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Financing An Adoption

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When my first daughter was born we didn't have medical insurance. My in-laws gave us a heifer which we later sold to pay the medical bills. I am glad to report that after almost 40 years, our daughter does not appear to be traumatized by being paid for with a heifer. No, she wasn't adopted. But I think some children will embrace all aspects of their adoption story and some won't. I would guess if someone is upset because funds were raised to bring them into the family then they are probably struggling with adoption in general.

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Great story, Mari!

I wonder if adoptees in closed adoptions are more sensitive to the financial issues because they weren't raised in the context of relationships that helped assure them their adoption was far more than a mere monetary transaction?

That said, though, I remember my horror at a placement more than 20 years ago, when an adoptive father waved the case estimate in the air and proclaimed "I'm gonna frame this and put it in the nursery to remind this kid what he owes me whenever he refuses to mow the lawn!"

He thought it was funny. (I sure didn't.) :o

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Oh my goodness, the horror of those words, Elizabeth. Knowing your personality, I am sure you found a way to sweetly put that fella in the right frame of mine.

Like Scott, I guess I don't feel strongly one way or the other with fundraising. The topic of the cost of adoption comes up so much more than I imagined it would when folks find out Drake is adopted. I firmly, but politely tell inquiring minds that it is simply none of their business. I had not even considered this could be a topic that is sensitive to adoptees, so I appreciate the conversation. I love Oliver's Mimi's response!

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When my first daughter was born we didn't have medical insurance. My in-laws gave us a heifer which we later sold to pay the medical bills. I am glad to report that after almost 40 years, our daughter does not appear to be traumatized by being paid for with a heifer. No, she wasn't adopted. But I think some children will embrace all aspects of their adoption story and some won't. I would guess if someone is upset because funds were raised to bring them into the family then they are probably struggling with adoption in general.

Great story....and perspective Jackie! Was Melissa paid for with any farm animals? ;)

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Haha, Susan. I was going to elicit some guesses on that one but no, she wasn't. We were lucky enough to have insurance by then.

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When my first daughter was born we didn't have medical insurance. My in-laws gave us a heifer which we later sold to pay the medical bills. I am glad to report that after almost 40 years, our daughter does not appear to be traumatized by being paid for with a heifer. No, she wasn't adopted. But I think some children will embrace all aspects of their adoption story and some won't. I would guess if someone is upset because funds were raised to bring them into the family then they are probably struggling with adoption in general.

Lol! I thought "heifer" may have been a typo until I got further along in the sentence. :lol: That's awesome!

While I respect the viewpoints of adoptees and am interested in hearing their points of view, I often wonder how much of what they feel and think has to do with being adopted and how much is due to positive or negatives experiences in their adoptive families, relationships with birth families and just their life experiences in general. What one adoptee may not think twice about may be very painful to another. We all walk on our own path.

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I don't have a strong opinion about fundraising, but the one thing that bugs me about adoption financing and adds to the expense of it is the maternity policies of many companies, who classify maternity leave as a "medical condition of a woman who physically gave birth". If you adopt, you don't qualify so you must take unpaid leave to care for a newborn child. My company, and Jocelyn's company, both large employers on a national scale, have this policy.

Scott-

Great point and I am glad you mentioned it as I have been meaning to but forgot. Totally ridiculous right!!! I just learned this a few weeks ago and found it to be so annoying and extremely discriminatory. I do see the medical sides view point as short term disability (which is where the maternity pay would come from if I gave birth myself) only kicks in if its a medical necessity, but seems like there should be a clause or somewhere. I work in healthcare and my company is owned by Aetna Insurance which really burned me up to learn about this. I am lucky as my liberal HR ladies think this is bologna too and are working on trying to work something out for me...but we will see. Not always, but a lot of the time when families get to the point of adoption they have already paid tens of thousands in fertility treatments (at least we did), and now must pay a lot of money for a family (services only but you know what I mean), then not to get paid LIKE ALL OTHER MOTHERS DO, is really frustrating.

So, in regards to all of this talk about adoption financing and whether some thinks it is or is not a good idea, this just shows why adopting families do need a little extra help and that's OK. I don't think receiving money from a fundraiser, a foundation, family or wherever has any impact at all on ones ability to parent. Nor do I think parents will have a hard time explaining that topic to their child. When your child is old enough to ask you about the money aspect they are probably old enough to hear your struggles and how you did so much to get them and how grateful you were for that one little extra gift.

I tried to avoid commenting on this topic but I couldn't resist this morning. Also, I am typing on an iPad, which is an awful experience, so please forgive my brevity and typos.

Bridgett

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Scott and Bridgett-

Thanks for y'alls comments. Kevin and I both work for the same company. It's a very large company and I knew when I went to work there 6 years ago about their adoption leave policy (there is none). I was told it was a policy that they were reviewing and I was really hoping they would have changed it prior to 2011 but they still have not.

When I graduated from Grad school in 2005, I looked at several companies and that was one of the things I looked at. They do have a $5k benefit for legal expenses, etc but that is per child and not per employee.

So many people were not aware of the policy. When they asked why I was taking 4 months of unpaid leave they did not know why. I explained to them and they were shocked.

I will say, I was a little disappointed because the company we work for is progressive in several other ways but in this area they are not.

I do get a little pissed when people say, well at least you can afford to take the 4 months off, at least you received some type of benefit, etc. All we wanted was to be treated like the rest and have 6 weeks of paid leave. I would have gladly taken the other 10 weeks without pay, no problem.

Yes, I was grateful for being able to take time off and that we were able to receive the legal fee benefit from the company, etc but sometimes I really wish people could be a wee bit more compassionate.

Leah

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Bridgett - I have to admit I was also pretty angry when I realized our policies. I work for a large, global company and just before we adopted Oliver, I found myself in DC. I requested time with our Chief HR Officer and gave my thoughts and opinions and asked for an explanation. He got very detailed with me and though I respectfully had to agree to disagree with him, I could see why a group of decision-makers who had never been touched by adoption made the decisions they did. I chuckled the other day when I called the company that now handles our benefits (outsourced now). I explained to the girl that I needed an explanation of the process and what I'd be expected to do once we found out we were about to take placement (paperwork, who to alert, etc). I called it "maternity leave" and she heehaw'd around that for a while before she said, "Oooooohhhhh, you mean A BONDING LEAVE OF ABSENCE." Huh? Sure... yes, a bonding leave of absence then. "Women who give birth to their children get maternity leave through short term medical leave, but when you adopt someone's baby, it's just a bonding leave of absence." I don't know why it felt like a slap in the face, but it did! There is most certainly something about "standing in a different line," of sorts, that feels stinging, no matter how seemingly resolved your infertility issues are (and I imagine this is how most adoptees feel about "standing in a different line" through no choice of their own). Steven's company gives a $5k payment per child, per adoption. Mine gives nothing. Steven's also gives unpaid paternity leave, regardless of the method the child comes to you. That $5k puts a dent in the pay we lose out on during that "bonding period," but the bonding is essential whether we're getting paid or not. That time is critical for a newborn, but I can't imagine heading back to work and not having that time for Oliver to learn us and for us to learn all about him. I hate that companies do this, but each adoptive family has to find a way around the financial aspects of it all. I think this is why we see a lot of families in their 40's or older adopting for the first time... the fertility treatments and everything else don't just take time, they take money... and after you've wasted all your time, you've wasted all your money, too. Financing an adoption is not an easy thing to do for 99% of us and I think many of us don't build our families in the time frame we otherwise would have, namely because we're trying to get into a financial space where we can afford it... but for a certain population of the world, who are having biological families... they are planning their families against their financial capabilities, too. And hopefully they're not telling their kids that they might not exist today, had mom and dad not waited a few years to build a family because the expenses just weren't where they needed them to be. Finances are just a touchy thing to talk about, no matter what the context. I understand that some children are going to be sensitive to each step of their adoption story, just as some of us adults have a sore spot for the topic in our adoption journeys as well! Hopefully the way we process it will help establish a healthy frame of mind for our kids as they grow.

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not to get paid LIKE ALL OTHER MOTHERS DO, is really frustrating.

I wish that our nation's employers could afford every family of a new child paid time off for family bonding--- moms and dads alike! That would give all of America's children such a better start in life, I think.

But the reality is that more parents don't get paid leave than do, whether they become parents through birth, through foster care or through adoption. (And the same, ironically, applies to those of us who work in adoption. In 2002, when I became a parent for the first time, I had no paid maternity leave, either, even though my baby had special needs and was in the NICU for 8 weeks.)

I know Brianna is likewise having to plan ahead, to take time off without pay for maternity leave when her baby is born. (FMLA doesn't apply here, since we've got less than 50 employees, but not to worry, Brianna, we'll keep your chair warm for you!) :P

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So happy Abrazo does everything in their power to keep adoption affordable for the middle class.

Likewise, I work for a small employer and not only did I not get paid time off, I didn't really get any length of time off either. I had a week. My work piled up on my desk waiting for me to return. Since no one else at my company does my job. I wasn't ready to put my baby in daycare until 6 months, so I found a family friend (grandma who was retired) who was thrilled to make some extra money...babysitting. Not ideal, but I think we all find a way to make it work.

After reading this thread about employer legal benefits of up to $5000 per child and other benefits that are offered through large employers, I wonder if I should be looking for another job? But I probably won't since there are always trade off's. I do have short term flexibility and that means more to me now that my children are older and all sorts of things pop up that I wouldn't want to miss.

All is good, we more than survived. And with the IRS tax credit/incentive, we were able to recover financially fairly quickly and come back and adopt our second daughter 5 years later.

Karen

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When we adopted Garrett I was working for a very large bank and they also did/do not offer paid maternity leave, you can take your vacation time and your unused sick time but after that any time would have been unpaid and that is regardless of if you are adopting or giving birth.

I am no longer working and haven't since Garrett's birth so it wasn't an issue this time with Madelyn's placement.

We did make it work the first time, although it would have been nice to have had that time off paid.

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Just wanted to chime in that my employer does not offer a paid maternity leave for mothers (adoptive or biological) either. Any maternity leave is taken with vacation time, and FMLA does not apply in my case like Abrazo's because of less than 50 employees. They did however, want me to spend as much time as I could afford and allowed me to go in the negative, which I was very grateful for.

We were very impressed with Scott's employers benefit, to say the least. We did not learn about it until after Abrazo urged us to double check with our employers for benefits at orientation. They exceeded our expectations and were very generous with a 4 week paid paternity leave!!!!!!!! Can you believe that?!?!?!? We are very thankful for his employer, they are fantastic.

In regards to financing an adoption, I admit, I was tempted. Adoption costs were not easy for us to save for, but a priority. I (Scott most definitely not) was tempted to take a personal loan and even take parents up on offers to help out, but after deliberation and hearing Scott's point of view, it wasn't for us. We wanted and needed to do it ourselves. I'm glad we waited. In the moment, was I happy about it.....absolutely not! I personally do not think that how another family chooses to expand their family is any of my concern, financially or any other aspect. It's not my place to form an "is that right" or "is that wrong" opinion, it's their family and I am not walking in their shoes.

Merae

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Does anyone know if Abrazo accepts credit card payments for the $7750 due after the parent orientation weekend? We are trying to decide the benefits of taking out a loan against our retirement or to put some of this on credit card. We have some money saved up and have $ in retirement, but not sure if we should go there. Any advice would be much appreciated! We are excited to get this all started!

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I believe all payments need to be in the form of a check (or other such form... Not sure on those specifics) but I've never heard of a credit card being allowed?

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We apologize for any inconvenience, but Abrazo does not have the capacity to accept credit card payments for services. The agency does, however, accept personal checks for most payments except for orientation fees paid within 2 weeks of a scheduled orientation event, when cashier's checks or money orders are requested instead). Wire transfers are also acceptable (and are required, following submission of checks for which insufficient funds are available.)

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Adoption costs aside, here's the latest on what it costs to raise a child to adulthood:

http://www.mint.com/blog/consumer-iq/bundle-of-joy-wad-of-cash-a-peek-into-financial-planning-for-a-new-baby-0613/

(No wonder agencies have to require proof of financial stability in advance of placement.)

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Just heard about a cute fundraising idea!

An adopting family purchased a custom puzzle of their pre-adoption family. They sold the pieces to friends for $10 each. The friends' names were written on the back of the pieces. When all of the pieces were accounted for, the puzzle was assembled and put into a frame with glass on both sides. That was put into the baby's room so the love could be shared for a long time to come!

You might want to modify the idea a little bit, but it's a good starting point.

We did this with a map of the United States! Everyone wrote a message to the baby on the back. Some people gave $2.00 and some gave $200.00. It really helped with our expenses on our last trip to Texas. Now we have an awesome art peace for the nursery!

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Happened across this remarkable program, which offers interest-free adoption loans! Check it out, if you could use some help: http://www.pathwaysforlittlefeet.org/get-involved/apply/

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Pathways For Little Feet is a great company that offers interest free loans up to $7500.00

It is a company that I refer most of my parents through when they receive coaching.

Apply after your homestudy is complete and they generally offer the loan 3-6 months prior to placement. You need to have excellent credit!

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