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My journey towards having a family will look different than yours and that’s OK. One thing I’ve learned is that we have similar desires, but our path will take us different ways to get there. One of the greatest obstacles that I’ve seen with couples is that money causes hopelessness during the adoption and fertility journey. I’d love for you to follow The Adoption and Fertility Finance Show and check out our courses to help you prepare financially for adoption and fertility.
My Fertility Story
I didn’t plan on adopting. It was never part of the “when I grow up, I want to adopt” plan. Instead, I imagined that I would be 25 years old, married, with 2 kids and we’d grow into 6 kids. I was going to be a stay-at-home mom that gardened, canned, and sewed clothes. The reality of my situation was that I didn’t find my Prince Charming until I was 33, married 7 months later at age 34, struggled with fertility for 2 years until we adopted 3 kids, and now I’m a working financial counselor/mom. There’s more to this story, I’ll get into that later, but sufficed to say, my life didn’t happen like I planned it. Looking back, I realize it happened EXACTLY how it should have. Things happened that led to other things to happen, which led to the opportunities to welcome 3 children into our home. I’ve often wondered, why THIS journey?
As a financial counselor, I’ve met so many couples that have mentioned to me that they want to have children. When they’ve discovered that I too have experienced fertility issues, we become close friends. I share what I’ve learned and a sense of relief washes over their faces. I realized that I needed to provide a guide to my clients to help them not make the same financial struggles we had while also dealing with the emotional aspects of dashed dreams.
If you are reading this because you are struggling with infertility, I want you to know that you are not alone. There is a community out there that wants to connect with you, inspire you, mourn with you, and help you on your journey.
This blog will focus on how to prepare financially, the different options to bring children into your home, and how to strengthen your marriage during the different stages. I made many mistakes along our path and I hope to help others, so they can avoid some of the heartache and frustration that we experienced.
Finding Out About Infertility
We 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 she suggested that we test my husband. 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 scheduled us an appointment. The disappointment was so great. Before the appointment, I canceled because of the negative emotions that I was feeling. I blamed my husband for being the reason for my dreams of having 3 kids before I was 40 not being able to happen. Our relationship began to suffer because of my negativity.
Here’s what I wished I’d known then that I know now.
- Don’t blame the person that is the cause for the infertility. No good comes from it.
- Don’t lose hope.
- Give yourself time to heal before delving into solutions.
- Seek God’s help in healing your heart and your relationship.
- Set up an account and start putting money into it because your journey to get kids is going to be more expensive than other people. It’s just reality, so don’t get bitter about it.
I began working full time and my entire paycheck went into the baby account*. As it grew, my hope began to be restored. We rescheduled the appointment with the fertility doctor. 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 now understood how fertility worked and now we needed to get the money to perform IVF (invitro fertilization)
*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. So, take the plunge and open up a dedicated savings for your baby account.
This is the part that so many of my clients are at a loss. A full IVF procedure will cost $17,000-$20,000 for the entire process including medication. For a young couple, this is a tremendous financial burden.
Advice From Someone That Knows
Savings- Do whatever it takes to build up that baby savings account. 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. We utilized our HSA to it’s fullest. (You can read about that on the HSA Store.)
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, my dreams, my hard earned money, the time I had spent earning the money was all gone. For what?!
During the time of my miscarriage, I became sullen, emotional, angry, bitter, and I withdrew from people. My normal social self couldn’t bear to be around people, especially happy people with babies. I let myself “suck my thumb” for a month, then I picked myself back up and went on. I had to for my sanity and for the sake of my husband and daughter. (I’ll talk about her adoption story a little bit later.)
Stay tuned for more insight into preparing financially for adoption and fertility on our podcast. I’d love to hear your stories, successes and failures. Let’s celebrate and mourn together. We don’t have to experience this alone. I’ve been there, so let me help you reach your goals.
“I believe one of the biggest struggles families can face is financial struggles and the last thing you want or need is to tie your roller coaster emotions that adoption can bring to poor financial decisions. Preparing financially for Adoption is a resource I wish we had available to us when we adopted! What a gift it would have been to have the structure and accountability to keep us on the same page and communicating before, during and after our adoption process.
The spreadsheets provided are gold for staying organized which can relieve a lot of stress. There are also guides for date nights and talking about the $ that I find valuable even now! Money is something that is easy to let one person handle or to choose to not talk about and it’s so vital to stay connected on this topic especially when you are making big life decisions for your family such as adopting.
Because Laura is a Money Coach and an adoptive mom you can trust she is giving you sound and valuable information.
There are so many things that are required to invest in to prepare for adoption, in my opinion this course should be one of them!”
— KelliKelli regarding The Preparing Financially for Adoption Course