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This is all knew to me!  I wish I would have seen this posting prior to us going through the process.  We could of had more people involved in helping us rather than us doing it ourselves.  At least now I have ideas for the future.

Grants!  Who would have known.  I did look into it, but everything looked like it was based around salaries and taxes. I should have looked into it more.

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Hi everyone, our family did receive two grants for our second adoption. Here is a weblink regarding adoption grant programs.

http://www.angelfire.com/journal/adoptionh...elp.html#GRANTS

You really have to do your homework, but believe me, it is truly worth the time and effort. If you want more specific information, PM me and I will be happy to answer questions. One more thought, when requesting applications, ask up front if the adoption grant program supports domestic/international adoptions. Some only support international adoption programs, but I do know that Feng LiLi and Gift of Adoption do sponser both. Kim Mathews biggrin.gif

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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 daught

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

It is insulting to me that I have heard so much about potential/hopeful adoptive parents giving us biological parents money in order to make our problems go away. As if a lump sum of money is going to

We received three grants when adopting our son. The organizations we connected with did not ask us to generate funds from our friends/family. The funds from the organization was raised by private individuals and managed by the grant organizations prior to the grant being awarded.

We do receive information from those organizations throughout the year asking for donations and alerting us of upcoming fundraising opportunities and the end of the year, we usually receive a letter asking for a direct donation.

Hope this helps. smile.gif

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Yet another plug for my favorite magazine in the world!

Adoptive Families magazine has a section called Help With Adoption Expenses with articles and links and general information about just that - trying to cover adoption expenses.

There's even tips from AF Readers on how they did it.

If you're exploring your options on how to afford it, check out this link Help With Adoption Expenses - Adoptive Families Magazine Website

-Lisa

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Yet another plug for my favorite magazine in the world!

Adoptive Families magazine has a section called Help With Adoption Expenses with articles and links and general information about just that - trying to cover adoption expenses.

There's even tips from AF Readers on how they did it.

If you're exploring your options on how to afford it, check out this link Help With Adoption Expenses - Adoptive Families Magazine Website

-Lisa

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Have this website bookmarked..... This is what I love about the forum...... So much good information.

Thanks -Lisa wink.gif

Linda

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Amen!

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Ya know it is nice that there is a 10,000 tax credit; that should help everyone!

One thing Mark and I tried to keep in mind is that adoption while expensive is what most people today finance for a car and a child is definately more important than that! :)

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Lisa

you need to write an adoption book; you are a plethora (sp) of information girlie!

Amen!

Thanks you two! I guess I'm just an information junkie...anytime I'm interested in something, I just read everything I can get my hands on to learn about it (you should have seen me when we decided to try to get pregnant, my mom thought I was crazy because I read every book you can imagine on how to get pregnant (this was before we knew we had "issues") She kept telling me, in the olden days, when I got pregnant, we just had fun - you are making it way too scientific Lisa! :rolleyes: Fortunately, I have somewhere to share the information on the adoption stuff, I'm sure noone is very interested in what my research on how to conceive a baby led to (not to mention, after all that - we still weren't successful in that area but now that we have Kayleigh...I know why).

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Like so many of you, we are looking into adoption loans. I've been told the adoption costs range from $15-19K, not including maternity bills. Does anyone know if the estimate includes the attorney fees for filing for the adoption decree?

I'm worried about not borrowing enough money. If we borrow the amount we can afford and it isn't enough, making an additional payment will be financially tough. We are already allocating $600 a month for daycare... which doesn't include diapers but does include formula.

My company does offer a $1500 benefit and I know about the tax credit. I'm more worried about borrowing enough money up front to adequately cover the costs.

Any financial advice is welcome.

PS. It's kind of funny that my dogs were also "adopted". They were rescues from a no-kill shelter and we had to complete an "adoption application" (only 2 pages)... they skipped the home inspection. It cost $50 for each dog but included initial vaccinations. We only had to submit one follow up report. It is definitely easier being a dog mom... but everytime I think of having a child, my heart just swells. Even with the high costs, I just can't wait. We just want to adequately plan our finances.

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Dear Transitioning from Dog Mom,

You'll find most people reticent about talking real numbers here. I think they don't want to sound like buying and selling, etc. And there are so many variables. Still, finances are an important issue in this process, so I'm going to give you a little more info to use to make your own plans.

You can get good numbers estimates from Abrazo, but here are a few cases I know about or am familiar with that can show the ranges you might expect.

I know of an adoption in which the case estimate (that's the paper faxed or delivered to prospective adoptive parents so they can evaluate an individual case before matching or agreeing to a BOG placement) was about $30K. That case had high medical bills, which were negotiated down by Abrazo, but were still high. Those bills were the main factor in increasing the cost of that case over the sometimes lower numbers you'll see bandied about.

The agency fees are all cut and dried, so there's no guessing on those (again, you can get real numbers from Abrazo), the variables are in prenatal care, hospitalization/medical costs, counseling for prospective mothers or birthmothers who have placed, etc. Generally, you're going to have some groceries, etc. for the brithmother, maybe housing. Still, those are all very easily figured. It's the medical that varies widely from case to case. The number provided on the case estimate does not include attorneys fees for finalization. Based on ours and those of others, I think that this will run about $2000, some a little under, some a little over. I do not know if out-of-state adoptions cost more, as I only know numbers of in-state. There are other legal fees in the estimate (termination of rights, notification by publication, etc.), but again those will vary by case (father known/unknown, father agrees/disagrees with plan, etc.).

Another case, the estimate was lower, but still relatively high (closer to $20K, if I remember correctly). However, ultimately the number was considerably lower (closer to $13K) due to Medicaid coverage of the birth and hospitalization of child and mother. No one can completely predict when those things are going to be covered, so that's why the higher estimate (just in case) was pleasantly undercut. In cases where you are choosing whether to match, you'll have some idea if Medicaid coverage is possible, filed for, etc. Still, there are sometimes flies in the ointment, like moving from one town to the next means the birthmother may have to refile for coverage.

Remember, that you must look at your own finances and truly gauge what is possible or impossible. You'll reveal this number to Abrazo before taking a look at any cases and they will not ask you to consider a case that you have indicated is beyond your means at the time. Also, you can turn down a case without fear of being shoved to the end of the line, etc. That is why they give you case estimates and medical disclosure information. You need to search your heart to know if you can take on a particular child's circumstances BEFORE you say yes. It's usually a pretty quick decision to have to make, but Abrazo tries to give you all the information they have to help you.

Ultimately, you need to know your limitations ahead of time. You don't want to have to agonize over a cost or a medical condition when you know a baby is waiting. That's why the application form is so brutal in requiring you to layout which medical conditions, legal situations, and financial situations you are comfortable facing. You don't want to have to make those kinds of decisions on the fly when emotions run high and time can be short.

So, while you are "looking forward" to those costs associated with adoption because they mean a child in your arms (and oh so much more), be honest in your evaluation of what you can handle. You want to make sure that there isn't just enough money to bring home your child, but plenty to provide those necessities and even some luxuries as well as the all-important opportunities you long to. (I know, I think my participle is dangling. Oh, well!) Be a good steward of what you've worked so hard to build up (and qualify for in the case of loans or grants) to make the most of it for the benefit of your child.

It's great that you have some employee benefits regarding adoptions. Those are not as plentiful as I'd like to see. And you'll have noticed others discussing how their disability insurance, paid for over the years in the happy anticipation that it would bear some of the costs during maternity leave doesn't apply in the case of an adoption, because the leave isn't medical in nature when the adoptive mother didn't give birth. There are still limitations to how "equally" adoptive families and birthing families are treated in the realms of insurance and leave coverage. You'll want to check out those details for yourself (some are required in the Abrazo application process) to make sure what the specifics for you will be. Get yourself as well-informed as you can, and you'll find yourself less stressed as you wait to bring home your first non-furry (though my daughter is quite fuzzy ;) ) blessing.

Good luck as you work through this long but rewarding journey,

Christina

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Christina, thank you!! I know this is not an easy topic to address, even for those of us who work in adoption, but you did a great job of it-- can we just defer all such inquiries to you from now on? :P

That said, I do need to clarify one point:

You'll reveal this number to Abrazo before taking a look at any cases and they will not ask you to consider a case that you have indicated is beyond your means at the time.

The agency inquiry (our pre-app) and application forms both ask families to specify the range of their anticipated adoption budget. The reason for this is NOT to delineate which cases will be presented to whom (because obviously, if that were the case, we'd ALL opt for the lowest-cost cases so as to preserve our finances for life after adoption!)

Our purpose in asking this is to ascertain whether families have realistic expectations (and budgets) for adopting within Texas, where laws do provide for payment of birthparent living expenses, etc. Now-- take a deep breath, because the next paragraph is a scary one.

The average cost of our full-service cases (including agency fees) presently falls around $13-15k on toddler cases, $16-19K in infant placements (NOT including medical bills!) If insurance or Medicaid is unavailable; these average $7-10k for mom and baby on a normal delivery with a 2 day hospital stay (more if it's a C-section, preemie, etc.) And while most birthmothers do qualify for some assistance, no hospital bills are EVER covered in advance of birth/placement, so adopting parents necessarily assume all of the financial risks for any unpaid medical bills once relinquishment/placement have occurred. There's NEVER any guarantee of coverage before you take placement, unless you are only adopting a child who is old enough to have all medical bills already cleared a year or more ago.

(Ok, now exhale.) Here's the clarification I need to make:

The agency will provide you with a printed cost estimate on any case in which the birthparents have asked to match with you, regardless of whether the bottom line falls within your stated budget or not. You have every right to accept the case, if you feel it's right for you, or decline it, if it doesn't fit for whatever reason. You are not penalized for doing so (unless you've done so a dozen or more times, at which point counseling is probably advisable!) We do all we can to conserve your escrow funds and to fight medical providers for discounts, where possible, but there is always a risk that monies spent in advance may be lost, should placement not occur, and lost expenses cannot be recovered (agency fees, however, do carry over, since what you've paid us for is our services, not someone's child).

Generally, the cost estimates do run high, since it's always nicer to bring a case in under budget than over, but adopting parents must be careful not to overextend themselves when matching, and not to enter the adoption process until or unless they're financially prepared for the risks. This is, truly, the investment of a lifetime, and not one to be undertaken lightly!

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One other thing to mention (maybe you guys already have) - but all of the costs that Elizabeth mentioned does NOT include the costs associated with the homestudy and travel associated with meeting the BPs, placement and finalization. Those costs alone can easily run close to $4K to $5K.

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I would further suggest that you start banking that $600 a month now. We budgeted for Makenzie too, but we had no idea how much it actually cost. We have a "cushion" that has helped when expenses ran over with her (she had bad allergies and we were in the doctor's office a lot, plus she needed LOTS of toys :blink: , and diapers are WAY more expensive than we thought).

Anyway, you can't be too careful. Bank what you think you will spend until the baby comes home. If nothing else, you can take a nice vacation after finalization!

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I would further suggest that you start banking that $600 a month now. We budgeted for Makenzie too, but we had no idea how much it actually cost. We have a "cushion" that has helped when expenses ran over with her (she had bad allergies and we were in the doctor's office a lot, plus she needed LOTS of toys :blink: , and diapers are WAY more expensive than we thought).

Anyway, you can't be too careful. Bank what you think you will spend until the baby comes home. If nothing else, you can take a nice vacation after finalization!

Ditto....

Save, Save, Save.... Escpecially if you plan to stay home...

Linda

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Elizabeth,

Thanks for the compliments. And no, I don't want to field all those questions. (Or the ones from people who want to pretend to want an open adoption until they take placement or finalize). I hope I didn't go beyond my call, but I felt some real life situations would help show what might appear on the horizon for prospective adoptive families. Families really need to have a good grasp of what adoption is going to require of them. I've tried to emphasize this in other posts. There are so many areas of our lives that are/will be touched by adoption, we need to be ready. Finances may seem callous to talk about, but they play a major role in having a family, by whatever means. Finances are a huge area for problems within a marriage and the stresses of adoption can only add to that if the issues haven't been dealt with and the families are underprepared or underinformed of potential costs.

So, that's why I went into so much detail and didn't fall back on, "Refer all financial questions to Abrazo." I think true-life scenarios put things in perspective and you all probably can't even give out true-life scenario information. So, if I stepped on toes, I do apologize.

Thanks so much for clarifying about the "budget for adoption" question on the forms. I should have guessed there was more behind it than just, "How much money do you want to spend?" Once again, there are some questions that have right and wrong answers. You all are sneaky, but with a purpose.

And, just let me say again that Abrazo will go the distance in keeping costs as low as possible, knowing that you have to feed and clothe your child once you take placement. But, the costs can still be high, so remember, this is a child your investing in, not a car that loses value as soon as you drive off the lot. If it costs as much, remember that he/she appreciates in value over time and so will your life.

You all are asking great questions and I hope your getting some good answers!

Christina

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And, just let me say again that Abrazo will go the distance in keeping costs as low as possible, knowing that you have to feed and clothe your child once you take placement. But, the costs can still be high, so remember, this is a child your investing in, not a car that loses value as soon as you drive off the lot. If it costs as much, remember that he/she appreciates in value over time and so will your life.

You all are asking great questions and I hope your getting some good answers!

Christina

I could not agree with you more on this point (and thanks Christina for fielding that question as well, I know when we began our journey, this weighed heavily on my mind - it was like jumping into the unknown and the sky was the limit - we were just trying to get our ducks in a row and would have loved some real life scenarios (and one of the great things at Orientation is they address this but still, even before we went to Orientation, we were just very interested in the financial side of things - I guess after going through 2 unsuccessful IVF attempts (with no insurance coverage), we were just a little sensitive to how far we could go in order to bring home our child. Anyway, I'm not explaining very well but basically - I just wanted to say that I know this is probably one of the number one things couples/individuals are curious about so it was nice of you to share some info here.

I actually don't remember the estimate for the expenses associated with Kayleigh's adoption - perhaps because I don't think I was given one until we had already said yes. You see, Kayleigh was a BOG and her birthmother did not qualify for medicaid, nor did she have insurance. Our insurance kicked in on placement - so, when we received the call about Kayleigh - it was explained to us that her case was a private pay case (meaning, we would be 100% responsible for all of her and her birthmother's medical bills - no chance of medicaid kicking in at any time). I remember asking Elizabeth - do you have any estimate at all at this point (this was when she was giving me the very limited details she had at that time on Kayleigh and the case associated with her adoption) - she said no, and she wasn't sure when she would (she was very blunt and honest with me on that). I thought back to Orientation and I remembered we had asked Abrazo what the highest possible case could be that they've seen (which typically involves either/or private pay and legal risk...Kayleigh was both) and I thought - Okay, so...we're talking this will be on the higher end of the estimate that was discussed in Orientation, right? One thing though, Kayleigh was born at home - and when she was taken to the hospital, she was admitted to the well baby nursery...so, I was thinking - the medical bills couldn't be too much, right? Wrong. Within 24 hours of being admitted to the hospital, Kayleigh was admitted to the NICU (the neo-natal intensive care unit). We covered 3'ish days of NICU care for Kayleigh - out of our pocket - she was born 12/5/02 and we took placement on 12/9/02 - our insurance kicked in after we took placement. Then, the medical bills began arriving (oh yeah, I forgot to mention - we said yes to the case (obviously), and I remember the moment we met Kayleigh thinking that if I have to work 2 jobs for the rest of my life and live out of a car, we will figure out a way to cover whatever expenses come our way - there was no way finances were going to come in between us and this precious baby girl who we just knew needed us as much as we needed her (okay, so maybe we DID need her a bit more than she needed us but still - I felt (as did Lance) that the three of us were just all supposed to be together, I've never been more certain of anything in my entire life). Anyway, back to those medical bills - you know Christina - you couldn't be more right about how they can vary widely! I remember getting a call from Abrazo saying to me, "You're not going to believe this but the doctor who examined Kayleigh's birthmother when she was taken to the hospital (after she had already given birth at home) is charging a delivery fee!" There were numerous things like that - I kept a spreadsheet of all the bills as they arrived (some were sent directly to us (which we had to forward to Abrazo) and some showed up on EOB's from our insurance (as denied as her coverage hadn't kicked in yet) and was in regular contact with Abrazo. I have to say - they came through in a BIG, BIG way for us! I was/am so grateful for that - they worked tirelessly to negotiate, on our behalf with the hospital (and fortunately, Kayleigh was taken to a hospital who was willing to negotiate, there is a hospital I'm aware of who refuse to negotiate medical bills for private pay cases, it is what it is, they say) and wittled them down to a very, very manageable amount - about half of what they would have been if we had paid them in full.

The reason this had such an impact on me is because one of my biggest fears when we began our adoption journey was whether or not an agency would take advantage of us and our vulnerability - would they constantly ask for money, make promises but we'd find ourselves 5 years later with an empty adoption fund and still childless. When my mom told me about her friend who had worked with Abrazo and had a wonderful experience (the birthmother they adopted their child from was eligible for medicaid, so although they had to pay all the medical bills up front through Abrazo - when they went to finalize their son's adoption, Abrazo cut them a check for around $10,000 which was what had been set aside by this couple in case Medicaid didn't come through). That just spoke volumes to me at that time about what kind of an agency Abrazo was. Then, I experienced it first hand - they treat the funds and expenses as if the money was coming from their own pocket - I have found this to be the case over and over and over again - I would trust them as a co-signer on our bank account because I know how conservative and modest they are when it comes to maternity support, medical expenses, legal expenses, etc. I just can't emphasize enough how far above and beyond they go when it comes to this part of the process - they do so much that we are never even aware of - lots go on behind the scenes. Although it is impossible to really know the end result of the expenses involved with each adoption (because medical bills and legal bills can certainly vary a LOT), you can have confidence that Abrazo will do everything within their scope to treat your funds with care and consideration and will keep you very aware of variable situations.

-Lisa

Edited by linlacor
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I would suggest taking out a loan for possibly $5K more than the figure in your head...most likely you'll be paying off your loan sooner than expected with the tax credit and reimbursement from Abrazo if any money is left in your escrow account after finalization. It seems like you always need more money up front than what you expect...when don't you?!? ;)

However, if you have another way to come up with a good chunk of money relatively quickly if needed (i.e. 401K loan or something of that sort) I wouldn't worry as much.

I've said this before, but 0% credit card offers on purchases over the next year is great to have as a back up too--perfect for travelling expenses on your adoption journey, although I know credit cards aren't for everyone. Just food for thought.

Good luck, Cath

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For all of you that have had garage/yard sales as a fundraiser, I ask your help. Do you have any suggestions for me? I plan to put up a sign that says something about why we are having the sale. I figured that would also allow people to see that if the prices were not dirt cheap, that's why. At the same time, I don't want to over price things. I think yard sales can be kinda fun. I thought I'd also sell some soda's in case people were thirsty. It's very hot here!

We have also applied for some grants and plan to apply for some more. My only concern is that they will assume because we are both employed that we should have enough funds for the adoption. A lot has changed in the last few years, moving into a new home, adopting our first child... whew that took a lot out of us.

Third, hopefully the adoption tax credit from Dante's adoption will help us too! We are banking on that one!!

Looking forward to hearing your ideas,

Claudia

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