So you have already faced months of infertility, maybe even years. You feel exhausted, and the thought of financing another dollar to help create your family seems extremely overwhelming. Believe me, I feel you, and I’ve been there! My husband and I felt the exact same way when we finally made the decision to adopt. That’s why I wanted to share a few tips on how you can get started saving for adoption. But first, let me give you a little bit of our back story.

We adopted our sweet baby boy Duke nine months ago. We were even lucky enough to be in the room when he was born. It was more than amazing; it was unbelievable! We are now navigating open adoption, but our journey through infertility and the adoption world hasn’t always been so peachy.

We started trying to conceive about four years ago. Throughout those four years, we would go a handful of months of trying, then decide that maybe it wasn’t the right time, so we would take a break for a few months. We did that for way too long! We should have consistently tried for an entire year, but that’s what we felt was right at the time. I just remember everyone saying, “Don’t worry it will happen,” which as you know, is not always the case. Three years, and 36 cycles later, and I still wasn’t pregnant. If you’re reading this, I’m sure this sounds all too familiar to you. And again I say, I feel you. Infertility is hard.

We later found out that my husband has male factor infertility, and having children with our genetics wasn’t an option anymore. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time, it felt so good to have an explanation for the negative results of the past three years. It was finally some news we could do something with!

Moving forward, we knew we only had a few options when it came to growing our family, so we hopped on every opportunity we could. We doubled up getting everything ready to adopt. At the same time, we started trying IUI with donor sperm. Both options came with their own set of challenges emotionally, mentally, and financially.

That being the case, I thought it would be beneficial to show you how we financed and budgeted for adoption. That way you can set some realistic goals that feel feasible for your family!

Before I dive in, It’s important to remember that these numbers are based on our experience with a private adoption. These numbers will differ from adoption to adoption, and these numbers are not based on agency pricing. So without further ado, here are my tips for how to save for a private adoption:

Establish the $ goal.

Most private adoptions cost between $5k and $20k (sometimes more). I would plan on spending an amount that lands somewhere in middle, so between $10k and $12k. Remember, not all of this is going to be due at the same time, so take a breath. It’s going to be okay, I promise!

Make a budget.

Here is where things get personal. If you already have money saved up, amazing! If not, let’s plan! Private adoption can take up to a year or two or could happen way more quickly than that. Crazy, right? For financial purposes, I would plan on 6-12 months. Again, you could receive a call tomorrow, so the more you can save, the more prepared you will be for that possibility!

Once you decide on a budget, decide on an amount you can feasibly save each month, for example, $2k per month for 6 months or $1k per month for 12 months. When you decide on a number, break that down even further (i.e. $1k per month would mean saving $250 per week). Make it a priority and most importantly, just start somewhere. It’s all about consistency, so make it easy for yourself. Transfer money weekly, when your check comes in, or monthly. Set up a spreadsheet if necessary. (Chase autosave is my new favorite thing! You can set up goals with an end date and the amount you are wanting to save, and it does it automatically for you!).

Tighten your purse strings.

If you don’t have spare cash, go through your finances and see where you can tighten it up. Unused subscriptions, memberships, your $5 per day Starbucks drink, and eating out are all good places to start. Sell things you don’t use. Reign it in, and save it up! I’m not saying don’t spend anything, just be aware of how much you are spending and decide what you can go without.

Use your credit card to your advantage.

If you feel comfortable using a credit card, do it! There are many institutions that offer great cashback programs (especially in the first year) if you spend over a certain amount. We figured we might as well get something back in return if we were going to spend the money anyway. That being said, I would not recommend using your credit card to finance an adoption if you’re not immediately planning on paying it off. Make sure you also pay attention to interest rates so you don’t end up paying more than you have to in the long run. Again, remember that the total amount won’t be due all at once. Start small and work up from there.

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Here is a little breakdown of the expenses you will encounter:

  • Homestudy - $700-$2,000+
  • Attorney - $4,000-$4,500
  • Expectant mom living expenses - $1,000-$2,000+ (monthly)
  • Travel expenses $1,000+
  • Food expenses if you bring expectant mom with you to dinner $250+ (optional).
  • Medical labor and delivery with insurance - $4,500+

Of course, every adoption is different and these prices will vary. I would always plan on the higher side of things if possible, and then save the rest for when the baby (hopefully) comes home!

If you are reading this and it seems overwhelming, that’s okay. I have experienced a slice of what you are going through. I am sure you feel taxed and don’t even know where to begin, but I want you to remember that it is more about consistency than it is about stashing away huge amounts of money occasionally. Knowing what adoption is going to cost from the start is so important. Transparency will give you the power you need to get started with saving. Most importantly, I want you to know that you’re not alone. You’ve got this!

Sacia Atkinson is an adoptive mom who shares her open adoption journey to her son Duke on Instagram at @theatkinsonjourney.