What an honor to be asked to write something for GWK in support of National Adoption Awareness Month! My name is Becky Fawcett. My husband Kit and I started Helpusadopt.org 14 years ago with the intention of creating an inclusive adoption grant organization that welcomed families of all kinds, including LGBT families and single parents. I am so proud to say we have done just that and will continue to do so.
Gays With Kids has asked me to write about “tips to make adoption more affordable” and I just want to tell you, I know what you’re up against because I am a parent by adoption. In order to afford this, it takes all you’ve got…and then some. There may be times you might just throw up your hands and say “forget it, this is too hard. We will never get there.” But that would be foolish because you will get there…..it just takes some creative planning. Be prepared to spend $50,000. If my estimate is high, you’ll thank me later. If my estimate is low, I am sorry. Either way, you’ll be prepared. So without further ado, here are more tips for financially handling the journey: 1. Take a look at your finances. Look at how much you have in savings first (this is the easy part). 2. NOW really take a look at your finances. Dissect it down by month and then by week. Necessity vs luxury. What can you do without and what money can then go directly into savings? Look at EVERYTHING and start cutting. For us, vacations and dining out were easy first cuts to make – these will vary from person-to-person. 3. Keep breathing and take this process step-by-step. Day-by-day. The mountain is tall you don’t have to climb it all at once. 4. Try living a cash-only life while you are going through the process of adopting. Credit cards make unnecessary spending too easy and convenient. Get a debit card – know what’s in your account and keep records of your balance. 5. If between your savings and cutting back you are still in need of getting to that magic $50,000 number, take a look at reallocating funds and things like your home equity (if you own a home) / (we live in an apartment, so this one didn’t apply). 6. Personal fundraising! This is not everyone’s favorite, but those who love you will want to help. Write a compelling one-page letter about your adoption journey explaining the cost because most people have no idea adoption is so expensive. Send it to as many people as possible, letting them know that you’ve started an adoption savings account and that you are trying to raise “x” amount. I know this can seem uncomfortable at first, but it’s a common – and often successful – strategy. 7. When people tell you this can’t be done (and they will), tune them out. When they say “how will you afford a child if you can’t afford to adopt?” Educate them on affording the lump sum cost of adoption vs. the day-to-day expense of a child. I know this comment can be hurtful, but most people really don’t know what they are saying. Not many people have a disposable $50,000 lying around that they can pay out tomorrow for something like this! Keep your focus on the child in need of a home at the end of this journey and the beautiful family you will have! 8. Check with your employer! More jobs are providing benefits to adoptive parents to help offset the costs. Even if your company doesn’t provide an adoption benefit — talk to your HR Department about starting a program. 9. Last but not least, apply for a Helpusadopt.org adoption grant. We award grants of up to $15,000, it is free to apply, and we welcome LGBT families and applicants. The next application deadline is December 1st and the following is February 1st. Visit Helpusadopt.org for a free application and more information. This won’t be easy. It will be worth it. Find me on Facebook and Instagram — I’d love to be your cheerleader. Support is everything.
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