By Kelly Ellison
It is possible to get all of the money you need for your adoption! It is NOT possible to get it all from one source. Don’t let anyone tell you that you, in any certain manner, that you can just get a grant to pay for your adoption. Have there been instances where a family has received lots of money for their adoption through grants and loans? Yes, but these are the exceptions not the rule!
We like to recommend a more diverse approach to financing your adoption. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ adoption; every family, every adoption has its own characteristics, unique as your child when you are finally united. For that reason, it’s important to know about all of the resources and to the best of your ability put together a plan. In this case, ‘to the best of your ability’ is our disclaimer, because if there is one thing about adoption that is constant, it’s that it’s constantly changing. Hold on…it can be a bumpy ride!
Many folks, whether doing an international or domestic adoption, consider a loan to get the cash upfront for expenses so you can get the process moving. When pursuing a domestic adoption, you may have to show that you already have all the money or at least have access to it. The reason for this is that when a birth mother selects you, sometimes you will have to move very quickly, needing immediate access to the full fees. Conversely with an international adoption, the process can be drawn out with paperwork and politics, making the expenses incur over time. Either way, the cost is still what it is, and you need to work upfront to understand exactly how you’ll bring it all together.
A loan is typically the first thing that is considered when you are putting together an adoption plan. You may decide to approach a family member, but otherwise, your home bank should be your first stop. Go where you have a relationship. You have a better chance at refinancing your current mortgage or taking out a home equity loan with the bank that has your existing mortgage.
If your home bank is not an option for you, then you can go to an outside lender. One of the best lenders is America’s Christian Credit Union. Full disclosure, they require you to sign a statement of faith, but as far as products such as equity on your automobile for an adoption, a visa to travel and other unique products they offer, their team is truly dedicated to helping adoptive families succeed in coming together. They also have great rates and long terms, which can be helpful if you are in a long international adoption process.
Other options for funding are a combination of a grant and loan. One excellent resource for this is from a company called A Child Waits. They provide grants to eligible adoptive families and can also give a low to no interest loan in addition to a grant. The best way to learn more about loans and grants is by searching the internet, but honestly this can be very overwhelming. Check with your adoption agency or professional to see if they can provide you a list of institutions that provide adoption loans and grants. Also ask what other families have done or if they have relationships with any loan or grant making foundations. Many times they will be able to direct you.
When applying for a grant, remember one thing…it’s about your story! Much like when putting together your adoption profile, you want to think about what distinguishes you among all the rest. Tell your compelling adoption story. Imagine yourself as one of those people reading ALL of the hundreds of applications asking for money! What would you want to read? Facts and figures? Or an inspiring true account of why you and your partner are choosing adoption? Another important aspect of writing grants is to find the foundations that you feel drawn to. Many foundations have guidelines – don’t ignore them – look for those that you feel match your philosophy and heart.
Ultimately, it comes down to careful planning and putting together a plan that continues to be tweaked as the process unfolds. There is no ‘one answer’, and the truth is we don’t like to talk about money in any situation – most especially kids and money! Do your best to look honestly at your financial situation and seek help from your adoption professional or a financial planner in your area to put together a plan that best fits you.