After coming back from China, of course, we receive a lot of attention going to the store, park, or restaurant just by virtue of being a blended family. Many people lately have been asking me how we did it, isn’t it expensive, etc. and etc. My answers to them, would be, it really depends! Of course that is a frustrating answer, so, let me explain:
Is the adoption fee expensive?
Mainly people are asking is the cost of the whole thing expensive. The answer is Yes, it can be. Is the fee expensive? No, we only paid $5,000 as an orphanage donation to China. What was expensive was the travel, hotel, food during our two week stay in China, processing paperwork in the provinces the kids were from, USCIS paperwork, dossier preparation, etc…
Without going in to every mundane detail here is a basic breakdown of how our adoption worked out:
Total cost: $47,754.00 ($23,243 for Lillian’s adoption and $24,511 for Alex’s adoption) (It cost slightly more than this by a couple thousand, but we have a lot of undocumented expenses. We used cash to pay for food, care packages and other things. This is the number I had receipts and documentation for, so that is what I have to use)
Each child’s adoption included: the home study, the agency fees for processing their adoption, our travel expenses, flights, hotels and food, as well as dossier preparation fees, Visa fees, Chinese passports for the kids, filing the immigration paperwork with the USCIS, paying the US Consulate in Guangzhou to process documents, China orphanage donation, processing the paperwork in each province and paying a notary, paying the guides, etc.
How we did it:
$1,200 fundraisers (a lot of this money paid for care packages to the kids and other undocumented expenses) (Our fundraisers were: Tshirt sales, silent auction and selling adoption dolls with an adoption certificate)
$15,000 travel benefit from Steven’s work
$2,000.00 grant (ABBA Fun/Sonscope. I wrote for every grant I could find. I posted the links on this blog. It was a LOT OF WORK! I copied pages and pages, I obtained reference letters. It took a lot to do this. We were very grateful and thankful for this grant!!!!!)
$4,000.00 grant (Showhope)
$27,200.00 tax credit for adoption. Fully refundable in 2011. Next year it phases out. BIG BIG reason we decided to go ahead and process Lillian’s adoption instead of waiting another year. I labored over our tax return this year. It was extensive. If you are a friend on Facebook, you saw the big packet I had to mail in to file the return. But, it was WORTH IT! Unfortunately, last year was the last time the credit was available fully. It also phases out depending on income.
When all is said and done, and when we receive our tax return back, we will carry no debt for our double adoption. We paid off everything before starting our adoption. We took out a low interest and a no interest loan to finance the whole adoptionb over the year long process (from December 10, 2010 to December 9, 2011), and as we received grants and other benefits, we made payments towards the loan. This is the real face of adoption. So….it can be affordable to adopt. Everyone is different and God just worked a miracle where our adoption is concerned. When we started Lillian’s adoption, we were not sure how we were going to pay all the final fees, but I started writing for grants and just had faith. Shortly after that, Steven’s company was bought out by a larger company that had adoption benefits. We had already resigned ourself to carry a large amount of the debt for Lillian’s adoption, but God was so good to us and we ended up not having to do that.
I hope this answers some questions. If it creates more, like “How did you get a grant, or write for grants”, please click on the links I provided. It took me several weeks to gather the information from the grant places, it took me more days to read through it all and figure out which ones we are eligible for. Then it took me an even longer time to gather reference letters, financial documents, tax returns and make copies of all that….and an even longer time to write adoption statements or two page papers on why we want to adopt. If a grant is something you are interested in, it will be a lot of work, but it is worth it.
Other things to consider are the expense of furniture, clothes, paint, etc. to ready a room. I had to buy Alex furniture for his room, including mattresses. I had to buy Lillian a dresser. All things to consider when thinking of the expense of an adoption.
But, if you are a very resourceful person, you can make it happen! You can use Skymiles, you can cash in reward points for hotels, you can bring peanut butter or eat in your hotel room while in China. You can save on your grocery bill by clipping coupons and putting the balance in your adoption fund. You can hold fundraisers. There are many different ways to finance an adoption but, keep in mind, it will be a lot of work and you must be willing to do it.
And about this time, everyone says “Bah-humbug!”. Hehe. By no means do I mean this as a negative post, it is just realistic as I am known to be. If you enter into the adoption process with rose colored glasses, you will be heavy hearted when it comes time to pay the bill! Good financial planning and resourcefulness is the key to make it all work.