Written by: Travis
If you have been reading Melissa's recent posts about the status of our adoption then you know that we are currently in season of learning patience and waiting on God's timing. We have completed our home study and been officially, finally, totally and legally approved for adoption.
Legally we could be matched with a child to adopt tomorrow if the circumstances all lined up. Those words are so crazy for me to even type!
However, we cannot start that process yet because we cannot currently afford to complete the adoption. Part of being matched is being ready to write a big fat check.
As an aside, I just posted an essay on the finances of adopting called Adoption and Finances - How much and why? If you are in the process of adopting or considering adoption I think it gives a nice overview of all of the financial pieces of adoption.
The stage that we are currently in is one we fully expected to be in. We “planned” our adoption process so that it would happen this way. We knew that if we waited until all of the money that we needed was saved, we would be waiting a long time. We also believed that if we waited until everything was perfectly in place, we would be ignoring the calling in our hearts to step out in faith. We decided to put ourselves in a position where we have to trust that God will lay out the path before us each step of the way.
Despite being exactly where we “planned” to be, this part of the journey is requiring a significant amount of patience, commitment and faith. Let's face it, waiting just isn’t much fun. Whenever we as humans, who crave instant gratification, are forced to wait it can be a challenging and uncomfortable growth experience.
Additionally, knowing that there are children being born every day who need adoptive parents and that we can't yet afford to be those parents is painful for us. It is an opportunity for us to trust God and humbly recognize that He had a better plan for each of those little lives than to be raised in our home.
I’m calling the stage that we are currently in “Actively Waiting.” Before we talk about the "Active" part let me unpack the "Waiting" piece a bit more.
So, what exactly are we waiting for? Well to be specific...
Typing that number feels huge and heavy. At the same time, it’s exciting because God's faithfulness and love for Melissa and I has been so clear in every step of this journey so far. We are 100% confident that when it is our time to adopt the money will be there one way or another.
We are currently watching some dear family friends adopt two beautiful babies from China. When they started the process they didn’t have any of the funding in place. They have walked faithfully each step of the way and God provided financially for them in a big way. As I type these words, they are in China completing the adoptions!
Joe, the husband, shared their adoption story (immediately before they left for China) in a recent sermon called "Don't Forget Who's in Your Boat?". You should check it out. It's so good.
Joe and Sami's story has been a tremendous encouragement to Melissa and I. It has helped us keep our hearts and eyes pointed in the right direction towards our loving heavenly Father who cares for us. Their story has helped us avoid getting distracted by the $25k standing "in our way."
So where does that big ole' $25k number come from anyways?
Our current estimate for the total cost of our adoption is looking to be in the $30k-$35k range. Of that $30k-$35k, we have already spent about $10,000 out of pocket for a combination of upfront adoption expenses and some other related expenses preparing our apartment for the adoption.
Additionally, in addition to cost of the adoption there are a number of expenses we are going to have to pay in order to accommodate our expanding family. Things like a vehicle that can fit three car seats, an additional crib, another car seat and some other child care equipment.
In the Spring, I made a career move that really opened the door for us because it became financially viable to start the adoption process. My new position has allowed us to stock away a decent little chunk of money. However, this saved money is going to be about the amount that we need to have available for the indirectly related expenses of vehicle, car seat, crib, etc...
So that's where our $25k number comes from.
$35k for adoption expenses
- $10k we’ve already invested
+ The money we have saved
- The cost of other necessary expenses
= $25k left in order to fund the rest of the adoption process
Before I share what we are "actively" doing to address that $25k blocker, let me share a little of my heart with you. As I've already said, the financial piece of the adoption has been one of the biggest challenges for me personally. The thought of opening up and being vulnerable about that part of the journey has also been a struggle in of itself for me.
If you know me personally, you know that I’m an analytical “numbers guy.” I (gladly) take the role of not only working to provide food and shelter for my family but also for managing those finances. Melissa is an awesome partner in making wise financial decisions but she’s also happy to let me geek out (or stress out) over the spreadsheets and budgeting software.
I think that from the outside looking in, investing $35k into an adoption at this stage of our lives probably “looks” like a ridiculous financial decision. At times it feels crazy to my analytical and strategically planning brain. I catch myself thinking about all of the ways that $35k could be used to improve the “quality of life” or “financial peace” of the four of us that currently reside in this household. When I catch myself in those moments, my heart breaks over my own selfish ambition and the fact that I so easily see that money as “mine.” I view it as my hard earned income to be used as I please rather than as the resource and tool that God has entrusted me with in order to do His work according to His will.
For a little more background, just before we began this adoption journey, we paid off some credit card debt that we had accrued following our move to Los Angeles. There were a number of factors that contributed to us going into debt which included vastly underestimating the cost of living in Los Angeles, deciding to keep Melissa at home full time and unexpected medical bills.
I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey’s outlook on personal finance, and, like Dave, I HATE debt with a passion. Every month that I have had to balance our budget and have seen an outstanding credit card balance has left me feeling kicked in the gut and personally disappointed that I wasn’t achieving what I knew was financially best for my family.
I’m so excited and relieved to share that in February of this year that cycle ended when we paid off all our debt! Things were looking financially solid for our family for the first time in a while. Then a month later it became clear to both Melissa and I that we were being called to adoption.
As soon as that I happened I had to start the process of daily surrendering our finances to God and trusting that each step of this journey is going to be guided by Him. I simply don't know how to navigate this “crazy” path on my own.
One area that you can pray for me personally is that I would continue to grow in my understanding that every penny in my bank account is God’s to do as he sees fit with and not my own. Please pray that I would continue to grow in my conviction that there is no greater way to use the money that God has entrusted us with than to use it as a tool to care for God’s children. This is a growing conviction in my heart. I'm starting to get a strong vision that a large percentage of the money I gain stewardship over during the course of my lifetime will be used in order to “unorphan” children. Please pray that I harbor rather than stifle that conviction if it is truly part of God’s desire for my days here on earth.
I hope that it is in some way encouraging for you to see and hear what God is doing in my personal spiritual life through this adoption.
Now let's talk about what are we “actively” doing about that $25k hurdle.
We are doing a few things.
- We are constantly praying. We can work our butts off in order to save $25k, and if that’s how God wants to provide for us, we are excited to be used in that way. We know that this journey has to be bigger than us and we don't want to make it about what we can accomplish in our own strength. Our prayer is that the $25k would come in God's timing by His means. We need to be willing to put in the work and take the steps of faith required to allow that to happen and it starts with an active life of prayer.
- We are working. We are big believers in the fact that God equips us to accomplish what he intends for us. Sometimes that means he literally gives us gifting and skills to accomplish what he wants. Sometimes that means he calls us to step into something we specifically are not gifted in so that he can show up and do His work in spite of us. We believe that as believers we should all be continually stepping outside of what is obvious and comfortable for us into what God calls us to. Part of what that means right now is that I am pursuing freelance web development work on nights and weekends in order to save some extra money. Melissa also has a number of money generating ideas we are prayerfully considering. Neither of us likes spending less time playing with the two beautiful children we have at home now but we do believe that re-balancing some of our time at home in order to generate more money for the adoption is a part of what we are being called to right now.
- We are saving. We have been working to conserve more of our financial resources since November of last year, and continue to make lifestyle decisions that allow us to set aside more of what we earn towards the adoption. This has already been a fairly effective strategy for us, and we will continue pursue it.
- We are looking for help from organizations that help fund adoptions. There are many different grants, interest free loans and tax credits available to adoptive families. While I have a very strong personal conviction not to go into debt in order to fund this adoption, we are leaving no stone unturned in prayerfully seeking any practical way God might want to provide for this adoption.
With those four strategies in place, we know that eventually we will have our $25k. However, the amount of time that it will take could be significantly longer than our hearts desire. Our hearts are “ready” to adopt now and would be thrilled if God provided a way for that to happen sooner rather than later.
For that reason there is a 5th action that we are taking.
5. We are opening ourselves up to accepting help from those in our lives who might be called to come alongside us in this journey.
Making the decision to “raise funds” in this way has been difficult. I’m admittedly a prideful person when it comes to being self-sufficient. Asking for financial help has always been something I've tried to avoid. It feels like opening my family up to judgement. It feels like asking for what is not mine. It feels like saying “God’s plan for my family is more important than the millions of other worthy causes that need your money as well.”
However, after a lot of soul searching, prayer and long conversations we have come to grips with the fact that whether or not we raise a penny, we need to open ourselves up to fund raising simply in order to be obedient and humble in this process. We believe that surrendering the finances of this adoption to God and being vulnerable with our friends, family and spiritual community is an important part of the spiritual journey for Melissa and I. Even if it doesn't end up being the path that God uses to provide the funding for this adoption, it is the path that God is using to break down our self-reliance and to teach us how to be willing to say "We need help."
The only expectation that we have is this: we know that God is in this adoption and that one way or another He will provide a way for us to adopt if that is His plan for us. We expect nothing from you, our dear friends, family and community, except for the spiritual support, encouragement and prayer that we should all expect of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
If our journey speaks to your heart and you want to support us financially, we praise God for working through you in funding this adoption. On the other hand, if your financial resources are going other places and instead you offer us spiritual support, encouragement and prayer, we are equally excited to have you on this journey with us, and we praise God for working through you in this adoption.
The way we have decided to open ourselves up to accepting financial help is through the AdoptTogether.org adoption crowd-funding website. AdoptTogether.org is a really cool tool and ministry that one of the pastors of a church out here in Los Angeles started. You can follow our adoption funding process on our AdoptTogether profile. All donations made through our profile page are tax deductible.
If and when we secure other sources of funding for our adoption, we will keep our page updated with those details.
We want to thank each of you who are walking this journey with us. We appreciate all of the "How is the adoption going?" questions, the prayers, and the sincere displays of care for our hearts and our family. We are so blessed to be surrounded by a community of people who care deeply for the orphans of this world and see the same beauty, truth and redemption in adoption that we do.