The grand total: $33,773.21
That number includes every check written to our home study and placement agencies, airline tickets, finger prints, visas, etc, etc: even every express envelope mailed with very important documents.
And that amount was paid if full, without any debt. While the total amount seems daunting, and it was to me, we did it. We adopted without debt and here is how we did it.
(A disclaimer before you read the list: Pete and I work really hard to follow Dave Ramsey and live without debt. Pete has worked for the Church for the last 11 years and we had to learn early on in our marriage to live within a tight budget, save, and, go without what the "Joneses" may have had down the street. )
- Savings for adoption. Before we even started the process, we began putting away $100 a month for the (possible) adoption. This was me being hopeful, but we did it with the knowledge that we *might* need the money for that very special purpose someday. This did not amount to much. By the time we started the process we had about $1,600 in the account, which was gone when our first check was written to our home study agency. But, it was a good start.
- We worked. A lot. Dave Ramsey touts taking side jobs when you are working to get rid of debt, and we applied that principle to this situation. I had personal training clients that I met with 2-3 times a week. I got a job working a few race expos with a great running t-shirt company. Pete got side jobs too. It meant we were busy. I often sacrificed sleep and my own workout to meet a client early in the morning. The boys' homeschooling days would get interrupted. We had less family time together. But we knew it was a season and that the end result, less financial worries, was worth it.
- Fundraisers. We held two different fundraisers. We held an online auction and had a total of 4 days worth of yard sales over two summers. All items were donated. A location for the second (two day yard sale) was even "donated." I went through all the items donated for the yard sales and sold the nicer items on eBay, Craigslist or an online yard sale site because I knew I could get more money for them that way than at the yard sale.
- Selling anything that wasn't nailed down. I write that in jest (somewhat). I went through EVERYTHING we owned and sold LOTS of items. Random items, homeschool curriculum, old cameras, furniture. It all got sold on eBay or Craigslist. Anytime I got sentimental about an item, I would remind myself that there was a child in China that needed a family a lot more than I needed ______ and it got sold.
- Donations. We did send out a fundraising letter to friends and family who did not live close by.
We had set up an AdoptTogether site that people could give a tax-deductible donation and then we were able to get that money via a grant through AdoptTogether. Some people just sent us checks, others gave money here and there. A stranger even handed me a $100 bill when he found out what we were doing.
- Grants. We applied for one grant and got a grant through Show Hope. We had researched a lot of grants and did want to apply for more, but many grants only allow you to apply for one grant every two years and since we had already thought about adopting again, and we figured we would need more grants for the second adoption, we decided to wait to apply to those foundations until adoption #2.
- Our savings account. The majority of our in-country expenses (the final fees, etc that are paid in China and due before travel), came from our savings.
We had really wanted this trip to be a family trip, but once we got Travel Approval and began looking at the hard numbers in front of us, we knew we could not take the boys. The stress on us, financially, would have been too great and I knew that I did not want to have a great time in China for two weeks with everyone, but stress for months (or years) about finances after we came home; especially knowing Felicity would have upcoming surgeries. We had even discussed me going by myself, but thankfully, due to a donation we got the day after we received Travel Approval, we did not need to consider that as an option and Pete and I were able to go together.
While I did not give specific numbers in this post, I wrote this post more to show that adopting without debt is doable. I was amazed at how God showed up through the generosity of so many people around us. Friends, family, and strangers gave items for yard sales, hours of working at the yard sales, items for our online auction. I am forever grateful to those people who helped us adopt Felicity.
I want to encourage anyone reading this. If God places adoption on your hearts, do not let the cost of the adoption stop you. God will provide when you are following His will and trusting in Him.