From the time my husband and I were dating, we were always open to the idea of adoption as a way to expand our family. The years passed and we had three biological children. My husband was relatively early in his career doing a job he loved and we were “livin’ the dream” as we often said to each other as our greeting. We were debt-free, except for our mortgage, and working diligently toward our long-term financial goals. And, we had just sold our old favorite Subaru Outback and paid cash for a much newer (but still used) and much nicer Acura SUV.
Then the subject came out of the woodwork: Adoption. I’ll spare you the details of our weeks, more like months, of conversations on the subject prior to us deciding to take the plunge and pursue this as a family. It was an exciting time, but also one heavy with planning and logistics. In the end, we decided to pursue international adoption, which was definitely not the least expensive option.
At around 10 years of marriage at that point, we knew each other well and were usually hovering around the same page when it came to finance. Together, we had learned to budget, plan, save, and act with prudence. On this subject, however, my attitude was a little different. More like, “Well, I’m not too worried about it. I mean, God has called us to this. I’m sure He will provide…” This is true, but what I was really thinking was, “This is way too exciting of a venture to make money and logistics much of a priority.” This type of thinking is definitely not wise. In fact, when we find ourselves in a position where emotions can run high, a plan is probably more necessary at that point than ever.
My husband was right in pushing for us to come up with a concrete plan to pay for this process of adding a son or daughter to our family. Before beginning work with our agency, we reviewed their fee schedule. It would be expensive, but those fees would be stretched out over the entire timeframe of the adoption.
The initial balance due, however, was several thousand dollars. To be honest, there were a few possible places for our family to draw the money, but my husband had an unconventional idea. He suggested, maybe we could sell the vehicle we had just purchased a few months ago to pay for the initial adoption expenses.
What?! Surely, we don’t need to do that, I argued.
He asked me to pray about it. He agreed that we didn’t need to, but that maybe it would be good for us to do it. He admitted, he would be just as happy with an older, vehicle that was nice and had a few more miles on it than his current commuter.
Finally, we told God we were willing to sell this car. We communicated our desire to live with open hands. But, we also decided that there was no need to make ourselves crazy trying to make a transaction work if it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere.
Well, you guessed it. We sold it. Actually traded it in at a local dealer for a super cool sport wagon. It was hands down the best car-buying experience we have ever had and one where we walked away with a car and a check in our hands! Not too bad.
The point is, that you don’t always have to manage your family’s finances in conventional ways. In fact, living debt free and telling your money where to go through a written budget in our society is, unfortunately, pretty unconventional. The way your family handles your finances should line up with your values and priorities.
Now, I am happy to report we have a lively toddler living in our home who took his first drive in America in a carseat in that sport wagon.