The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every area of modern life. We have no precedent for this level of disruption. And while that can cause difficulties to all kinds of people in any number of situations, it can be especially distressing for hopeful parents pursuing adoption.
Whether you are in the middle of your adoption journey or still preparing to get started, this once-in-a-generation pandemic has undoubtedly thrown a wrench in your plans. It has changed cornerstones of the adoption process, like pre-placement visits and the hospital stay for placement. For many hopeful parents, it has hit one area especially hard: adoption savings.
What should you do if COVID-19 has hurt your adoption savings, whether through job loss, stock market declines or other means? Everyone’s adoption journey is unique, and your financial situation will require a response tailored specifically to your losses and your adoption budget.
With that said, we hope that this article can serve as a guide to those of you scrambling for ways to get back on your feet. Even if COVID-19 has negatively impacted your adoption savings, your dream of becoming a parent is still very much alive.
You knew this journey would never be easy. And yes — it’s fair to say that no one could’ve imagined it would be this hard. But, there are ways to pick up the pieces and carry on.
Rebuilding Your Savings Before Adoption
Are you still preparing to begin your adoption journey? If so, you are likely already familiar with the average cost of adoption, and you’ve probably been hard at work for quite some time preparing for those costs. For your savings or income to be hit by an unexpected and unprecedented global pandemic seems like the cruelest twist of fate.
It can be devastating, and that’s important to acknowledge. While rebuilding savings is a financial and logistical problem, this event has an emotional element, too. Take the time you need to grieve, to work through fear or anxiety, and to come back to a place where you feel hopeful about your adoption journey.
The silver lining is that, if you have yet to begin your adoption process, you can take the time you need to rebuild savings or find a new source of income.
Here are three practical ways to approach saving for the adoption process after your financial situation has been negatively impacted by COVID-19:
1. Press Pause
Responding to a financial setback can take most of your time and energy. The adoption process can also take most of your time and energy. Although you may want to press through both at the same time, you could find yourself burned out and unprepared.
It’s okay to press pause on your pursuit of adoption. This may mean starting the process months or even a year later than you hoped, and that is disappointing. But, you’ll thank yourself for the patience when you are in an improved financial situation. Pushing ahead when your finances are in flux could result in a difficult situation, like being presented with an opportunity that is no longer in your budget.
2. Consider Adoption Grants
Have you looked for ways to fund your adoption outside of your own savings? There are adoption loans, which can be helpful, but ultimately have to be paid back. There are also adoption grants, which are one-time gifts with no expectation of repayment. If your source of income is steady but your savings took a hit, have you looked into the many available adoption grants for hopeful parents?
3. Move Savings Away From Investment Accounts
Many families choose to keep adoption savings stories in a mutual fund or other type of investment account. In the past decade, this choice has largely paid off. Your money can be working for you while you’re also adding to the total through your own efforts. However, this isn’t a great idea for anyone seeking the most security right now.
Markets are volatile as news of the virus continues to shift. For a fund as important as your adoption savings, consider a traditional savings account as your rebuild. You won’t see as many gains as a mutual fund, but you also eliminate the risk of another big loss.
Rebuilding Your Savings During Adoption
We always say that every adoption process is unique, but what you are going through is truly unheard of. Experiencing the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 in the middle of the adoption process has to be one of the most difficult things any of our adoption specialists have come across in more than 25 years of service.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the gravity of the situation. Feeling overwhelmed or in despair? Those are fair and normal responses to something like this, and we are here for you. Call your adoption specialist to talk about these feelings. We can get through this together.
Now, on to the matter at hand: Your adoption budget after COVID-19. Did you lose savings or income due to the pandemic? If so, you’re probably wondering how you can carry on with your adoption process and continue to fulfill the financial obligations that entails.
Adoption budgets are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the best thing to do is work with your specialist to create a plan for your specific situation.
For more general and practical ways to begin moving forward, consider these three things:
1. Look Into Relief Programs in Your State
Have you lost a source of income due to COVID-19?
Some states have created new relief programs for residents who have suffered financially because of COVID-19. NPR has created this helpful interactive tool to search for financial relief in your state.
2. Consider Adoption Loans and Grants
Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations and other grant-giving entities are open to new ways to help people affected by COVID-19. There may be new opportunities for adoption grants that you weren’t able to apply for before you began the process. Circle back around to grant organizations to see if there is any financial relief for you there.
3. Take Your Time
Stepping away from an active adoption process isn’t easy, but it may be best. Here’s what we want you to know: It’s okay to pause your process. Our specialists will work with you to complete your adoption on your timeline. Even before COVID-19, we had protocols in place for hopeful parents to step back from the process for a variety of reasons. If you need to take a break and focus on finances, you can become a temporary inactive family with no penalty. This means that your profile will not be shown to prospective birth mothers, but you can restart your process whenever you are ready.
You may need to update your home study or other elements of your adoption if you step away for a long period of time. This is also something that our specialists have experience with and can guide you through. It’s better to take a needed break than to push forward when the timing isn’t really right.
Your Dream Is Still Possible
Beyond listing the practical guidelines for rebuilding adoption savings, we also want you to know that your dream is still possible. You deserve to experience the joys of parenthood. COVID-19 has disrupted your plans, but it hasn’t put an end to your hopes.
Our team is committed to providing the best services possible to hopeful parents. We’re here for you. We believe in the beauty of family, and we’re going to keep working hard to make sure you have the opportunity to see your dreams fulfilled.
Have questions about adoption in light of COVID-19? Let’s talk. Call your specialist at any time or, if you are still considering the adoption process, contact us today at 1-800-ADOPTION or request more free information online.