One of the most common things I hear from people thinking about adoption is in terms of how much it costs. In many cases it is the equivalent of buying a new car (or two!) or putting a child through college â€“ depending on the type of adoption process you may be considering. So for many, the cost is the major deterrent in deciding whether or not to pursue adoption.
As a husband and a father finances hit especially close to home. And dealing with the financial aspects of adoption can be a painful process that calls for much grace, wisdom, faithfulness, and trust in God’s provision!
Personally I struggled with this in my own adoption. I was desperate for wisdom to be realistic about what we really could or could not afford. I was also fearful that God would not provide. I needed to grow in faith â€“ to step out and trust God when we sensed that He was speaking and calling us to move and act.
In this season I felt led by God that Shawnda stay home and prepare for us having children, but that left us relying on my salary of $24,000 a year. My beautiful wife was filled with a passion to be a mother and along with that a longing for me, as her husband, to do what I could to make that happen! I admit there were times when I felt her longing as pressure and sometimes felt like less of a man because I could not provide better financially. But more than the pressure and sense of inadequacy, I really did want to see that desire fulfilled. I wanted children. I wanted my wife to be a mom. I wanted to experience with her the joy of being parents. Both of us ultimately knew that it was up to the Lord to make it happen. All we could do was trust in the Lord and faithfully do our part.
In the midst of all the struggles, the tears, and the prayers, the call to move ahead with adoption â€“ no matter the cost and how little financially we had â€“ was clear. We filled out our application to begin our homestudy and someone ‘happened’ to send us a check out of the blue that covered the amount we needed. That was the first of many confirmations that God was sovereign over the whole process.
It is also encouraging to know there are an increasing number of resources to help finance adoption. I encourage you to make use of as many as possible, as you have need. Here are a few we have personally found helpful and a number of others:
Federal Adoption Tax Credit
Currently there is a federal adoption tax credit that provides a credit of up to
$10,960 (for 2006) for ‘qualified adoption expenses,’ (subject to certain income
limitations beginning at $164,410 (for 2006). This credit has helped many couples plan and finance their adoption. Additional details about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit can be found at here (http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html or http://goadoption.com/everyone_wants_to_know/adoption_tax_credit/adoption_tax_credit.html.)
The ABBA Fund (http://www.abbafund.org) and Life International are two ministries designed to help Christian families pay for adoption through no-interest loans that can be paid back over time. The loans are designed to provide temporary funding equal to some or all of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that is available and are to be paid back as the Federal Adoption Tax Credit is actually received.
Other loan options worth looking into are Home Equity Loans, Lines of Credit, borrowing from family or friends, low-interest credit cards.
A legitimate way to raise money for your adoption is through good ol’ fashioned fundraising. I have heard of families selling baked goods, holding garage sales, etc. My wife and I were given 200 worship CD’s by a friend who has a band that we in turn sold for $10 a piece to friends at church. We sold over 120 CD’s and that paid for a good portion of the home study costs. There are many possibilities here.
Many friends and family, once they realize how much adoption costs, will joyfully give to help out. I recommend being honest with people about how much adoption costs and at the same time honest about your trust in God to provide those finances. We were blessed to receive a number of one-time gifts from individuals whom God stirred to give.
There are a number of ministries that give grants that are worth looking into, most notably:
- Life International (matching grants)- www.lifeintl.org
- Shaohannah’s Hope â€“ www.shaohannahshope.org
- Caroline’s Promise (North Carolina only) â€“ www.carolinespromise4u.org/
- God’s Grace Adoption Ministries â€“ http://www.ggam.org
- The MICAH Fund (Midwest only) â€“ www.micahfund.org
- International Children’s Adoption Resource Effort â€“ www.intlcare.org
- National Adoption Foundation â€“ www.nafadopt.org
- Fore Adoption Foundation â€“ www.foreadoption.com
- Kingdom Kids â€“ www.kingdomkidsadoption.org
Employer Adoption Assistance
A number of companies have adoption assistance programs built into their benefits with some providing between $2000 to $8000. For more information visit www.adoptionfriendlyworkplace.org
Church Adoption Assistance Funds
An increasing number of churches are establishing Adoption Funds as part of their budgets. Our current church has such a fund though it is not widely advertised. I recommend asking your pastor whether your church has something set up. If not, ask about starting a fund. This may feel awkward or a conflict of interest but I believe that the long-term benefit to the church will outweigh the benefit you will receive if it is setup right.
More Information About the Cost of Adoption and Financial Assistance Alternatives:
- Download Adoption Costs & Financial Assistance Resoources – a PDF from Irving Bible Church.
- Funding Adoption at adoptionblogs.com
Overall in our adoption journey what I saw and learned was that God cares for the orphans more than I ever will and He has all the resources in the world at His disposal to give to whoever He desires. From the first $200 that we needed for our initial application fee to the last amount needed to travel to Florida to finalize the adoption, our needs were met! In fact, we spent a very minimal amount of our own money on the adoption; the majority of the complete cost was paid for through individual gifts, fundraising, grants, and a no-interest loan.
Please do not let finances stop you from obeying God’s call. Adoption is an incredible opportunity to move away from the temptation of comfort and towards the great need that exists in the world when it comes to the orphan. It is an incredible opportunity to glorify God in meeting a massive need, experiencing a God-ordained way of growing your family, and to see Him magnified in the means of making it happen.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We would welcome the opportunity to point you toward helpful resources as you press forward on this great adventure.