We often begin a journey, like adopting a child, and encounter roadblocks, speed bumps, or all-out detours. When you are so close and in the situation, it can be tempting to make a decision that may seem to serve you best in the short term, but you need to keep the outcome in mind.
It’s easy to find yourself tempted to take financial shortcuts. These decisions may seem to serve you best in the short term, but you need to keep in mind what the outcome could be down the road. Your quick decision could come back to bite you. Here are three financial mistakes adoptive couples should avoid when trying to adopt.
Cutting Corners Legally
Sometimes dealing with the legal requirements of adoption situations makes finding an easier alternative seem attractive. Whether coping with birth father rights, required psychological exams or honoring laws regarding birth mother expenses, they may be complicated and slow down the process, all while driving the costs up.
You may feel that no one will ever know you’ve taken a legal shortcut. But’s that not a reasonable justification for falsifying documents or not telling the whole truth. If you feel tempted in this way, you may want to push the pause button on your adoption so you can re-evaluate why you’re adopting. Having the right motivation helps you choose to do the right things even in the most time-consuming moments.
On this topic, one sad story occurred when an adoptive family agreed to have the adoptive father’s name put on the birth certificate to make it easier to adopt the child. Later, when the birth mother changed her mind, she claimed child support because he had signed the document! This one moment of cutting corners resulted in a lifetime of consequences. Honesty is always the best policy. Play by the rules, or you could lose your chance to adopt.
Accepting an Adoption That You Know You Can’t Afford
Adoption costs vary widely, depending on legal requirements, states involved, birth parent expenses, travel, and more. Saying yes to an adoption when you know you can’t afford it isn’t wise.
It will leave you completely tapped out financially, which isn’t a kindness to your new child or your existing family. So it’s okay to be honest with your Adoption Coordinator. You can say something like, “We just can’t afford this,” or ask, “Do you know of any way to keep the costs down on this one?” Your honesty and transparency will inspire people to help you.
Be sure to take a good hard look at your finances before starting the adoption process. Check your savings, investments, and cash. Look at your monthly bills and long-term debt. Do you have huge credit card bills? All these things are indicators of whether you’re really ready to adopt.
Resist the urge to make a quick decision based on fear of not adopting a particular child. Perhaps you need to wait a couple of years until you are in a better place financially. Don’t worry; another child will need a wonderful family like yours. Accepting an adoption when you’re not financially able won’t help anyone.
Hiring the Cheapest Attorney
The legal aspect of adoption may seem expensive and unnecessary. Having an attorney specializing in a specific type of adoption can be vital in some instances.
For example, if you are pursuing an adoption between two different states (an interstate adoption), an attorney who is experienced with the process will save you money and time in the long run. If you are working on a kinship adoption, a family law attorney may suit your needs perfectly.
Do your research to understand which type of lawyer you need for your adoption. Skipping this step or assuming any type of lawyer will work could extend your adoption wait time or completely ruin your chances of adopting a specific child.
So make sure to hire a lawyer for your specific needs, not because they are the cheapest lawyer you could find. Bottom line: Hire for your needs, not your pocketbook.
Adoption Involves Risk
Of course, every adoption has some degree of risk because they deal with matters of emotions. But don’t let your risk occur because you didn’t plan your finances well, hired a cheap lawyer, or cut legal corners.
The good news is that adoptions are still successfully happening each and every day, and you can adopt too. Just do your best to steer clear of these pitfalls on the adoption journey.
Working closely with a licensed adoption agency like Lifetime Adoption protects you from falling prey to financial mistakes. Our experienced adoption professionals will provide you with referrals to attorneys who specialize in domestic adoption. We can also provide you with information on how to finance your adoption in a safe, legal way. Lifetime is here to walk with you every step of your adoption so you won’t end up taking unnecessary risks.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 14, 2014, and has since been updated.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”