'adoption fund'. We had plenty of time to save due to the time required for the process. This time around,  given the unexpected speed of Lingao's adoption, we are less prepared. I have been on unpaid leave for 3+ months and spent most of our disposable income prior to that on our new home that we built. ;-(

In our defense....we honestly were not thinking we would accept a referral until the fall...after I had been back to work for a while and saved some more towards our adoption fund. Then we saw Lingao's file and that plan went out the window.

What does International Adoption cost in China? Here is my quick rundown:

Now...back to my original point. There is a tax credit (better than a deduction this is a refund!) in the United States for $13,000 of adoption related costs. In the past it has been refundable but not sure on that aspect. In any case, this means that..

You can adopt internationally for ~ $10,000. Including a 2 week trip to China!!

The day we accepted Lingao's referral, I went into Dave Ramsey 'gazelle' mode looking for these funds.  And then God showed up in a big way.

Here is the net:
  • We sold our second car. Note: We sold it for roughly the same amount we paid for it 18 mos ago. Very little if any money was invested in it over the time we owned it (thank you handy hubby!).  We do still need to buy a replacement second car but plan to spend $2,250 less than what our old car brought in. NET - $2250.
  • Returned some furniture I had recently purchased (instead we are using my Craigs list find table that I already had). NET = $885
  • Cancelled our gym/pool membership for the remainder of the year (at least) - $200/mo. NET = $800
  • Our builder agreed to give us $500 back for under cabinet lighting I had previously paid for that has yet to be installed. NET = $500
  • Matt went to a friends house to play poker 2 days after we said yes and won $65.  note - Matt had never played poker before and had to receive a lesson before they started!!. NET = $65
  • Here is the big one...our agency contacted us and told us we received a grant for $3000 from a wealthy family that donated the $$ to them.  Note - we did not apply for this nor did I know this was available. We found out we got the grant the day after we sold the car! NET = $3,000
Total $$ found in 6 days = $7,500

Doing the math on our sub-totals..
  • Our employer contribution towards adoption costs -  $8,000
  • US tax credit -  $13,000.
  • Previously mentioned $$ raised in 6 days. $7500
Total $$ available to Lillie Family for Lingao's adoption: $28,500. We are fully funded!! 
Are you  interested in International Adoption but think you can't afford it? Contact me and let me help you creatively think of a way to fund that last $10,000 and cash flow the US Governments $13k.  I bet you will be amazed at how quickly you can do it!!  Gym memberships, car payments, vacations, selling extra things (bikes, playsets, blackberries, iphones, laptops, etc), renting out your house (this is a great one in Ann Arbor!). There are also tons of grants out there!!I have seen online fundraisers, garage sales, and other 'gazelle' activities raise this kind of $$ in weeks!! ;-)

*** One note - We are not fundraising for this adoption and this post is in no way requesting funds (Trying to avoid the awkward conversations by being up front here!). Yes, we could have 'borrowed' the $$ from ourselves (from our savings / emergency fund) but there is something to be said for sacrifice and depending on God.  Just another reassurance that He has our back!

2015 update -- here is a link to my recent post on picking an agency!! Do your homework and save yourself a lot of $$!!


Mellissa said...

Love-Love-Love randomly following your life! Congratulations!! God is sooo good. Would love to have you guys over for a playdate sometime, we're pretty close now. Hope your newest blessing comes home soon, Mellissa Boland

MarthaB said...

Love this post! We are both on board to adopt again but of course $ has been the obstacle to even thinking about starting the process again, this gives me the motivation to buckle down and to try and figure out how we can make this happen! I left my job 5 months after we adopted and $ has been tight but it looks like there are ways we could still get creative :)

Jessim said...

It is so wonderful you've been able to find a way to fund this without digging in too many couch cushions! (Do you think my neighbors would notice if we went and dug in theirs?) The idea of fundraising is just not something I could do, except maybe make stuff to sell on etsy. I couldn't solicit funds for sure.

Your estimated costs are the lowest I've seen. Would you mind emailing me your agency? (Though homestudy is my biggest worry- the mileage rate seems so high, and we are a rural state with very few social workers...)

I wish my employer had a contribution like yours does! The best we get is 3 days of adoption leave, and they say that is generous.

Leslie said...

Great post! It is refreshing to see a family being proactive and finding creative ways to make their dream come true.

The 5 year wait for my daughter's referral added an additional $7,000 in fees due to multiple updates, agency closure, etc. Needless to say, my adoption savings were depleted. I was able to use my car as collateral to secure a loan for the final fees/expenses. 5 years of loan payments are a blip on the radar. Heck, the last 2 years home have been a blur! I also made the decision to travel solo (I'm single) due to the $2000 coach plane tickets, bought my daughter a lap ticket for the return trip, chose to stay at the Victory Hotel over the White Swan with the rest of my travel group and I passed on the additional tours. An adoption trip is not a vacation.

It can be done!

Congratulations on your beautiful family.