To expand your family, spend $20K to $40,000 What to pay for? Adoption

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This story originally appeared on NerdWallet

Sarah Bailey began her adoption journey in 2013, when she connected to an agency for adoption and paid for fees to take a parent class as well as to post to prospective birth mothers for one-year.

Bailey started paying $340 per month for an advertising fee in 2014 even though he had not been able to adopt.

Bailey, who is a director of a Indianapolis mental health program, said that “I did not expect” the monthly fee. Bailey was discouraged when the expense continued to year 2 of an expected one-year process.

She says, “There was a point in my life where I nearly gave up.”

Bailey was persistent and paid more than $22,000 for Bailey’s adoption in 2015.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway (a federal service of the Children’s Bureau, the Office of the Administration for Children and Families), the cost of an adoption by a private agency can be anywhere from $20,000 up to $45,000.

Legal fees and a home inspection to ensure safety in your living area can be included in the price. Counseling may also be available.

Adoption can also include unexpected costs, such as living expenses or hospital bills for the mother-to-be. These costs will vary according to the state and agency as well as the timeline.

Experts recommend that families prepare for the unexpected and use multiple financing options, including borrowing or fundraising. These are some strategies you should consider.

Get started with a plan

When you work with an agency for adoption, you will usually receive a cost list before you apply, according to Blake Jones, an adoptive mother, financial planner, and co-founder of Pomegranate Financial in Utah.

He says that you can use this information to make a schedule of expenses over the six- to 18 month period before you sign the adoption application.

Jones advises that you look at your financial resources — home equity, savings and grants — to determine what is available. Then align it with the time you might need it.

Building up your savings is the best option, says Marta Shen, a certified financial planner at Spring Street Financial of Raymond James in Atlanta and an adoptive parent who advises clients on managing adoption costs. She says that paying off a loan in addition to new-parent costs like child care is stressful financially.

For help, ask others

Bailey reached out to the community for help during her adoption.

Photo courtesy Sarah Bailey

She says, “I bought a piece of puzzle to sell so that my children could have it.” The back of each one I bought was personalized with the name and address of “everyone who purchased it.”

Her 6-year-old son now has the puzzle, and it is a memento of everyone who connected them in 2015.

Aaron Johnson is a father to two children adopted from Orlando Florida. He also raised funds for his adoption. Johnson has raised more than $10,000.

Johnson says that he and his family did a GoFundMe through social media. Johnson has since started a non-profit organization to give grants to other Black families to adopt their children.

Request an Adoption Grant

Adoption grants are funds that can be used to finance adoption, but don’t have to be repaid. Helpusadopt.org or the Gift of Adoption Fund provide grants that can be used to pay for adoption expenses.

You’ll have to verify deadlines, eligibility requirements and other details for organizations such as these. After submitting your application, you might need to pay fees, give references, and prove that you have completed a home study.

A HELOC is an option

Home equity credit allows you to access cash that is based on your home’s value. You can draw cash and repay it monthly. Shen says it’s flexible than loans.

Shen states that some people like to have a fixed amount of money they must repay. Others prefer the HELOC’s revolving credit. If parents are not sure how much they’ll need upfront, a HELOC may be a better option.

As a last resort, personal loans are possible

If fundraising falls short, you can’t qualify for a grant or don’t own a home, a personal loan may be worth considering. Rates between 12% to 17% may be available for those with good credit.

Be sure to check your monthly budget before you apply for a loan.
Shen recommends that clients avoid financial obligations which could put strain on the new family.

NerdWallet wrote this article and it was published originally by The Associated Press. __S.53__

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Publiated at Tue 17 August 2021, 01:37.54 +0000

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