Kids and Money…we don’t like that combination, and let’s face it, no one wants to talk about the fact that adoption is expensive. Costs range from $25,000 - $50,000 or more, depending on if you’re pursuing a domestic or intercountry adoption.
Most don’t realize that there are so many aspects to the adoption process. The number of local and national organizations and most importantly all of the dedicated professionals that make it all happen.
Money Is the Biggest Barrier to a Family Choosing Adoption
Unfortunately, studies show that money is one of the biggest barriers when a family is choosing adoption. Some families just opt out, thinking there are few resources or it’s just not for them.
From the adoption professional’s perspective, many still struggle with this topic and how to address the money issue with prospective adoptive parents. Most agencies do not have the capacity to bring on a full-time or even part-time person to manage this role within their agency. But it’s important to understand that addressing the financial path of the adoption journey is key to any family considering building their family in this wonderful way.
With that in mind, we’ve created some best practices for adoption professionals – a handy DO’s and DON’Ts List - that will assist you and your team when talking to PAP’s about money!
1) DON’T Ignore the Topic – it’s easy to do! Families are frankly afraid to bring this up so it either comes out right away or they avoid the topic. There should be a checklist of “TO DO’s” during any PAP meeting and finances should be on this list!
Some agencies ask the family to complete a form. This is a good idea, but still avoids the perhaps difficult task of actually addressing the issue of money.
Families have concerns, they may feel embarrassed about their past – medically or financially. Best to bring it up and start the conversation.
2) DON’T Bulldoze in – on the other hand, sensitivity is key here. While it’s important to abide by DON’T #1, rushing in too soon, not listening for concerns or acting like it is no big deal, “they can get grants to cover it…” can set the family up for unrealistic expectations..
3) DON’T Mail them a Packet of Information. While we really got into the spirit of this during the pandemic, it’s better to have a staff member personally reach out via phone - or our favorite, ZOOM - to clarify the financial responsibilities of the adoption process.
Mailing an impersonal packet of information will likely not get the message across that the finances, along with all other aspects of the adoption process, are important.
4) DON’T think “This isn’t MY problem.” “We do the adoption, let them figure out the money.” Believe it or not, we’ve actually had adoption professionals tell us this!
We’re here to tell you that is most definitely YOUR problem. And if YOU don’t do it, someone else will!
Prospective Adoptive Parents are shopping, and they are looking for full-service agencies that support them in all aspects of the adoption journey.
5) DON’T Give them a List of Foundations. Again, the importance of this gets completely missed when it’s presented as just another list, just another piece of paper that they have to read. They are ‘overwhelmed,’ by the paperwork, politics, and finances of the whole thing!
The truth is that even considering grants at this early stage of the adoption process gets completely lost on PAPs. They should not even be considering grants until the home study, budget and story are done.
Now for the DO List for talking finances with Prospective Adoptive Parents.
This is not an exhaustive list. We hope that by reading it you’ll come up with several more on your own!
1) DO Train Your Team – There is a lot of misinformation out there and we’ve heard it all! “The tax credit will pay you back for all your adoption expenses.” This is just not true!
“You can get grants to pay for your adoption in full.” Also, not true!
It’s critical to train your team to know the facts and present the correct information to PAP’s. We recommend an outline that is followed by the team members trained to do the presentations with PAPs.
Before a team member can do a presentation on their own, they need to be audited by a member of the team that knows the information.
2) DO Understand Money Cultures – What is a ‘money culture?’ It’s defined as the social rules about money in American Culture.
Money cultures can be handed down from parents to their kids creating an unhealthy cycle of money habits. Some examples are “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, “ or “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Understanding that we ALL have these and how they influence how we approach certain life challenges is crucial: such as getting married, buying a house and yep – building your family.
The key is to “listen” for the culture and understand it as you work with various families to better understand their approach to money and what expectations they may or may not have about grants, fundraising, loans, etc.
3) DO Innovate – Find ways to differentiate your services. This could mean a partnership with a local financial planner or bank. Find ways to address the finances that are creative.
It could also mean partnering with Your Adoption Finance Coach (YAFC)! YAFC is a very affordable way to offer financial services from a team that has been there and experienced adoption first-hand.
For as little as $75 per family, we can help PAPs with budgeting, loans, grants and fundraising. Check out our partnering agencies.
4) DO Align the Financial Path with the Adoption Path – Some agencies will just give a laundry list of expenses with little information about when the expenses occur. Others will give a wide range of the cost of items (such as $10,000 - $20,000).
We recognize that it’s very difficult to nail down some expenses; however, taking the time to give as many details as possible, along with timing, is a critical aspect of managing the process.
5) DO Listen and Lead – Families can be afraid. Many are afraid that you will tell them they cannot adopt, or afraid that you will tell them they cannot afford adoption, or afraid that they won’t ever find a child that matches their needs.
There are many families seeking to build their family through adoption who have also been through a lot of pain and spent a lot of money – sometimes all the money they have.
Listening to their financial concerns and guiding them through the process will give them confidence and help them finish the goal and bring their family together forever.
Add Experienced Financial Coaching to Your Adoption Services
Your Adoption Finance Coach has served over 6,000 families across the country and has partnered with over 100 adoption agencies and attorneys. Families that utilize our innovative system raise between $10,000 - $25,000, depending on their circumstances.
Our goal when we work with a family is that they will reach their full financial commitment to finalize their adoption – whether it is via a loan, fundraising, grants, tax credit or all of the above!
Everyone who works at YAFC have all been touched by the adoption triad and passionate about helping families through adoption. For more information, or to schedule a free demo of our services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 816.268.5500.