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We Paid Cash! :: Our Adoption

We paid cash!Testimony from David and Melissa

The best piece of pre-marital advice we ever received came from my Dad just over nine years ago. He suggested that if we ever hoped to be a one-income family giving me the freedom to stay home with our children, we should budget only on that one income from day one.

We decided to take that advice to heart and right from the very beginning, my income (I’m an elementary teacher) went straight into our savings account. Over the years we’ve used those savings to help pay cash for several different things; the biggest of which was for the adoption of our daughter.

How we paid cash for adoptionThe Background

We struggled with infertility for over six years before adopting our daughter this past January. During that time we spent literally thousands and thousands of dollars on fertility treatments (including IVF). However when all of those treatments left us with only broken hearts and two miscarriages, we decided it was time to explore adoption. God came through in a truly remarkable way and provided a beautiful baby girl for us almost immediately.

Adoptions are expensive no matter how you look at them. Ours cost us in the ballpark of $15,000. I am pleased (and still a little surprised and amazed) to say that because of our sacrifice of that second income for the last 9 years, we were able to pay cash for the entire amount.

How We Did It

  • Living within our means based on my husband’s income only.
  • Never seeing what our lifestyle would feel like with two incomes.
  • Putting the second income (minus tithe) entirely into our savings account.
  • Using extreme self-control and resist the temptation to take annual trips to Disney World with those saved funds. 🙂
  • Don’t spend the money until enough has been saved.
  • We have made the personal choice to pay cash for everything except our house. If we don’t have the cash for it, we don’t buy it.

Next Steps

Now that I’m finally a mom, it was a real dilemma whether to now stay home with our daughter or return to work.  Knowing that our ability to adopt again is based on being able to raise another $15,000, we made the decision for me to work at least another year so that our next adoption can also be paid in cash.

We are David and Melissa Gafford and we have a 7 month old daughter named Addison. You can read more about our adoption story on our blog.

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  • Desiree says:

    That’s an amazing story! You have a wonderful father
    to give you such good advice at a young age. You and your husband
    also are pretty wonderful being able to be so disciplined. The
    children who come into your lives are going to be very well adjusted
    happy children with such good role models to follow.

  • Rebekah says:

    Congratulations on your beautiful daughter! Adoption is a wonderful thing!

  • I just visited this blog, and the story is well worth reading. It brought tears to my eyes – I think that it’s amazing that they paid for this adoption in cash, but the story of how they adopted their daughter is even more amazing!

  • Nicholas Higgins says:

    Congratulations and Amen! My wife and I just adopted our first child this morning. We can echo your testimony in numerous ways, both through the struggle with infertility (and the thousands of dollars spent on doctors visits, etc) as well as the joy of adopting a little girl! Blessings from the Higgins family!

    P.S. you can also adopt through the Foster care system (Which we did, receiving our girl 2 days after birth) and it costs much less. Though we are looking into domestic adoption at the rate you mentioned.

  • 1st off congrats, I am so glad for your family!!.

    But I had it disagree with one statement “Adoptions are expensive no matter how you look at them”. Because this does not have to be true- I have 1st hand experience.

    We adopted out 2 beautiful daughters from foster care and it was totally free. We had not one cost. They were a bit older, 3 and 4 when they came to us (that was our preference). But infants are available, too- you simply may wait a it longer.

    I just want to be an advocate for foster care children and adoption through foster care. It is an amazing way to change your own life and that of a child… and it is very inexpensive or completely free.


    • @Jen@Frugal,Freebies and Deals,

      Oh and I wanted to add- I fully support more traditional adoption and I believe you should follow what God’s is leading you too.

      I simply want to offer a great alternative for families who cannot afford it.. and it really is not , second best

    • @Jen@Frugal,Freebies and Deals, I have always thought about adoption and will be honest, the horrendous process – even more than the money, is what has gotten in our way. My mom & dad were foster parents to over 12 babies (at different times) – when we were children and it was a wonderful thing. I have recently thought about fostering – maybe I will look into it more now. THANKS

      • @lynn @ Maven of Savin’,

        Lynn- no problem. When we decided to go this route (this was our 1st choice of how to have a family) we knew we were going to adopt the children we would foster (you have to foster them at least 6 month in CA).

        We choose children that were fully legally adoptable so we had no court battles.

        I still cannot always say the process was completely easy (it is government you know)- but it cost nothing (and we also get a stipend until they are 18, full medical coverage, some reimbursed respite, ie free baby sitting and great support).

        It really is a great alternative to traditional adoption.

  • Kellie says:

    As the mother of 3 internationally adopted children, I almost wrote to Money Saving Mom with our story, too 🙂 There are so many fees with adoptions, but with careful planning, all of those fees can be paid in cash – we did it (even with me being a SAHM after our first child!), and ALL the sacrifices we made are totally worth it everytime I hug my boys or hear them laughing and playing together. Congratulations on your baby, and best wishes as you plan to give your daughter a sibling!!

  • chelsea says:

    What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Jenn P says:

    Beautiful! I love adoption!

    However, there was one statement in there that I just want to point out that isn’t true ALL of the time.

    We adopted our daughter, too. However, it was totally, 100% free. She was in foster care. In fact, the state pays us every month because we adopted her. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of kids in the foster care system that are desparate for homes. They are adoptable. And it doesn’t cost.

    Please don’t take this as a criticism AT ALL!! I was adopted as an infant, and my parents paid a hefty sum for me. 🙂 All kids need families, international kids, babies, AND kids in the foster care system. We are all called to care for them. I just hate it when people have the idea that all adoptions have to cost an arm and a leg…and just wanted to point it out. 🙂

  • My advice is stay home, God will provide ways for you to save money if it’s in His will for you to adopt again. Your little girl will be big before you can blink, treasure everyday. I am an RN and I can make a significant amount of money working, but God has called me to stay home, we don’t go out to eat very often, we have old cars, our kids and my clothes are all hand me downs or from Goodwill. All our books come from the library….you can even save a significant amount of money on one income.

    • brookeb says:

      @, Perhaps God is providing through her job? I think this is a personal conversation between the original poster & God vs. our decision to weigh in on.

      • Mey says:

        @brookeb, Good Morning,
        It seems brookeb is providing advice and not a directive. Furthermore her advice is based on her personal experience and testimony which in my humble opinion makes her pretty qualified. It is up to the original poster to accept or reject the advice based on her spiritual discernment and biblical understanding. Proverbs 15:22 tells us: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Perhaps we should also consider the possibility that God will speak to her heart via a web community.
        I personally don’t have children therefore I am unqualified to give personal advice on the topic separate from suggesting not only prayer but confidence in the sufficiency and inerrancy of the scripture which appears to point toward staying and home an honor that should not be perceived as becoming a zero to the left when it comes to ability to contribute toward the home economy but instead should be a wonderful opportunity to groom industriousness and entrepreneurialism while having the flexibility to prioritize the family in service and instruction.

        One way to test the validity of whatever we feel God is leading us to do while we have a personal conversation with Him is to measure it against His word.

        Please note this is my perspective on the matter and should not be construed as judgement or as a command. It is simply an opinion given in love and with the intent to edify.

        Happy & Blessed Saturday

      • Aimee says:

        @brookeb, Thank you for your comment. God provides in many and mysterious ways. Each family needs to pray and discern what is right for their respective family.

  • Vivian says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. Your daughter is such a beautiful girl. And the smiles on your face from the picture warms my heart. I’m so happy for your family. May God bless you.

  • teresa says:

    Jenn P-I am so happy you pointed that out. We have 4 beautiful boys, all adopted through the foster care system. We got all 4 of them as infants right from the hospital (another misconception is that there are only older children available through foster care). It didn’t cost us anything for the adoptions, and I am able to be a SAHM with the help of the subsidy payments we get fot them.

    I realize the foster care route isn’t for everyone, but it sure helped make our dreams come true. However, I think it is an option that is often overlooked. I know it was years and thousands of dollars on fertility treatments before my husband and I researched it. We had originally planned to adopt only one child, but God had different plans for us…as we now have 4. I never would have seen myself as a SAHM to 4 small children…but that is another story.

  • Dani says:

    Living off of one income from the beginning is such a great and simple idea! I’m fresh off graduating with my masters degree and will be finding out soon if my temp job will become a full-time gig. We know that we want to save up our money for many things in the future (of course paying off the student loan debt we have is priority) and by setting aside one of our incomes, we would be able to save so much faster than if we decided to live as a two-income family. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • I LOVE THIS STORY! Look at that precious baby! 🙂

  • Mandy says:

    Such a smart idea! I wish we had received such great advice!

    What a beautiful story. Made my day!

  • Selena says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever posted anything … But I definitely wanted to comment after reading this post! What an incredible story!!! It touched my heart! Thank you for your beautiful story! Your daughter is super cute!!!!

  • Sarah says:

    that’s great! and thanks for the tip on foster care adoption. i didn’t know much about that, so that may be something we research in the future.

  • Suzy says:

    Congratulations on the expanding your family.

  • Trixie says:

    Congratulations on the beautiful, precious addition to your family. Your dad is a very wise man!

    My husband and I are pretty big savers and we have to have a pretty good nest egg due to my husband being self employed. Plus we live in an area with really high unemployment so it’s really important for us to have a good emergency fund. It is so tempting to want to take money out for all the stuff we want but don’t need. I really admire you guys for being able to resist the tempation to spend your savings.

    Take Care,


  • Honey Smith says:

    Wow, that’s a wonderful story. And also the information on foster care children. Several couples from our church are in the process of private adoption. And some other friends put out the word to donate stuff for a huge garage sale that they hosted to serve these couple to benefit the adoptions. I thought that was a sweet way for others to support adoption. Each garage sale made a couple thousand dollars!

  • april says:

    a beautiful family.. may u have all the happiness in the world

  • Rachel W says:

    Wow – this was a beautiful story and you are a beautiful family, thank G-d!! Wishing you all the best with your new and cute daughter :).

  • My youth pastor shared how his wife’s income was also only for savings and I took that to heart.

    I taught and now stay home with my daughter. My husband keeps asking me if I want a new car and I say absolutely not. If I got a new car I would have to go back to work to make the payments and miss this precious time with my daughter.

    I find I’m able to save money shopping wisely and doing things like taxes and housework that we used to hire people to do.

  • Lee says:

    Adoption is a goal of mine. I hope that in the next few years to be able to add one more child to our family that way (3 boys are ours). What a touchin story!

  • Sherri says:

    That is a fabulous concept!! I never thought to do that from the beginning. I think that is a good thing to pass on to our children one day. I can’t even imagine how much money I would have saved if I had followed that advice.

  • We received that same piece of advice when my husband and I got married too! Thankfully we listened and learned to live within our means. I am now able to stay home with our boys because of our decisions early-on in marriage. 🙂

  • What an amazing testimony. I have to admit I’m teary eyed right now!

    My parents actually gave us the same exact advice (to learn to live on one income). It’s the best advice they ever gave us!

  • Milissa says:

    Congratulations on your new addition! You are the cutest family.

  • Marisa Stone O'Brien says:

    Your post made me cry. Congratulations on baby Addison. What a gift your parents gave you about money!

  • Sandi says:

    Inspiring story, thanks for sharing. I wish someone had given me that advice, or that I had thought of it–it seems like basic common sense when I think about it.

    Thanks to everyone who posted about adoption through foster care, as well. On our second date I told my future husband that adopting was very important to me, and we have always planned to do it “someday” when his income is higher and we can afford it. Now that “someday” seems a whole lot closer!

  • Heather Nothnagel says:

    We have an internationally adopted 3 year old daugher. I just wanted to reiterate the fact that adoption is a BEAUTIFUL thing.
    We, personally, felt the Lord was leading us to international adoption over domestic adoption and most definitely international adoption is VERY expensive. Our total fees were roughly $25K. Although our story isn’t quite the same as yours the Lord provided in miraculous ways and still continues to do so. I only wish that I would have been given the advice that your father gave you. However, like I said, my Heavenly Father took care of the finances for us through our church family and other generous givers. I believe you’re being very wise to continue to work for a while longer so that you can add to your already beautiful family.
    You can read our story at www dot consideritpure-joy dot blogspot dot com

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks for sharing! A real blessing. I’m glad to hear about foster care too. Free is much more in our reach than the big numbers you usually hear.

  • Anne says:

    God so graciously provided for our adoptions also. We adopted several 5-6 year old kids from foster care which was free. Then God dropped a baby into our lives and that went to adoption privately. All we paid was several thousand for court and attorney fees which miraculously were easily paid even though my husband was out of work during that time.

  • What a wonderful story! It must be a huge relief to know you don’t have the debt from the infertility treatments and adoption. That really is awesome!

  • Sharon says:

    That’s a really great story…both the decision to adopt and the decision to do it in cash. I’m sure you’ll be great parents, given your initial dedication to these purposes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Your daughter is beautiful and I so admire your self-control to live on one income. Disney World doesn’t tempt me, but the Bahamas does!

    We have three children of our own, but have dealt with fertility issues and never know if it’s possible to have more. We hope to someday adopt internationally…we know it’s expensive and are trying to get our lifestyle under control and our savings up so we can follow your example and pay cash!

  • Elizabeth Kotulski says:

    Great story. I even got a little teary eyed. God is faithful!

  • Melanie says:

    Congrats on the baby girl! We have adopted 1 child through the foster system and will b adopting our 2nd child on Sept. 7th. Both boys, and will b 3- Oct. 16 and Oct 17. They r only one day apart. Most people think I am crazy 4 taking on 2 boys the same age. But they r a joy. We have been waiting for our 3rd foster child for over a year and a half. The agency keeps telling me that there is no kids right now. I don’t know. I am very anxious to get our 3rd.

  • Another couponing adoptive mommy here! Adoption made my dreams come true! Looks like it made a bunch of our dreams come true! It’s great everyone is sharing the different ways to adoption and the financial aspects. We were told that ours would be about 10K less than we’ve spents so far… and we’ve spent a lot (thank goodness for coupons and savings)!

    Congrats to on your new baby girl… ours was born days after yours!

  • Jennifer says:

    Great story!

    We followed the same savings route when we got married — keeping all of my income as savings. I worked for less than a year after we were married, but it was enough of a spring board for us to pay off our first home and live debt-free for awhile until it became necessary to upgrade to accomodate our growing family.

    I will say, though, that learning to live with a savings account that isn’t flourishing is a bit of an adjustment as well. When my income was funding our savings, when we really needed something (like downpayment on a house), the money was easily there; now, we truly have to scrimp and save to build up our savings for things we need.

  • Laura says:

    What a wonderful post! Congratulations on your daughter! Great advice both from your father and you – you actually did it! I, too, am a teacher and greatly, greatly regret that I didn’t stay home with my daughter (I missed out on so much, she was much sicker, and she still has some long lasting issues today due to her experience) . I would encourage you to stay home at your first opportunity – that will be decision you won’t regret! The time flies so, so fast! Best wishes!!!

  • Nancy says:

    Congratulation on your adoption! We adopted our youngest son nearly 4 yrs ago and it was so neat to see how God provided the funds for this to happen. God is Good!!