Planning to grow your family is one of the biggest decisions you make in your lifetime. This comes with excitement and joy as you and your partner plan for the next steps in your parenting journey. It can also come with stress surrounding fertility issues and finances. If you need to take an alternate route to parenthood, adoption might be the best suited for you.
A private adoption puts you in full control and in charge of the process, which can feel intimidating but it can also eliminate some of the costs associated with adoption. Adoption through an agency helps guide the process with a supportive team of experienced professionals that can help ease the stress on the new parents-to-be. Whichever route you choose for adoption, it can feel overwhelming. Take the time, develop a plan, break down your finances and the cost of adoption. When you have a financial plan in place and the right emotional support, you can focus on the excitement that is to come.
Understand adoption expenses
The first expense to take into consideration is the legal fees. There are legal fees to pursue both domestic and international adoptions. An attorney will outline a compensation structure and develop a plan should there be any pregnancy complications. Some agencies will include legal fees in their financial process.
Adopting through an agency comes with a different set of fees for adoptive parents. Choosing the right agency will help streamline the expenses the adoptive parents will be responsible for making it easier to be thorough and stay organized. Working with an agency alleviates some of the stress on the adoptive parents since the agency will handle sorting out the breakdown of these expenses. Logistically speaking, it can sound overwhelming but your agency has the tools in place to support you along your journey to ensure you’re confident every step of the way.
The adoptive family will also be responsible for expenses around the birth mother. These expenses include maternity care, travel, temporary living costs, maternity clothing etc. Birth parent expenses are usually determined case by case but you should receive information on the portion of these expenses you will be responsible for.
Determine your time frame
How soon are you looking to adopt? This a great question to consider as the adoption process can take time to find the right placement. Many prospective adoptive parents want to know how long the adoption process takes. Since every scenario is unique it is hard pinpoint an exact time frame. The type of adoption you choose to pursue, domestic, international or a foster care adoption, may offer a clearer timeline.
It is important to have an open and flexible mindset around the adoption timeline. This will alleviate stress and potential disappointment during the process. Other areas that impact your timeline are having a home study, creating an adoption profile and post-placement visits. Work closely with your adoption specialist to ensure you have met all other requirements. As you choose your adoption journey, allowing flexibility in your plan will help keep the process moving.
Create a family budget
The cost of adoption is one of the biggest intimidations on the journey. Ensure you have a budget and savings plan in place to build your emergency savings and adoption fund. Examine your income, bills and other financial responsibilities to create a realistic budget for your household. Building this budget will help you feel financially secure and confident as you dive into paying for the cost of adoption.
Plan for your budget post baby as well and consider the cost of baby expenses. After the adoption process you will be responsible for the child’s clothing, food, diapers, child care, etc. You can have a baby shower or set up a baby registry to help collect essentials before you bring the child home. Medical expenses post-adoption is also important to keep in mind as you create your monetary budget.
Research benefits and resources available to you
The resources available to adoptive parents are endless. Learn more about the adoption process by taking an adoption course. Building your adoption education helps you understand each step of the way along the adoption journey.
Work with your employer to dig into your workplace benefits to see what is available to you as you go through the adoption process. Your company may offer reimbursement for adoption expenses and a paid or unpaid leave for adoptive parents. Having this information early in the process will help to plan appropriately for when the baby arrives.
There are numerous resources available to read, listen to and watch to build your knowledge of the adoption process. It is even helpful for the adopted child to understand the process as well. Utilize resources provided by the agency, if you choose to go through one, the library and other resources available on the internet.
Plan ways to cover cost
Once you have a timeframe and budget in place it is time to plan how you will pay for the adoption. As mentioned, start by working with your employer and insurance provider to see what is covered under your insurance plan. This will give you a better idea of what is expected out of pocket after the covered expenses.
To pay for the remainder of these expenses you can use your savings to help cover costs. It is important to continue building on this as you are exploring the adoption process. Keeping a growing savings account will build your financial security.
Another option some people choose is to finance an adoption. If digging into your savings is a route you do not feel comfortable taking, see what financing options are available to you. You may choose to explore a personal line of credit to pay for your adoption expenses. This will give you flexibility to pay for expenses as they arise (during the draw period). You may also choose to use a credit card to cover the costs associated with adopting.
You are not alone on this journey, lean on your family, friends and community for support to help cover costs of adoption. Some family or friends may offer monetary gifts to offset the cost to the adoptive parents. Your community may want to help raise funds and host a community fundraising event like a lemonade stand or 5k run. This is a fun way to relax and help reduce the stress associated with the costs of adoption.
Keep in mind, this can be a long process. Having patience and understanding will allow for a more relaxed environment as you grow your family. A clear plan will allow you to prepare yourself both financially and emotionally for this next step.
The adoption does not end when the adoption process ends. Take time to prepare yourself for what to expect when you bring a child into your home and what life after adoption will look like. The new family dynamic will be an adjustment for all but with planning and knowledge, you can make it a warm, welcoming and fulfilling experience for everyone involved.