Adoption: how we afforded it

Money is a huge issue for most families considering adoption. Most international adoptions these days cost upwards of $15,000– not the kind of money people just keeping lying around. Our 5 adoptions cost in the range of $15,000-$23,000. Each. This included agency fees, plane tickets, immigration paperwork, in-country costs, etc. Over $80,000 in 10 years. It seems crazy even to me that on a moderate income we were able to afford to adopt so many times. But bit by bit, it was indeed possible.

Our first adoption was funded by refinancing our home. The providence for that adoption actually began in 1989 when we bought our first house, a fixer-upper, then sold it in 1993 for twice the money. This cash gave us more equity than usual in the house which we built in 1993. Some folks might say that taking out a loan for an adoption is not wise. But as my husband put it, what better thing is there to put on a 30-year loan than an eternal soul? Due to low interest rates at the time, our house payment didn’t even increase. What a blessing!

Our second adoption in 2000 was funded by an unexpected inheritance. The bulk of the inheritance money came on the very. same. day that we needed to send in money to accept the referral of our son. It was amazing. The inheritance also allowed us to make a large payment on our home loan, which meant we owed less on our house than we had before the first adoption. It also funded the purchase of a new van that we needed for our growing family, the one that fits 12 people. The one we still drive. God is so gracious.

When we began discussing our third adoption in 2003, interest rates were even lower than they had been the previous time we refinanced. We checked around and discovered we could switch to a 15 year loan (instead of our current 30-yr loan) AND take out money for the adoption, and only pay a little more each month. We jumped on it.

Our fourth adoption ‘money-story’ is my favorite, because I can so clearly see the hand of God in the timing of it. My husband had a large piece of equipment (a sawmill) up for sale for several months before we even began talking about adopting again. For months there’d been no interest. We were beginning to think we were just supposed to keep the mill.

Then in 2005 we began talking about adopting again. We decided this time around we would go forward with the process only when we had all the money in savings. We talked about ways we could live a little more frugally, and upped our automatic payment into our savings account.

One week later a man came and bought the sawmilld for $8000. A few days later we did our taxes and learned we would be getting back $7000, much more than we’d anticipated. Within two weeks we ha an unbelieveable $15,000 in savings. We looked at each other and knew. It must be time to adopt again. We found out later that our daughter had entered the orphanage the very same week that my husband’s sawmill had sold. It was truly awesome.

With our most recent adoption, in 2007, we had a fair bit of experience with the money showing up when we needed it. We figured that if God was leading us to agree on the adoption, He’d also supply the resources. When we spotted our daughters’ pictures on a list of waiting children, we’d just gotten a tax refund, most of which was still in savings. I was also on the brink of signing the contract on my first book. Not all that money would come immediately, but with the promise of more coming in awhile, we moved forward with the adoption. We were able to pay the agency fees with what we had. Fees were a bit higher since the adoption was for two kids. When it came time to buy the plane tickets (4 on the way there, 6 on the way home) we just bit the bullet and put $10,000 on the credit card. It took til 2008 to pay that off, but within a year of their homecoming there was no more adoption debt.

You might think that our financial circumstances were unusual, that most adoption funds don’t show up that easily. Maybe not. But I know from talking with other families that this happens over and over and over again. God loves adoption. He loves putting the lonely into families. And He loves to give us the desire of our hearts, especially when that desire is so much in line with His own heart.

I’d quote you verses in the Bible talking about widows and orphans, but I’m afraid of sounding self-righteous, and that is not my intent. Anything good we do is only from God. So do a word search for yourself. See what God says to you about orphans. About the lonely. About children. About blessings.

And while we’re on the subject of blessings, I hope that my readers who are adoptive parents will speak up in comments here. I know that a lot of you read this blog and I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve never commented, now is your chance to delurk. Tell us how many kids you’ve adopted, or where you are in the adoption process. And if the story is not too personal, will you also tell how you were able to afford adoption? I know that many people will be blessed in the sharing.

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Coming Soon: How we went from “just one more” to adopting 5 times.

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  1. I will second your story to say that God definitely provides when you are being obedient to his call. My husband and I paid off our house around the time we were thinking about adopting. That was the last of our debt and so it seemed like it would be easy to pay for the adoption.

    Four months later my husband left his job (out of obedience to God) and suddenly I was back to work, making about 1/2 what he had been. The money was enough to pay our bills but not much was left over for adoption expenses.

    At first we just figured we’d take out a no-interest adoption loan. Whatever it took to get the kids home right. Well through an interesting circumstance it became clear to us that we were supposed to do this without incurring any debt and so we made that commitment.

    We emptied our savings along the way but still needed more. I do freelance design work on the side – it’s not something I advertise, just as the jobs come. And boy did they come. I was a busy lady.

    We also had a garage sale with two other adoptive families and raised $5,000 total.

    Every time we needed to write a check, the money was there. I still don’t know how we did it other than it was God. We brought home two kids to the tune of about $28,000 – all within 12 months.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I have to say I’ve always wondered how families adopt mulitiple times but I also know if it’s God’s will the money will be there. Especially after we experienced our miracle!

    Our adoption story spans many years. I’ll skip to June 2007, we were originally going to adopt from Ethiopia. A few months after sending in a small payment we both felt the Lord telling us to wait. That was hard since we’d already given the agency some money but we felt it was better to obey. After an adoption miscarriage in September 2007 we felt peace about going with a domestic agency. We finished our homestudy on November 27, 2007 and on December 7, 2007 we received an email about a 5 week old precious little girl. Um, YES but um we have NO money! Ok we had $3000 ($1000 of which was from a garage sale) saved but needed $14000. (In regards to the garage sale so many people just gave us money. We advertised as an adoption sale and people would give a $20 and tell us to keep the change. We were blown away by the generosity of strangers.)

    But we decided to step out in faith because we felt this little girl was suppose to be our daughter so we told the agency yes – to move forward and somehow we’ll have the money!

    We sent out a prayer request through email and blog land and contacted our immediate family to ask them to pray. We had credit cards we could get money on but because we’ve always struggled with debt we wanted that to be our last resort. About an hour after that initial prayer request my brother called and said he had $4000 sitting in the bank that he didn’t really know what to do with and he’d give it to us! I don’t remember the last time I cried so hard! Then about 30 minutes later my sister called and said she had a very nice ring that she would sell and could get at least $2000. I couldn’t even talk I was so overwhelmed! Then my dad called and said they wanted to refinance or do something with equity or something and could give us up to $4000. WHAT!! A few other close friends pitched in a total of $3000 and what do you know within about two hours we had the $14000 we needed!

    And our precious miracle baby girl was home two weeks later – just in time for Christmas! God is so good!

  3. This is SO inspiring; we’d love to adopt ‘one day’ but I wouldn’t know where to start…we’re in the UK, any ‘starting the process’ advice?

  4. As an adopted child, that line “God loves adoption’ really spoke to me. This is an inspiring story of His provision. Thank you for sharing.

  5. This post gives me chills ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thanks for sharing, and you are soooo right. We have adopted 5 times as well, and God has always provided. The first adoption we made less than 20,000. I quit my job, and we didn’t even have enough money to pay our regular bills let alone our adoption loan. In 18 months our entire $10,000 was paid off, and we adopted again! I still am not certain how it worked out, but I was very frugal and prayerful, and God provided.
    Blessings,
    Amanda

  7. We started our adoption with the budget in place to pay it in full as the bills came; but we were still blessed with timing graces.

    We had just finished graduate school and gotten real jobs. Although we did upgrade our housing when we moved to our new city, we chose not to upgrade our lifestyles and so we were living a lifestyle based on about 1/3 of our income. That got us most of the way.

    We also got a huge tax return that spring–far more than I expected us to get–which went directly to the agency. That was a wonderful blessing in that it opened up some cash so we could go visit him again.

  8. I have no adoption stories, but did have foster children (3) some years back. Even though two of the children were young when they were returned to their families, we always felt that maybe somehow they would remember the foster parents who loved them. All 3 children were returned to their families.

  9. We adopted three boys just over a year ago and were able to do it with no debt! How?! God, of course! After all, he gave me this husband with the annoying habit of talking and talking and talking…

    Well, that “habit” was responsible for us receiving every dime and then some. We not only funded the adoption but we were able to pay for medical bills after we came home!

    God provided for us many times at the last minute or when we were feeling at the end of our ropes! We were actually sitting in the airport on our way to leave when a call came that $2,500 more had come in (over budget). Then, in-country our first night–another call: This time $5,000! My husband and I looked at each other and asked the question we never thought we would ask, “What are we going to do with the extra?!”

    Turns out, God budgets better than us. We needed it all! It was while we were there that the dollar tanked and a succession of national holidays made it so we would be coming home for 10 days and flying back again.

    Like you said, we have story after story after story! God provided!

    BTW, he didn’t just provide money but friends, support, pray-ers, paperwork, etc. We did our adoption without an agency so we felt every piece of paperwork personally and chased them all over the place!

    It was all worth it and our boys are doing so well. May I say, too, that I am glad that this was something we were doing for the orphans–for God. If I had been doing it simply for my own happiness, I think I would have gone crazy in those early days with six kids–still might! Any fleeting thought of “What were we thinking?” has always been interrupted immediately with the realization that our boys have a family and and a chance at eternal life and it is all put back in perspective.

  10. God told me to adopt a specific child that was in our church as a foster child. I argued with God for several weeks, many reasons, mainly we were grieving the loss of our stillborn son. My final argument was we couldn’t afford it. Turns out he has special circumstances that made the state pay for the entire adoption process for us! I can’t imagine life without my precious son. Now, we’re looking to find our daughter internationally. I’m not sure how God is going to provide this time, but I know he will!

  11. We had talked about adoption for years, but the timing never seemed right….My husband and I work as campus ministers, and raise our own support, like missionaries. We barely had a savings account, and were living pretty frugally, but in April 2007 we both felt like God was giving us the go-ahead to adopt from Ethiopia. We started the process having no idea how we would afford it, but were confident that this was God’s plan.

    The orphans ministry at our church helped us get started and encouraged us with a gift to get our homestudy done. As each money deadline came, God would surprise us with an adoption grant, or an insurance refund, or a gift from an anonymous angel.

    We brought our 6 year old daughter home in February of this year and have no debt!! It’s been amazing to see God provide exactly what we’ve needed at exactly the right time!

  12. We adopted our boys from Foster Care when they were 2 & 4 years old (placed with us when they were 10 mos & almost 3 yrs) For whatever reason, the state of Texas considers sibling groups as “special needs.” All “special needs” children in Texas Foster Care have reimbursed adoption fees. The $3K we spent on lawyers and court fees were refunded to us from the state in less than 2 months.
    I strongly urge anyone considering adoption to pray about foster-to-adopt programs. There is some emotional risk, but the rewards more than cover any loss.

  13. Jeanne A says:

    WE have done two adoptions from Ethiopia. But what I wanted to mention are the incredible amount of kids available in this country. They also needs homes and the “price is right.” We have done three of those adoptions. They didn’t cost us a penny.

    My oldest foster/adopt son is now 18 and ready to leave for college. He has been accepted into the Crane School of Music to play the French horn. It amazes how that has worked out for him. My husband’s brother plays the French horn in a major symphony. How awesome it is that God places this 11 month old son into a home where he would learn about the horn as a preschooler.

    Who knows if he would have taken the interest in this and used that talent if he hadn’t been exposed at a young age. I believe that it’s God blessing on his life.

    And now I’m trying to trust God again with the financing of his education. Why is it always so hard to trust, even when we’ve seen the blessing when we did the original adoptions.

  14. I’m commenting again! I LOVE these stories. You all tell about how GOD worked out your adoptions. I remember my parents saying, ‘it costs us $x to keep you kids, you know we love you so much….’ It’s so different when God is in control and your children will be blessed! I linked to your story, not because it had much to do with it really, but it got me to thinking about my own story in a different light. THANK YOU for sharing!

    http://mama2tlc.blogspot.com/2009/05/god-loves-adoption.html

  15. Tanya and Jeanne,
    Thank you for talking about domestic adoption. My experience is with international, so I really appreciate your comments that broadened this discussion. There are kids waiting for families everywhere, and it is wonderful that different adoptive families are drawn in different directions.
    Mary

  16. We adopted our daughter out of foster care. In our case, because she was a foster child, the state paid for everything. Which was a blessing because we were already a family of 6 living on one income (by choice).

  17. “God loves adoption. He loves putting the lonely into families.” That is so true!

    I still have more children on my heart, though it has been rendered physically impossible. Lately I have really wondered – should we adopt? should we look into a vasectomy reversal? should we adopt? should we foster?

    My husband’s response to even the slightest mention of these questions is, “no, not right now, we’re maxed out.” So I will wait and pray and celbrate that so many orphaned children in our world are being loved by your family and others like you…

  18. Those were some good ideas about affording adoption. We wanted to adopt again, but didn’t want to go into debt. I bet we could finiance it through the house as you suggested without to much problems.

    Our first adoption was in the US. I was adament that we stay in the US, even though all our friends were going over seas. It is more of an emotional roller coaster. We had two birth moms vanish on us. We had to back out of another one, after her social worker called us. That is not normal, to have that many failures.

    Still I wouldn’t have done it differently. There are a lot of birth moms in the US, who need the help just as much as in other locations. Our experience has scared some of our friends, but I encourage them to do it anyway.

    Sitting in the hospital with our son, his birth grandmother, aunt and half brother and sister, and birth mom was a great experience. We have pictures of his family for when he gets older.

  19. I love this series! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    My hubby and I had been holding onto our adoption application for several months… not sure how we’d afford the legal fees, plane tickets, home study costs, finger printing, readoption etc etc

    And then (after holding onto our application for 3 months) I received a call from my boss (who had no idea about our adoption plan) who offered me an “extra duty” assignment at work. The assignment would add $8000 annually to my salary and would last for 2 years! Holy cow!

    So we went for it. We submitted our application and put all of my extra pay into an automatic savings account. We were easily able to pay the initial fees, homestudy costs etc.

    I’m currentlyl in my 2nd year of my contract and our son is already home. We still don’t have ALL of the money to pay for the travel etc but we will soon. So, we took out a credit card (interest free for 12 months due to our great credit score) and we’ll have the balance paid off before the interest kicks in.

    God really is great… and He helps those that help themselves.

    Get creative! God will fill in the blanks.

  20. We adopted our two fabulous older children through the foster care system. Not only did the state cover all the adoption costs, but they also paid for any future therapy that the kids might need. Talk about “the price is right.”

    I am not sure why domestic foster adoption seems to somehow always he the “adoption of last resort,” but let me tell you that these kids are wonderful.

    Our daughter is an amazing young lady and funny as all get out. She has a wit that would challenge the most seasoned professional comic. All this from a child that they said couldn’t speak when she was three years old. Our son is a gentle genius. When he arrived at our home, he was two years old and testing developmentally at the age of a 15 month old. The “experts” told us that he would probably be in special ed his whole life. Well that was not His plan. Our son is a year ahead in all subjects but Math, where he is two years ahead. He is on a competitive gymnastics team and is one of the most empathetic children I know.

    If your heart is open, there are literally thousands of kids waiting for home right here in the American foster care system. Sure they may not be babies and they may have had a rocky start to life, but with a good home, involved parents and lots of love, these kids can have an amazing future.

    People always tell us what “good people” we are for doing this and that our kids are so lucky. I always correct them. We are the lucky ones and my children, all of my children, are the most amazing people I know.

  21. I started to comment on how we are paying for our adoption, but quickly realized I was having a hard time keeping it short enough for the comments here. I posted about it on my blog:

    http://therfamilyhappenings.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-can-we-pay-for-our-adoption.html

    I really enjoy reading your posts, Mary!

  22. We have adopted 4 times in 7 years and were able to pay them all off within a year of their adoptions, all this while also covering the cost of several operations. How did we do it? The money just showed up โ€“ we tightened our budgeted, but we always got way more than expected on taxes. I also wanted to mention the adoption credit which is now more than $11,000 on your federal returns. Most states also reimburse some of the adoption expenses for the adoption of special need kids, some kids are classified as SN just because of race, age, or sibling groups. It is just amazing to see all the good things that have happened to our family just because we accepted the blessings to be allowed to parent these wonderful children.

    Mary – I love you blog and your book!

  23. Michele H says:

    Our first adoption in 2007 was so blessed by the Lord. We had no savings to complete the adoption. Everytime we needed money people were handing us checks and cash for our adoption expenses. We are adopting again – this time we had some savings when we started, received a grant from Showhope.org, and we are currently have our belts really tight to try and pay for flights without putting it all on credit cards. God love adoption and He will provide everything you need.

  24. Heather Reu says:

    I am the mom to 4 kiddos all adopted interntationally….four adoptions in just under 5 years…..I agree with so much of what others have written here, and DO definately believe in God’s providence when it comes so many things in our lives including adoption! On a very practical side, i wanted to mention the Federal Adoption tax credit…..this is a credit of up to (most recently) 11,000. that you can apply to get back from your paid taxes ( you can spread it over several years if you pay less than 11,000 in taxes in a year). This tax credit has always allowed us to preceed with the “next adoption.”….although now I’m done….four is enough for me!! ๐Ÿ™‚ My oldest turns 7 tomorrow, youngest is 3.5. They are all tremendous blessings to us.

  25. Mary,
    thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    We had no cash in our bank account when we started our adoption yet God provided each time when we needed it.
    The other day we tried to explain to another family how come adoption cost so much yet it was not about the money for us. What an amazing journey God took us on.
    love, Lenka

  26. We have adopted 6 children in 5 years. With our first 2 they were foster kids who we just happened to be able to adopt(praise God!) so there were no fees associated with those. While our daughters were still foster kids we were placed with our baby boy through domestic adoption. The fees were very, very minimal cause a lawyer friend was going to do all the “law” stuff for free. Our Liberian adoption were, of course, much more expensive. We went into it with enough money for one adoption but were referred brothers! We didn’t have the money for the second adoption but got on out knees and prayed that if these were our boys, God would need to provide the funds. The next day, my very wealthy and greedy uncle called to say that he wanted to pay for our adoption. He didn’t know about the brothers. So, we had the money for one and my uncle paid for the second. It was totally God’s answer to our prayers! Our 6th adoption was another infant domestically and we haven’t had to do anything drastic for money because it has been so spread out with legal fees. God has been good! We are wondering when he is going to call us to adopt again but with building a house, we have no clue how we would be able to pay for another one the next time. ๐Ÿ™‚ God knows though.

  27. Hi Mary!

    Well, we’ve adopted six times (China, Korea, Hong Kong) and have no adoption debt whatsoever because it was all paid off 3 months prior to my husband’s retirementn from the US Air Force.

    How we did it–we revamped our lifestyle, bought used and paid-for autos, saved, sold things, received unexpected blessings… Somehow it always worked out because we knew the Lord was in us. When we heard about our youngest daughter in a posting on an adoption email group, we had no plans to adopt and no money but 3 months later we had the entire amount needed..

    God always provided… Sure our cars are older and we don’t take big vacations or anything but we’re of the mind there is no way to place a price on the life of a child. Anything we went through was worth every penny and then some.

  28. We fostered to adopt our youngest and paid just 145 dollars to the court for paperwork. She came to us at 3.5 months and her adoption was complete 10 months later. It was God’s hand all the way. She is obviously Hispanic, so we answer lots of questions about how we got such a beautiful girl to be our very own.

    We need a house of our own (and the other house we own in Michigan to sell) but my husband has wanted a baby from Africa since he was in high school. I don’t know if it will happen, but I know God can make the way very smooth if that’s His plan.

    This blog is a big encouragement to me.

  29. That is wonderful – I loved the comments, too. I know God has always provided for us, with expecting our children, and I know if He leads us towards adoption, He will provide for that, too. Thank you for sharing this!!!

  30. Hi! I have been reading your blog regularly since we started our Ethiopian adoption a couple of years ago. We had no idea how God was going to provide for the adoption, but He did at every step. We went from two cars to one ($3000) and my husband now bikes to work year-round. We did an adoption garage sale ($1000). We got a matching grant from Life International, now Lifesong for Orphans, and total we raised almost $10,000 from that. We received a grant for $1000 from the Lydia Fund. We both got some extra money from freelancing. We also got a no-interest loan from ABBA fund at the very end. And we took out a loan and used the credit card for the rest. The adoption tax credit is helping us pay back what we owe. God is so good!

    We brought our daughter home in November, and she just turned 1 this week! We definitely feel called to adopt again, this time an older child or sibling group. We are working through Dave Ramsey’s financial stuff to get our finances more in order for the next time through, but we are hoping in the next few years to start the process again. Thanks to all those who’ve posted about domestic adoption. We’re not sure if we’ll go back to Ethiopia next time, go with another country, or go the domestic route. I’m sure God will clarify that at the right time!

  31. I am truely envious of those wonderful souls who do adopt. I don’t quite have what it takes, although sometimes I would love to. But I have been honest with myself and now it is not for me, but am imensly proud and privelidged to know people who have.

  32. We adopted twice through Family Services – not only did it not cost us a dime, but the children receive awesome medical and dental insurance until they are 18. The state paid for everything. God has blessed us indeed.

  33. When we adopted the last time it was also a real “God” thing. After our first adoption where we adopted a sibling set, we had a real hard time. We have dealt with anger, attachment, and attention disorders to name a few. During all this frustration and tough stuff to deal with, we always felt there was one more “missing” in our family. It took us three years to really decide to go ahead with it and it was a real struggle to finally make that decision. Not that we didn’t want to adopt, but it was the financial aspect that was scaring us. My husband even said, where is the money going to come from? Not only the expenses to adopt, but the everyday expenses? I told him that I didn’t know but that we knew that God was telling us to adopt so we should just take the leap of faith and know that it would be taken care of. So we did. Within weeks the economic stimulus package came through, then our taxes, then some bonuses that my husband wasn’t supposed to get for a couple of years. It was amazing! Everything was paid for but about $3000 which we could put on our line of credit and we knew we could pay that off when our taxes came through the next year.
    Our new daughter has totally blessed our family and we feel complete now. Our everyday expenses are tight, but we make it just fine.
    Praise God! For he is good. He knows always what path we should follow, we just need to follow him.

  34. In Canada, all domestic adoptions through the foster care system are fully funded – in fact we were paid to foster our children for the first few months. We were blessed with two children, aged 2 years and 9 months, full siblings who took us from no children to 2 with five days notice! Many here in Canada think that domestic adoption involves long waits, and it can, but in our case the whole process, from our first inquiry about the process to having the children in our home, took 10 months. There were 12 couples in our prep course and 3 of us had children in our homes within a year of applying to adopt. There are so many myths and misunderstandings about adoption, whether domestic or international, it is wonderful to have an opportunity to share our stories. In our case, everyone assumes we had fertility issues – we did not and subsequently have had two biological children. People adopt from their hearts for many reasons and I enjoy Mary’s blog because her family illustrates this. Whether we believe God’s hand is in our lives, or choose to see it as fate or karma or random luck, those of us fortunate enough to “find” our children have many reasons to be thankful.

  35. Kate in NY says:

    Boy did this topic really hit home for me! We adopted our fourth child from Ethiopia (after 3 biological children) in 2005. We didn’t really think through the finances that well – and for that reason, we are still paying off the adoption expenses via a home equity line of credit. We have learnt a great deal about fiscal responsibility and frugality since then – spurred on through necessity thanks to the current financial crisis – and we have totally turned around our spending habits and our attitude toward debt. That’s all wonderful, of course – but now my husband is adamant that we save up all the money for our next adoption – and saving anything is pretty difficult right now. I appreciate his stance, but there is a huge part of me that wonders whether there might be certain circumstances so compelling that issues like debt, money, frugality become meaningless. This thread has been very inspirational to me – – – perhaps I simply need to have more faith, and focus on that for a while.

    Kate

  36. THREE China adoptions in 2 1/2 years…
    It never occured to us that money should be a consideration.
    Not because we were rolling in it, but because the fact that my husband and I were of the same heart and mind was the biggest miracle! Surely the same God that brought us to like-mindedness would provide for the adoptions!
    And he did.
    Three times.
    I have serious issues with people who say you should not borrow money to adopt – that somehow a child isn’t worth the debt! Honestly – if you can finance a house for 30 years (a perfectly acceptable debt by most wealth gurus!), surely you can pay the bank for a few years in order to adopt a child whose soul will live forever!
    I am so thankful you posted about this topic! It’s almost taboo to talk about finances in relation to adoption – and yet it is the biggest road block to most potential adoptive families! My husband thinks that the biggest hurdle is getting both the husband and the wife on the same page; surely if God can do that, he can sell a few of those cattle on a thousand hills to provide the money to adopt!
    Blessings!!!

  37. It is wonderful to read about the many ways God has provided for adoption. It truly is close to His heart! We have 4 adopted children. The first two were through Health and Welfare. We literally got a letter in the mail about our two future daughters. They were the birth children of a far away cousin and about to become wards of the state, unless some family stepped forward to adopt them first. We knew immediately that they were supposed to be ours. Having no idea that the whole process would end up being covered by the state, we decided that we weren’t going to let lack of finances stop us. Instead we were going to trust God to provide for us. We immediately started making plans to skimp and save wherever we could. We were totally surprised when we found out that the state was going to cover all of our adoption costs!
    Our next two adoptions were private domestic adoptions costing about $20,000 each, including travel and legal fees. In both cases, we paid the “smaller” fees as they came along, and used our home equity line of credit to write a check when the big fee came due. Both times we had the loan paid off in less than a year due to God’s provision (tax refunds, tax credits, etc) Amazing!
    It truly is awesome to see God’s hand providing so clearly in so many cases. It is my hope that any of you who are considering adoption will not let the money (or lack thereof) hold you back. Instead, I pray that you will be emboldened by these testimonies to step out in faith!

  38. My husband and I are in the midst of Embryo Adoption right now.

    I have to agree with you in the way God provides. Just weeks after we went to the informational meeting at our agency and decided we were definitely going to pursue this route to build our family (even though we didn’t have all the money in the bank), my husband got an amazing Christmas bonus, that after taxes will almost exactly pay for the cost of the adoption through the agency, and the out of pocket doctor’s bills we’ll have to pay for the embryo transfer. We were in awe of God’s provision, that it was almost the exact amount of what the agency told us to estimate as a total cost.

    Jehovah Jirah: “Yahweh will provide” (Gen. 22:14)

  39. I love reading stories like this. I love reading your blog, especially in these times when money needs to stretch even farther.
    Thanks for reminding us what faith is all about.

  40. We adopted two little girls from China, one child at 13 mos and the other, a 4 yo, who had special needs. We already had three children but just felt God’s calling us to do more. I felt a call to do some sort of work, for God, on an international level, but we farm full-time and I didn’t see how we could just ‘up and leave’ the farm to do God’s work. Adoption had always been in my heart and it seemed like the logical choice for our family. As for affording it, we also took out loans, received donations from family and from our church friends (unsolicited). As my husband said, the price of the adoption is the price of an average new car but a child is priceless. An easy equation. If you want to adopt, the money will be there, somehow. It really will.

  41. We’ve adopted 9 times in 9 years!!! How? ONLY GOD. There is no other explanation! lol! I’ll have to do a blog post this week about each nine b/c I’m sure it’ll get long here … but we have no adoption debt and one income.
    God is good and he blesses those things He purposes!
    K

  42. Our story is just like the rest of you…God provides if the timing is right! The money is just ‘there’ every time.
    Something I want to mention to those of you still considering adoption: there is an adoption tax CREDIT available whether you adopt internationally or domestically. You will get up to $12,000 refunded to you when you file your taxes. After our first adoption we used this refund to begin new adoptions.

  43. Wow, reading this (and all the comments) is so inspiring. My husband and I are expecting our first baby in November (biologically) but we have talked about adopting or fostering as well. We would like three children. Two bio-kids (to replace ourselves, so to speak) and a third one through foster or adoption. We’ll see what the Lord wants us to do.

  44. Speechless in Seattle! You stories move and inspire, Mary. What a beautiful voice you have that humbles and edifies your readers. Your family is blessed, indeed!

    Praising God from Whom all blessings flow,
    Bonnie

  45. We are just starting our adoption journey. We’ve been waiting for God’s ‘go ahead’ and last week he was clear. We are very excited but I must say the finances are the thing that makes me worried. We are trusting for his provision and I know that he will provide but it’s scary at the same time. Thank you for your encouragement.

  46. I think most adoptive parents feel there is *some* sort of higher power involved, God or otherwise. For us, we’ve always felt that our daughter (from ethiopia) was such a perfect match for our family that we could not have possibly borne a more perfect kid for ourselves. It’s amazing.
    We financed ours mostly with the two $5000 adoption credits each of our employers provided. The rest came out of a home-equity loan (I’m SO with you on this – what better way to spend this kind of money? All the bank commercials say to refinance for a vacation – this is a much better use IMO!) Once we sold our house a couple of years later, the loans were paid off and we had no more adoption debt! Woohoo!

  47. Mary Rose says:

    Hi,
    Thought you might like to know:
    We have 9 children and are hoping to adopt number 10 soon. We have adopted 6 of the nine and our oldest is almost 20 and our youngest is almost 4. We have done this debt free every time. I can be incredibly frugal when I need to be and that is how we have funded them all. We have used Larry Bukett materials on debt free living and we have read the “Tightwad Gazette” It has worked every time.
    I like reading your blog as your family is so similar to ours!
    Mary Rose

  48. For anyone looking to adopt a child with Down syndrome from a country that will place them in an insane asylum by age 3, Reece’s Rainbow.com helps with costs.

    Beautiful children with a world of potential.

  49. Great post!!

    Before we ever adopted, I listened to a radio show about adoption. The gal speaking said to her Mom, who was worried about adoption costs, “Mom, you’ve always told me God owns the cattle on a thousand hills…well…He’s just gonna have to sell some cows!” I’ve never forgotten that. God’s heart is in adoption. If He leads you to it, He cover the finances…or show you how to.

    We’ve adopted twice. Our first, we took out a loan covered by our business assets to cover a lot of it. HOWEVER, we did get a $3000 grant. AND, not long before we had to buy our plane tickets, a cashiers check from an unidentified person came in the mail for $1000!! We hope we can do that for someone some day.

    Before our second adoption not quite 2 years later (just recently) our first adoption was paid off. By the grace of God, my husband got ownership in his family business, and our income greatly increased. I totally believe this was God covering our adoption. We were able to totally finance this adoption of 3 kids, with cash. We had to be careful with our money, but we could pay for the adoption in full.

    God is good!

  50. I have to post on this one because God has been SO, SO faithful to us in providing for our adoption expenses. We’ve been given over $28,000 at various times from friends and granting agencies for our adoptions, many times on the day we needed the money to take the next step to bring our children home, and without us ever asking….On one occasion, we needed an unanticipated $4,000 to bring home our son,and we didn’t know what to do. We decided that we KNEW this was our son, so we’d do what we’d do if any of our children were stuck in another country, and we put the $4,000 on a credit card. We weren’t happy about this, and had really been praying for God’s provision, but didn’t know what else to do and couldn’t bear delaying the adoption for even one day. The day after we charged the $4,000 to move forward with the adoption, a precious older lady in our church came to us. She said that she’d been praying two days before and had felt that God had wanted her to give us $4,000. She’d said, “Lord, are you sure?” and decided she better pray about it more. So the next day, she again was in prayer and felt that God again told her to give the $$$. So, in obedience she took her check book and went to my husband’s office, and wrote him a check for $4,000. Our original charge for the $4,000 was on our card for about 24 hours and then it was paid off!

    Following our last adoption, we were one child over the size of our minivan. We were trying to decide which SUV to purchase, and had narrowed it down to two models. One of our friends at church owned the same model as one of the cars we were considering, so after church one Sunday I asked her if she’d been happy with it, if it had been reliable, etc… and told her we were considering buying the same car. She answered my questions, but sort of gave me a funny look. Later that day she called and asked if she and her husband could come over. When they arrived, they told us that THAT VERY MORNING in church, prior to my conversation with my friend, the husband had leaned over and whispered that he thought God wanted them to give their car to us. (I hadn’t known it , but they’d actually just bought a newer model of the car we were considering,) They were afraid of “looking weird”, didn’t know if we wanted or needed it, didn’t want to offend, etc…., and were so excited to hear God confirm this word to them. They GAVE us a BEAUTIFUL SUV, one that was much nicer than what we would have purchased for ourselves, and the exact model and YEAR that we’d been looking at. Both families were so blessed at God’s hand in this, and our older children, especially, were encouraged that God DID see our family stepping out in obedience to adopt, and that He would be faithful to meet every need we had….

    I could tell even more stories, but the short version is that God has NEVER let us down…He’s rarely been early, but NEVER been late, and our faith and the faith of our children has grown by seeing God provide as we’ve stepped out in obedience to His command to care for orphans….It’s an adventure that none of us would have ever wanted to miss!

    BTW, Mary, LOVE your book….I’m carrying it around with me, gaining lots of new insights in managing my many blessings….Thank you!

    Lisa H.
    Walla Walla, WA