How we funded our adoption was unique. The same will be said for you and every other adoptive family. Budgeting, saving, fundraising, and applying for adoption grants takes hard work and commitment.
Some people think adopting debt free requires a huge network of friends, church support, or even luck. The truth is anyone can do it. There are useful tools and resources all around you. You just need to know where to look.
In 2012, after Lori and I decided to move forward with adoption and our application was accepted, we had no idea how we would pay for it. Initially, we estimated it would cost about $32,000. We soon learned that our funding goal needed to be revised upward to $47,000. Wow, that’s a lot of money!!!
At the time, Lori was working for a non-profit and I had just started a consulting business. Combined, our income that year was $51,551. H-O-L-Y C-O-W!
How in the world would we ever come up with $47,000?
How We Funded Our Adoption
1. We prayed. We needed a miracle!
2. We Googled adoption fundraisers, adoption grants, and related key words. We discovered thousands of blogs highlighting the adoptions of other families and their financial successes and challenges. It was sort of helpful but there was just so much information and most of it wasn’t what we were looking for or didn’t apply to our situation.
Luckily, Lori’s friend Julie Gumm had just released an awesome book about adoption fundraising that we highly recommend called Adopt Without Debt. It is loaded with useful information and creative ways to fundraise for your adoption. That was our best resource!
3. We took financial inventory. Can you say financial spreadsheets? How about MS Excel? We were already living on a lean budget and accounting for every penny.
With limited income, it was actually challenging to cut out even more. So we reviewed our budget over and over until we were blue in the face. Eventually, we found little ways to reduce our expenses even further and somehow managed not to kill each other in the process.
4. We developed a plan. We researched for days and compiled the most useful information into one place and began to formulate a plan. We didn’t really know if it would work but at least it was a guide we could follow to measure our progress and not feel overwhelmed.
5. We followed our plan. Our plan consisted of decreasing our monthly expenses, fundraising events, grants, moonlighting, and selling adoption t-shirts. And what do you know? It actually worked. Within 12 months, we fully funded our adoption and, in total, raised over $47,000!
There is a lot more to our story. Fundraising and applying for grants wasn’t easy. We had our ups and downs and moments of intense frustration with the overall process. But we pressed on and worked hard to share our story with our network of friends and family, mostly via social media and our blog. It required hard work and follow up but we believe anyone can do it by being focused, having a plan, and not giving up.
6. We got organized and kept all of our adoption information updated. This is one of the most important things you can do. All throughout your adoption process, you’ll need a system to keep track of everything including documents, expenses, receipts (and copies), and all funds received. Lori took the lead to get us organized and manage the financial details.
It’s a tedious job to stay organized, update your documents, and keep track of all your receipts. However, it’s much easier to manage if you do it immediately when it’s fresh in your mind, rather than waiting until things pile up. We learned that organization is absolutely essential and will save you time, especially when applying for adoption grants and filing your taxes.
While you are no longer required to submit every piece of documentation and receipt in order to receive the Adoption Tax Credit, you will need all your receipts if you get audited and for reimbursement of some adoption grants. Do yourself a favor and get the Free Adoption Funding Kit. It includes the information and tools to help launch your adoption fundraising and stay organized.
Funds Raised For Our Adoption
- Personal Funding (budgeting, savings, side jobs): $7,300
- Donations: $2,900
- God’s Grace Adoption Ministry (Grant): Denied
- Help Us Adopt (Grant): Denied
- National Adoption Foundation (Grant): Denied
- Gift of Adoption (Grant): Denied
- JSC Foundation (Grant): $10,000
- Show Hope (Grant): $7,000
- Families Outreach (Grant): $2,000
- America’s Christian Credit Union (Grant): $500
- Lifesong For Orphans (Matching Grant): $6,400 (including $3,000 match)
- Medishare (Adoption grant from our “insurance” provider): $4,600
- Coffee Fundraiser: $0 (we didn’t sell a single bag)
- T-Shirt Sales: $2,105
- Adoption Carnival: $3,100
- Silent Auction: $1,900
- Poker Tournament: $155
Total Funds Raised: $47,960
Words cannot express the gratitude we have for our family and many friends that have supported us financially, through prayer, and by sharing encouraging words along the way. We could not have funded our adoption or made it through the tumultuous journey without your support. THANK YOU!
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