I absolute love how each week, we can read all the different ways adoption has touched people’s lives. Domestic. International. Foster Care. God is working – and we get to be a part of it! Today is Amy’s story. Both of her adopted boys are from the same SWI (Orphanage) as Liana. Read what she has to share today – especially if you think you cannot “afford” adoption….
There Are Many Reasons to Not Adopt A Child; Finances Should Not Be One of Them.
When we adopted our first son, Luke, financing the adoption was low on our list of worries. We had planned to adopt a baby, but instead fell in love with our son, who was about to turn 14 and ‘age out,’ meaning he was not adoptable in China’s eyes. We had to rush to get him before his 14th birthday. There were so many other things to worry about besides finances. We had two little girls, were adopting out of birth order, and were afraid for their safety. Luke has a heart condition which was a medical need we were trying to avoid. At the time he was only 4’ 3” and no one knew why. He had only about three years of education and an unknown genetic condition. Most scary was that another family two months prior had traveled to China to adopt him, but chose to leave him there, disrupting the adoption. We did not know why this happened, but we knew that Luke was traumatized and devastated. We had saved up for Luke’s adoption, and while it was a huge sacrifice that totaled much more than anticipated, it still worked out okay. It was nothing, and I mean NOTHING close to the financial worry of our second adoption. In fact, the complications we had at the end of Luke’s adoption with finances I think was God’s way of preparing us to deal with lack of financing we had for our second adoption.
The day we met Luke!
About five months after we got home with Luke we made the giant decision to adopt his friend Cole from the same welfare center. There were many, many obstacles to consider. Cole also has a heart condition, is short-statured, behind in education for a 14-year old, has major skeletal issues, and an underlying genetic condition.
There were all of the past and future emotional traumas and behavioral issues to consider, just as with Luke’s adoption. Finances, however, were our most pressing and worrisome obstacle. We had just come off of Luke’s adoption which cost us around $30,000. We were trying to provide Luke with intervention medications to help him grow, but no matter how hard we and the doctor’s tried to make a case the insurance company would not approve them. We were staring down the barrel of $4,000 a month to continue to provide the medicines he needs once the free trials ended. We did not have both the money to pay for Luke’s intervention medication and the $25,000 for Cole’s adoption. We kept asking ourselves, “Would we be sacrificing one child’s needs for another?” To make matters more stressful we had to make a decision quickly, because if we decided to adopt Cole we only had five months between the decision and traveling to China—five months to raise $25,000, not to even mention the thousands of dollars needed later on for his medical care.
Here is why finances should not be a major deterrent to adoption if you have determined that adoption is the path that God is moving you to follow.
- People want to help. There are many people who do not want to adopt, but are interested in financially supporting those who do. I remember telling a friend that I hated so much to ask other’s for money to help fund our adoption, because it made me feel so uncomfortable and unworthy. She gently told me to get out of God’s way. She was basically asking me, “Who do you think you are to try to limit people and what they choose to do with their money?” She reminded me that she and her husband were giving us money freely, with no regrets, and while they were not interested in adoption, they were thrilled to be a part of our journey. Oh, how humbling that was to hear. My husband and I love to give away money, and I’m not joking. I get a huge kick out of writing checks for organizations; it’s so much fun to know I’m a part of something, and I’m helping. With a full-time job and four kids I can’t always find time to volunteer right now, but sometimes I can give money, and it’s fantastic to be a part of something bigger, even if I can’t physically take part.
- Anyone can fundraise; it just takes time and perseverance. Fundraising is a test of endurance. With both my husband and I working there were so many times that I thought, “I cannot do this one more day along with everything else. I’m going to crack under the exhaustion.” I am not at all here to tell you that fundraising is easy. It’s NOT, and it won’t help you to sugarcoat it, but anyone, yes anyone, CAN do it. If the adoption you are considering is right for reasons other than your financial situation it’s worth all of the time and effort. In fact, fundraising at the end of it all made our second adoption that much more sweet.
- Find an adoption warrior. Seek out a friend who wants to help your family fundraise and will champion your cause. When we were first trying to decide if we should adopt Cole we discussed it one night at length with our long-time friends Carrie and Jonathan. They immediately said, “If you move forward with this, we will help you.” They were convinced that they could help us raise $10,000. They don’t even live in our city; they live five hours away, and we only see each other about once a year. These are not family members, or friends we see often, and ‘do life’ with. These are old and dear friends who were determined to make a difference in a child’s life and support our family. I thought they were both cracked to even offer, and I thought $10,000 was way beyond anything we could ever raise. I was WRONG. Between their advocacy and our family’s help, we raised over $20,000 in five months. Here’s the thing about adoption warriors, they have none of the emotional hang-ups about fundraising that you do. They don’t feel bad about selling things or asking for money. They are energized and you will be astounded at the out-of-the-box ideas they come up with. Carrie’s little daughter Addison said that she wanted to give all of her savings in her money jar for our adoption. Carrie posted that on Facebook and asked if everyone could match Addison’s donation and send her a note about it. It was so much fun, such an amazing lesson for all of our children. It was delightful to work with this little girl on her fundraising goal for us.
- Seek out fundraising advice. Join adoption groups online and ask others which fundraisers were the most successful for them. We had heard garage sales were often fruitful and asked our friends over a period of three months to donate what they would normally give away. For many of our friends it was much easier to give us their possessions to sell than to give monetarily. With the help of some friends who brought car load after car load of items, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law, we had an amazing garage sale and that raised tons of money for Cole’s adoption.
- Trust in God’s plan to provide. Current circumstances are overrated and should play a limited role in big decision making. Since we don’t know what God can and will provide in the future, we should not limit the possibilities and resources He may provide us. Instead, it’s better to ask the following questions when making big decisions, like whether or not to adopt:
- Does adoption, and all that goes with it, fit in with your gifts and abilities? In this case we had to ask ourselves, “Do our gifts and abilities align with our capability to raise the funds needed for this adoption and provide for Luke’s medical needs? Can we rest in God’s provision, that He will help us find the funding needed if this is His plan? Do we have skills to raise a fourth child with little to no education and serious medical issues? Will this child fit in well with our other children?”
- Does adoption fit with the purpose that God has called for your life? All of us are called to a higher purpose in life. Does adoption fit with the pattern God has called you to? Does it fit with your desires? Does adoption make your heart sing? Would it show others God’s love and glory, or would you be so overtaxed that you would be the poster family of why not to adopt? Does it fit with the cadence of your life? Does the act of adoption fulfill in you something bigger than this earthly world?
For us, the answers to those questions were a resounding YES! We moved forward with our son Cole’s adoption with very little idea of how financially we would provide for the needs of our other children, Cole’s adoption, and his medical care.
So, how did we do it? God, ONLY God could orchestrate the spider web of events that happened once we pulled the trigger and said yes to His plan for our life and to adopting Cole.
Not long after we told our adoption agency we would move forward with adopting Cole, we were informed that our insurance company had made a mistake, that one of the intervention drugs we were providing to Luke was accidentally approved by insurance. A nurse at the doctor’s office called and convinced them to honor their mistake for an entire year! That’s $36,000 in medication that would be provided to us for only $60 per month, and approved on ACCIDENT. I called later to follow-up with that nurse and was told she was only a temporary worker and had moved to another assignment. Anyone believe in angels?
You already know what happened with our fundraising for the actual adoption. With the support of our family and friends we raised over $20,000. I never in my life would have predicted or imagined that would happen. Even now, I get all misty-eyed thinking about the generosity of so many who helped to bring home Cole.
During this past year we have been paying an extra $1,000 a month for the 2nd intervention medication for Luke. As a family of five we were told that we did not qualify for the drug assistance program from the manufacturer, but once we got home from China I re-applied, and we were informed last month that as a family of six we qualify for free medication for Luke for the next year. Yes, our decision to adopt Cole meant that we are receiving FREE medicine for Luke. I have no more words than G-O-D.
Just this week we found out that Cole, in addition to all of his other medical needs, will require dental surgery, an expander, headgear, and braces for the next two years to correct an issue that will eventually cause him to not be able to chew correctly. The expander, headgear, and braces alone are $6,000. As I sat in the orthodontists office not only did my heart sink at what we needed to put this precious boy through medically in addition to his other needs, but about the cost. When the orthodontist told me the price, my stomach flip-flopped, but he then said, “But if you will cover the hardware of $1,000 I will cover the rest of the costs. This is something I would like to do for your family.” I have never met this man. He had known me for all of 10 minutes. He knew just enough about our story to explain why Cole doesn’t speak much English. I of course started crying, because that’s what I do whenever something like this happens. I still can’t get over that once again we were staring down a $6,000 bill and God provided!
I promise you, if adoption is a part of God’s plan for your life He WILL provide financially. We still have many bills to pay for Luke and Cole’s medical care, but we trust that God will provide, because this is the path He wants us to walk. Adoption is not a calling for everyone, and that’s okay. We all have different gifts and abilities, and purposes for our life. I would not wish this on anyone who is not ready, because it is as hard as it is full of joy.
If you are not ready to adopt, I would encourage you to consider helping a family who feels the call, or elect to give monetarily to a specific child waiting for a family. There are many to choose from on Reece’s Rainbow at http://reecesrainbow.org/
If you are in the middle of deciding about adoption, please don’t let finances get in your way!
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