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Affording adoption is not usually a simple matter. The numbers and labels batted about in the beginning of the process can be confusing and even seem overwhelming. The sheer costs listed on an agency’s fee sheet may make you want to faint. But take a deep breath! Families have done this before; affording international adoption IS possible. It’s best to take things one step at a time. Asking yourself the four questions listed below at the beginning of your adoption journey will provide a structure for your decision-making process.
What will the TOTAL cost of my adoption be?
Your adoption service provider will provide you with a fee sheet which describes the cost of your adoption and also lists the time frame in which each payment will be due. It is important to read this document carefully. Ask yourself if the list is inclusive. Does it include the costs of travel and other third party costs such as translations, visa fees and background checks?
WHEN are these payments due?
Fortunately, adoption expenses aren’t all due at the start of the process. Early on, there are fees for applications, dossier preparation and home studies. Later, bigger expenses are incurred, such as travel expenses and fees due in your child’s country of origin. Review your fee sheet carefully throughout your adoption journey, so that there are no unpleasant surprises upon reaching the next milestone in your adoption journey. You’ll also want to factor in any third party expenses and when they are due. Most international adoptions take at least two years, so you have at least two years to spread out the costs.
How much money do I have available to put towards my adoption now?
Assess your current financial situation and determine how much money you have on hand which you can apply towards your adoption expenses. How much money is in your savings account? Do you have stocks you can sell or do you have closets full of excess stuff which you can sell in a garage sale? Do you have a bonus coming your way in the next few months? After reading the fee sheet carefully and reviewing your financial situation, you will now know what the gap is that exists between the cost of your adoption and what you have on hand.
What STRATEGY will I use to cover my shortfall?
Realizing what your shortfall is can be a heart-stopping moment for families. But, this is not the time to panic or become discouraged from pursuing an international adoption. It is the time to sit down and take stock of your family’s strengths. Does your family have a compelling story which will look good in grant applications? Does one of your employers offer Adoption Assistance? Do you have family members willing to help out? Perhaps you are an awesome event planner and can hold an Adoption Auction Event? Chances are your family has at least one skill that you can leverage into a solution for that shortfall.
No child should be deprived of a loving, permanent home due to the lack of funds to pursue an international adoption. With thoughtful consideration and determination, your family can fulfill your dream of adopting internationally. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it!
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