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During National Adoption Awareness Month, I will introduce you to numerous guest bloggers, highlighting many parts of the adoption journey. Today’s blog is from adoptive mama and  Accredited Financial Counselor, Laura Coleman. We were able to connect with Laura a while back through Instagram, and she was even a speaker at our virtual Adoption Family Symposium! Laura is a money guru, especially when it comes to financing adoption. Her online courses offered through Family Money Coaching and Facebook group, Paying for Adoption, support hopeful adoptive families in preparing financially for the adoption process. Laura’s hope to help others so they can avoid some of the heartache and frustration that she experienced when adopting.

By Laura Coleman

Finding Out About Infertility

My husband and I  got married in April of 2011 and our hopes were to have a honeymoon baby. The months went by and nothing. I was frustrated. I went to the doctor. Nothing. I went to the doctor again. Still nothing. Finally the doctor suggested that we test my husband for infertility. He was extremely reluctant to go in to be tested—I remember pleading with him to just go in and find out. 

After a few weeks, we drove a sample to the lab to be tested. A few days later, the doctor called and had us come in to talk to us about the results. We couldn’t get pregnant without fertility. She referred us to a fertility doctor and we scheduled an appointment. The disappointment was so great. 

The negative emotions took over and I cancelled the appointment. I blamed my husband for being the reason that my dreams of having 3 kids before I was 40 was not going to happen. Our relationship began to suffer.

Here’s what I wished I’d known then that I know now:

1. Don’t blame the person that is the cause for the infertility. No good comes from it. 

2. Don’t lose hope.

3. Give yourself time to heal before delving into solutions.

4. Seek God’s help in healing your heart and your relationship.

5. Set up an account and start putting money into it because your journey to have kids is going to be more expensive than other peoples. It’s just reality so don’t get bitter about it. 

I began working full time and my entire paycheck went into the Coleman Baby Account 2013. As it grew, my hope began to be restored. We rescheduled the appointment with the fertility doctor and he was magnificent. Dr. Murray explained why we were infertile, showed us how the procedure was performed, gave great detail about the process, and truly eased our concerns. We began to understand how fertility worked and all that was left was raising the funds necessary for IVF (in vitro fertilization). 

Here’s what I wished I’d known then about funding that I know now:

1. Savings. Do whatever it takes to build up that baby savings account. Having a dedicated savings account for your goal will help you gain focus. As it grows, your hope and excitement will fuel you to put more money in there. Lumping your baby savings with your emergency fund will cause anxiety because you won’t want to fix the car or make a necessary repair because that money is taking away from your dream of having a baby.

My husband and I both worked full time. We lived off his income and saved mine. We were extremely frugal during that time frame because we were focused on our goal. If we got a tax return, into the savings account. Bonus money, into the savings account. We sold a collector’s train set on Craigslist and that money went into the baby savings account

2. Income sources. Create multiple sources of income for yourself through fundraisers, grants, savings, garage sales, T-shirt sales, and a side business. Download my free guide to Prepare Financially for Adoption…it provides a list of ideas on how to make money. 

Nothing says disappointment like spending $20,000 and literally watching it go down the drain. I’m a Saver Personality by nature and spending money is extremely painful for me. So when we got pregnant after spending all of that money, I was super excited. At 8 weeks, after we heard the heartbeat, I had a miscarriage. I was devastated. My hopes, dreams,  hard earned money, and time were all for nothing. 

Money is so hard to talk about for some people especially if you have a strained relationship with it. I mention your money personality because I often see decisions made to adopt or not to adopt or to do fertility or not to do it based solely on your reaction towards money. If you believe that $30,000 is insurmountable and unattainable, then you won’t pursue adoption and suddenly you are angry and bitter about your situation. If you remove your money blocks, then you are able to see the money is attainable, you just have to focus on attracting it. 

Sometimes I wonder if we took the money factor away, would the disappointment and hopelessness disappear?

Moving Towards Adoption 

I WANTED to have babies, three to be exact. In fact, I had written a short story for a friend’s book about my Plan B. In my bio, I mentioned that I wanted 3 kids, one at a time. Oh the irony when we got two at once. It was almost like God saying, “Don’t tell me what you are going to do.” 

We sat down and formulated a plan of how we were going to obtain the money to do another round of IVF. In the course of 10 months we made $40,000 so I went on a medical leave in August of 2013 while I completed the treatment. 

While I was on leave, we were made aware of a cute, 14-month old little girl that we knew from church who needed to be babysat for an extended period of time. Since I was off from work, we welcomed her into our home. 

At the end of the month, I was supposed to return to work. I felt so torn, the IVF hadn’t worked, we were watching this little girl, and I was offered an opportunity to work in Georgia for the military as a financial counselor. I was at a crossroads and didn’t know what to do. 

I asked for a blessing from our Bishop. Almost immediately after the prayer, I knew exactly what needed to happen. I didn’t know the outcome, nor did I know what our future would look like, but I felt peace. This was the first time I had felt peace in a very long time. I quit my great paying job, didn’t take the even better paying job, and stayed at home to take care of this little girl. A year later we had adopted her and we have an open relationship with the grandparents. 

Sometimes we make decisions not because of logic, but because of emotion. Most people would look at my situation and say, you had no promise that you would do more than watch that little girl, why would you quit a great paying job that provided you the income to do IVF? A feeling. 

I can’t describe it to you if you’ve never felt it. It’s this feeling of peace, confidence, faith, and knowledge that you are on the path you are supposed to be on. 

Being on an infertility journey or adoption journey is emotional, it’s not logical. We have this drive to have children and when it’s unfulfilled, we lose our sense of purpose. I am here to tell you that you can regain that sense of purpose when you get your financial life in order.

 

Here’s what I wished I’d known then that I know now: 

  1. Don’t become defeated when you hear how expensive adoption or IVF is, there are options. You can check out my blog and podcast The Adoption and Fertility Finance Show for more on your options.
  2. Allow yourself time to mourn the loss of “what could have been,” then get back up and face the world.
  3. Make a plan TOGETHER—weekly Money Dates will be vital during this time period. Visualize your goal and revisit your progress weekly during these dates.
  4. Don’t lose hope, which can be easy to do when you see the insurmountable price tag on adoption or fertility treatments. Join an encouraging community of others on the same journey for hope.
  5. Focus on what you need to accomplish by setting goals and don’t look back.
  6. Be relentless in the pursuit to find the money and create multiple sources of income. 
  7. Setbacks happen. Deal with it and then move on. Don’t dwell on the negative.
  8. Utilize tax savings, credits, and benefits.

Move past money and fast forwarding a few years to September 24th, 2015. A day I will never forget…I was picking up my daughter from preschool. School pictures had arrived and I was getting ready to pay for them when suddenly my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the call, but I answered it anyway. 

“There was a baby boy born this morning and he and his 2 year old brother need a home, will you take them?” I answered, “yes,” immediately. 

She said, “Don’t you need to talk to your husband?” Thankfully we had already talked about this scenario, so I knew he’d be ok with it. 

Fifteen months later, 5 days before my 40th birthday, we finalized their adoption. My heart was complete. We were a family. If you’d said to me on my wedding day that I would get what I wanted, but not in the way I thought I’d get it, I don’t know if I’d believed you. We went through a lot of heartache, but now almost 10 years later, I wouldn’t trade this journey. Our family was blessed by adoption three times over.


Laura Coleman, AFC® is a Financial Coach that helps couples prepare financially for adoption or fertility. You can learn more at www.familymoneycoaching.org.