Julie Gumm to Present Debt-Free Adoption at Conference


When potential adoptive parents hear the cost for private or international adoption they generally do one of two things: decide they could never afford it and give up entirely, or take out a sizeable loan.

To the first group I say "WAIT! There is a way."

To the second group I say "Wait! There is a BETTER way."

My husband and I are weird.

In our late 20s we decided that pursuing the "American dream" of a huge house, brand new cars, the latest toys and exotic travel was no longer for us.

We cut up our credit cards, sold our SUV and started the journey to becoming debt-free. We paid off all our consumer debt in 10 months and our home seven years later.

Right about the time I was mailing the last mortgage check, I sprang "So what do you think about adopting?" on my husband at lunch. Soon we were on the journey to adopt two older siblings from Ethiopia.

Remember how I said we were weird?

Weird people apparently quit their jobs in the middle of an adoption. Technically he quit, I switched from a "part-time to pay for vacations" position to a "full-time but barely paying the bills" position while he job searched. (The job search would take as long as our adoption.)

Suddenly those adoption bills seemed pretty daunting. After a bit of momentary panic, mostly on my part, we buckled down and committed to STAYING debt free.

We pinched pennies, gave up eating out, had a HUGE garage sale, sold stuff on ebay, took on freelance work and drained our savings. Everything short of selling our plasma.

We did it, and we’re not the only ones. I’ve seen it over and over again – families raising $30,000+ through grants and fundraisers and sacrifice.

We brought Luke and Beza home on December 27, 2008. Admist the jet lag and trying to coax a 7 and 8 year old to eat something besides pasta and bananas, I’m glad we didn’t have and adoption loan hanging over our heads.

Last May I published "Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption" to help other families realize that they can make their adoption dream come true.

I’m thrilled to be presenting a session on "Debt Free Adoption" at the Crossroads of America Adoption Conference this September. I hope you’ll come and be encouraged and leave with some very practical ways that you can pay for your adoption.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.