Talk Wealth to Me

Financially Preparing for Adoption

August 02, 2019 Season 1 Episode 15
Talk Wealth to Me
Financially Preparing for Adoption
Chapters
Talk Wealth to Me
Financially Preparing for Adoption
Aug 02, 2019 Season 1 Episode 15
Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Katie Utterback
This week on the Talk Wealth To Me podcast: Financially planning tips for a debt-free adoption from Laura Coleman, Accredited Financial Counselor.
Show Notes Transcript

The Average American has a savings balance of $16,420. With the cost of an average adoption at $43,239, how is a couple able to afford adoption?

Laura Coleman is a Tennessee-based Accredited Financial Counselor with a special niche - preparing couples financially for fertility and adoption. After experiencing firsthand the financial burden and stress that accompanies the fertility and adoption process, Laura felt called to start her blog, podcast and financial coaching practice: Family Money Coaching.

Laura joins Chase, Felipe, and Katie for a discussion on strategies real families use to avoid or at least minimize debt when trying to grow their family through adoption or IVF, as well as tips to keep emotional spending in check when an adoption or fertility treatment doesn't pan out the way you expected.

For more information on Laura Coleman, AFC, or debt-free fertility journeys, you can visit her website, listen to her podcast, or sign-up for Laura's upcoming 12-week course: Financially Preparing for Adoption. 

Comments, questions or suggestions for the show? Email us at talkwealthpodcast@gmail.com.

To learn more about DebtWave Credit Counseling, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

To learn more about the San Diego Financial Literacy Center, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.





Intro:
0:00
Welcome to Talk Wealth to Me, the safe-space podcast where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance.
Felipe Arevalo:
0:17
The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting, legal, tax or other professional advice.
Chase Peckham:
0:32
Boy, what a show we have for you today and probably going to to turn up the emotions a little bit. Today we've got Laura Coleman who is a Tennessee based accredited financial counselor and really has a very special niche. She prepares couples to financially prepare for fertility and adoption because she had a personal experience with this and this really is something that is um, close to my heart. I have friends who have, uh, experienced, uh, preparing to have children, um, the unconventional way by having a surrogate. Um, but all the same have very loving family, great kids and Felipe and Katie sat down with Laura and you really don't want to miss this.
Katie Utterback:
1:30
Yes, we really wanted to have you on the show because we had it a podcast episode talking about the cost of having a baby naturally, I guess I don't want to use any sort of insensitive language, right? But there's a lot of people that struggle with fertility issues and there's a whole slew of reasons why people want to expand their family and they, they choose to adopt or find some other way to expand their family. And you are somebody, Laura, that you help people figure out how to afford or finance adoption. Is that correct?
Laura Coleman:
2:06
Right. So just a small little backstory about me. Um, I've been a financial coach since 2012 and then before that I did mortgages for 10 years. So, um, in 2011, I got married and wanted to have a family, was super excited. I was 34 and I wanted to have three kids before I was 40 years old and it just wasn't happening. It wasn't happening. So we finally got tested and my husband and I ended up, uh, we did fertility, um, uh, IVF. We did it five times and we got pregnant in 2015 but we did have a miscarriage. And then in 2013, um, we adopted a little girl and she wanted to be a big sister, like nobody's business. We got her, she was a toddler and she wanted a baby sister wanted a baby sister and she got two little brothers because, um, we started fostering about three months after I miscarried, we started fostering, uh, two little boys that are half brothers and we ended up adopting them 15 months later.
Laura Coleman:
3:25
So we had three kids under the age of three and a half within a two year span.
Felipe Arevalo:
3:30
That's awesome change.
Laura Coleman:
3:35
And you know, we finalized their adoption, um, on January 9th and I turned 40 on January 13th.
Felipe Arevalo:
3:44
Well done. You've accomplished your goal.
Laura Coleman:
3:47
I accomplished my goal. It was not in the direction that I thought it was gonna happen, but, um, it happened. And then, uh, anyways, so then last year, um, I was, you know, thinking about what about my passions and you know, how you have those soul searching moments. And I thought, you know, I really should help other couples that are preparing financially for adoption and for fertility because it costs so much money. We spent $35,000 on fertility, um, for us,
Katie Utterback:
4:21
$35,000 just for IVF treatment?
Laura Coleman:
4:25
Correct.
Felipe Arevalo:
4:25
Yeah. That's what I was gonna say. Most people, if they had that kind of saving, they might've spent it more considering adoption, just trying to get pregnant. Cause that's not cheap.
Laura Coleman:
4:35
Right! That's a car. I mean they can get a Super Nice car. And you know, there is that, that, um, well I could have spent the money on this. I could could've, I could've have the money on this. But you know, when you think about your needs, your wants, your expectations of things that you desire in life. Yeah. We desired to be parents and we were willing to do whatever it took to save the money so that we could be parents. I mean, that was just, it's been a part of my makeup in life to be a mom. And, and so I know that desire that people have and when money comes across and, and stops you from achieving that goal, like it's so devastating and it can be like this huge block. And I feel that if you have a desire to do something and it's a strong enough desire, that's a great motivator. And what I do is I help guide you along that path, provide the organization that you need, um, to give you ideas and coaching you.
Laura Coleman:
5:49
You know, right now I'm coaching someone that they just needed guidance to help their small business make the money that it needs so that she can reach her financial goal. And, and sometimes it's getting ideas, sometimes it's accountability, sometimes it's organization. And sometimes people just don't know where to start. You know, like, Hey, uh, I want to adopt, but I don't even know where to start. Like, which avenue should I do? Should I do a private adoption? Should I do domestic? Should I do international? Should I do? Um, should I foster and, and then hope that we can adopt or, you know, are there children that are already free for adoption and foster? So there's so many different options, options in regards to adoption. And then then you're like, okay, well do I find my own attorney? How much is that going to cost? Can I negotiate home study fees where, you know, what, what kind of documentation do I need to get ready for that? And so in my preparing financially for adoption course that launches November 1st there's all sorts of checklists and adoption planning organizer that will help my clients be prepared so that they can say, oh yeah, Hey, I've got a travel budget ready and here's what my travel budget is. And, um, here are some places where I can save money on travel. Because when you're doing an adoption out of state or internationally, you actually have to travel to that location and stay there for two to three weeks. Um, depending upon the state's laws. And so during that time, you got to find a place to stay. You got to pay for your, you know, lodging and your travel and you know, airplane if you have to fly and rental car and your food while you're there. So all of those things add up and you don't think about those little bitty costs that are not necessarily an adoption agency fee or an attorney fee.
Felipe Arevalo:
8:04
I was going to say that's a lot of things that as you're saying them, they make perfect sense. But as someone who hasn't looked into, you know, a adopting someone in in that manner never would've thought of it. But yeah, if it's a long process and it's not in your backyard, there's a lot of expenses that people might overlook. I know I definitely would going into this even I was never thought of travel expenses and lodging for two, three, loss income. If you're, if you're, you know, away from work for two to three weeks, there's more to it.
Laura Coleman:
8:42
Right. And, and also understanding like the adoption tax credit and how that works and how to make sure that if you are, how much can you claim, what can be claimed on your taxes, when can you claim the child that you have? Um, and, and then also understanding like we, we adopted two older children and one of the things I was concerned about was identity theft with the social security numbers that they had from from birth. And so, you know, that's another thing I went and immediately changed their social security numbers. And so I talked a little bit about that and in my course and making sure that you protect that child and then, you know, what, how do you help them teach them about money and helping them think differently about the money that, that they, if they grew up in one lifestyle and now they're living in another lifestyle, like helping them change their money story, towards money because they may have grown up in a mindset of scarcity and now they have a mindset of abundance. And so now there's some conflict there. And, and how do you teach a child about money so that they can overcome the money story that they were given when they were with their first family.
Katie Utterback:
10:10
Wow. So you have a lot of different angles of someone's overall financial health that you're working with
Laura Coleman:
10:17
right? In regards to adoption in fertility specifically?
Katie Utterback:
10:20
Yeah, cause I mean, just even in listening to you talking to and just in preparing for the show, finding the funds in order to adopt. I don't currently have children, my husband and I want children and we haven't exactly tried. So we don't know if adoption is going to be a route that we're interested in. But I, I mean, just looking at the numbers, Eh, an adoption of a, a newborn baby ranges from $5,000 to $40,000. Right? I mean, where do you find that money?
Laura Coleman:
10:56
Well, the biggest thing is multiple sources of income. One is sitting down in and making a list of the assets that you have or the resources that you have. So, you know, when we sat down, I had a rental house that I had purchased when I was single. Um, both of us were working and we didn't have debt. And so that was a huge blessing that we didn't have debt. And then we sold some things. And then my husband, um, had an ownership in a company. So for us we had the five sources of income that we were using to fund our own fertility journey.
Katie Utterback:
11:43
Oh Wow.
Laura Coleman:
11:43
And I, on my podcast, I have interviewed some really amazing people that have, how they have raised the funds. Um, one couple a dinner and had, they had really quite an a network in the community. And so they did a, oh shoot, what's it called when it's a silent auction. There we go. Okay. Um, they did a silent auction and they raised the funds there. Um, another person, she rents her house out on Airbnb and then she also has international students that are living with her. And so she's collecting that money to pay for, um, her fertility journey. And then, um, another woman that I interviewed, she applied for a grant through chip starter, which is with chip and Joanna Gaines and she was awarded just a little over $15,000. And then they also sold t-shirts and they sold bracelets on Instagram. So those were some of the fun ways that she did. And another person I interviewed, she creates these macrons and sells them. They're little cookies, you know, they're delicate little cookies and they're beautiful and she has all sorts of flavors and, and so she's selling those to like earn money. So, you know, it's being creative with the talents and the assets that you have to be able to help you raise the funds that you need.
Katie Utterback:
13:13
Okay. And I want to circle back to something that you said, and you mentioned that you're, you and your husband had five different sources of income while you guys were going through this and you didn't have any debt. I'm just curious, if somebody does have debt, is there, is that going to affect their ability to adopt?
Laura Coleman:
13:35
No, no, no, no. Um, you know, when you're looking at your debt [inaudible] if you have too much debt, it can be a noose around your neck and it can stop you from achieving the dreams that you have. But you don't want to borrow more money than you can pay back. Right. And if, if someone chooses to borrow money, is it a part of their spending plan? What if you lost your job or you had to stay home with the child that you have now adopted and you went from a two income family to a one income family, could you still afford that payment for that debt? Um, you know, how would you feel borrowing that money and the adoption falls through, or you are, no, you're unable to conceive through fertility. How would, how would the looking at that payment monthly affect your emotions? You know, would it cause you to be really bitter? Um, because you know, borrowing that money is, it's a reminder later on of the lack of success that you might have.
Katie Utterback:
14:51
Oh Wow.
Laura Coleman:
14:52
So, so there's two reasons why I'm like, I wouldn't, I am a big proponent of debt free adoption and debt free fertility because yes, I know that it takes time to save up the money. I recognize that that need, and also you feel a little pressure, a little timetable, right? And so if you are looking at your finances and you're like, hey, we already have a car payment, we already have credit card payment, we already have a mortgage, we're pretty strapped as it is. I would focus on paying down that debt and you don't necessarily have to pay it all off, but I would focus on paying it down so that you can breathe and have the life that you deserve once you have the child. And
Katie Utterback:
15:46
Yeah. So that makes sense to me. Cause I me, it sounds like what you're describing is that a lot of people on these fertility journeys are um, they're turning into a side hustle in a sense to try to make ends meet and build up that I guess fund in order to take, to get their baby to complete their family. So I'm, it's got gotta be an intense amount of pressure. If you have debt and you have a little one at home suddenly, cause some of those side hustle opportunities may no longer work for you.
Laura Coleman:
16:20
Right. And if you can apply the same principles towards paying off debt as you do, saving towards adoption or fertility, you will be successful. And I have to say that having no debt is a huge relief in life. And you know I have been in a place where I did have debt and I remember that that sense of Oh that stress, you know like just desperation of I've got to work, I've got to work, I've got to do this so I can pay this off. And it is very emotional. And then you add on top of the emotion of paying off that debt and the stress of making ends meet to the stress of trying to pay for fertility or pay for adoption. It's enough to really crack a marriage and an, I guess that's why like you know, some of my, my social media posts talk a lot about marriage, about communication and because it, if you can strengthen your marriage, then once you're on the other side of, of having a child, then you're together as a team. You're working together as a team and now you have this forever family.
Felipe Arevalo:
17:37
Yeah. This is, it's very interesting how there's so many aspects of the financial life. The life in general that needs to be, eh, will be adjusted if someone goes the route of, um, adoption. I have two little ones at home and just my, my youngest is, uh, about to turn one and just, and just having him around changes the entire dynamic of relationships with the older children. Relationships between my wife and I, and definitely has an impact on day to day financials. It, it's something where you know, it, it can get expensive and if you're not adjusted to it or prepared for it, it's something where if you can't save up enough money to do the adoption process, then how are you going to accommodate the increase in expenses after the adoption? So it's almost like a, I hate to call it like a practice run, financially anyways to save up for it.
Laura Coleman:
18:45
You've hit the nail on the head. That is exactly, exactly right. Like you have to think beyond like, you think your destination is getting the child, but really the destination is raising that child. Right?
Felipe Arevalo:
18:59
And then that's not from a financial standpoint, cheap and from a just general standpoint, easy.
Laura Coleman:
19:07
Right, right.
Katie Utterback:
19:09
So, you know,
Laura Coleman:
19:10
oh sorry, go ahead. No, go ahead.
Katie Utterback:
19:13
I was just going to ask you, so I'm maybe less familiar with adoption like some of our listeners may be. Um, can you maybe explain, is this a one time, like what do most adoptions pan out, I guess the first time or are you going to be experiencing some sort of disruption? And so the amount, maybe you've paid $5,000 toward adopting one child in particular, it doesn't work out. Are you just out that money and then you have to start over? Um, and then just to kind of like piggy back off of that question you mentioned, you know, kind of posting about scarcity and abundance. I'm wondering in a marriage too, when you have a situation where there is some sort of disruption and something doesn't pan out in your experience, have you found that there are, there's going to be one half of the couple that maybe turns to that more scarcity mindset once an adoption doesn't pan out. And the other one maybe is just turning to be a spender again just to try to deal with the emotions of that.
Laura Coleman:
20:28
So in regards to your first question, you know, how often does a disruption occur? Yeah. I don't know the statistics, but I do know that it can occur and it's, it's preparing yourself for that possibility. Now you can, you can, as you're adopting and going through that process and you choose a adoption agency or an adoption consultant, I've met several that have talked about, hey, you have to pay these fees along the way. Um, I did talk with one couple that they worked, uh, with an agency in Florida and they paid for that adoption after they received the child, like at, um, so the agency didn't collect along the way. And I liked that because if there was a disruption, there was no money changed hands. Sure. Um, so making sure that you interview the agencies about how often are there disruptions? what are their costs? How along the way are you, do you pay along the way? Um, and asking those questions so that you're aware.
Laura Coleman:
21:50
And then in regards to the scarcity mindset and abundance mindset, I absolutely believe that couples could have that, that reaction, like our money personalities, our reaction are like the, this histories that we have towards money, um, can have, uh, a negative and a positive reaction. So if you grew up where money was scarce and you're a pretty tight saver and it's hard for you to part with money and all of a sudden you spend money towards adoption and it falls through and now you've spent five grand on nothing that can really cause you be super bitter and, and in a way, um, I can relate to that because when we spent $35,000 on fertility, I am a saver. I don't like to spend, I grew up in a super frugal family. My, I'm the third child of six kids. And so I grew up being frugal and so for me to spend that money was super painful for me. Whereas my husband grew up in a family where there were two kids and they were well to do. And so he's like, ah, it's just money. We'll, we'll figure it out later, we'll get more. And so that, that conflict did arise in our marriage and it was important for us to learn how to communicate. For me to say, this is why this bothers me. This is, um, a lot of money to me. And also I also had to recognize that I was spending money on something that I value. And once I realized that even though it went down the drain, literally, um, I still had value. I was spending money on something that I, I desired. And that was important to me. So if you take that mindset of even though that that money has disappeared, it was still the intent. And if you take a step back and say, okay, let's reorganize ourselves. If, if we want to adopt and we need another $10,000, stop looking at the past, let's look to the future. What can we do to get that $10,000 and stop focusing on that negative experience? Because, and, and I, the reason why I suggest that is because I went through that and I had to go through that mindset change.
Katie Utterback:
24:47
How did you do that? How do you, I guess, do you have any advice on somebody? Cause I'm, I'm kind of like you, I have a scarcity mindset and my husband is the more, oh it's going to be fine and spends money until it gives me heart palpitations. But I how, how did you do that? How did you work with yourself and change the way that you were looking at it?
Laura Coleman:
25:13
Contemplation, you know, being able to look at the situation and ask myself what was important, you know, what is it that I wanted out of life? You know, I wanted to be a mother and I desired it more than anything. And I was doing what I thought was right. You know, we wanted a biological child, but something that I've learned in life is there's this plan B. And once I recognize that, that plan B was not fertility, that was my plan a, but plan B was adoption. And now looking back, we, you know, our daughter's seven, we have a five year old and a three year old. I recognize that that was always supposed to be our plan. But at the time I didn't realize that. And so there was some angst, there was some stress, there was some depression. Um, and I did allow myself to suck my thumb after my miscarriage and before we got our boys right as we're getting, you know, like during that timeframe, it was all within like a three month period of time.
Katie Utterback:
26:26
Oh Wow.
Laura Coleman:
26:27
And so like I, I did allow myself that sorrow, but then I, I had to have that realization of, okay, life is going to go on and I need to pick myself up by my bootstraps and I've got a daughter I need to take care of. I've got a husband. I need to repair my relationship with him because, um, you know, when you're, you're upset and you, you do lash out. And we began going on dates so that we can improve our relationship. And we began talking with each other. And, and I think it's that opening up yourself and recognizing that that raw emotion is inside of you and to get it out, that's when that realization starts coming to you of, okay, okay, this is not as bad as I think it is or this I'm overreacting or this is a better plan. I wanted it. I wanted a baby. I wanted that so bad. Um, but I had to recognize that there were two little boys that would not have been a part of our family if I'd had that pregnancy go through. And I cannot imagine my life without my s my boys a, I mean my youngest, he calls me his sweet, precious Mommy and, uh, he's either, he's a charmer and I cannot imagine my life without him. And, and I can guarantee that we would not have welcomed him and his brother into our home if, if I, my pregnancy had continued.
Felipe Arevalo:
28:17
And first and foremost, uh, Kudos to you. Um, cause that absolutely was not an easy thing that you did. And, and you know, you mentioned having to have that repair with your spouse and, um, and then moving forward so rapidly, um, you know, three months is not a long time. Right. In the big picture things. And he mentioned something that you, you had a plan a, but sometimes life's plan a isn't really the one you were supposed to, it's not the one you ended up taking. Um, and you know, obviously you're making the best of it. Um, and, and you've, you've found your new plan A.
Laura Coleman:
29:04
Yes.
Felipe Arevalo:
29:05
That's awesome. And you know, one thing I was, I, I was wondering is, and I only noticed because someone at a company that works nearby, it used to work there, she ended up moving to a completely different state for a completely unrelated job because she found somewhere that had, um, that employer actually did IVF or partially helped pay for IVF. Is that a common thing where maybe you take a pay grade or pay drop or change careers all together? Because I, because of how expensive it really is. And is that a common occurrence, would you say?
Laura Coleman:
29:49
Yeah. So I'm in a couple of groups on Facebook and several people are always talking about, um, how Starbucks has fertility. They pay for fertility. And someone's like, well, I'm quitting my job, you'll be a Barista. Um, but there are companies, um, that you can Google, you know, companies that, that pay for IVF or cover fertility and there are certain insurances that will also pay for it. Now insurance, each state is different. So some states require by law that they cover fertility. And then there are other states that don't. And so that's also something to look into. Um, our what state you live in, what company you work for. There's a, a woman that lives in my city and when I was going through fertility, ours didn't, not our insurance does not cover it. And hers covered 100%, and she would drive down to Atlanta. And I had looked at that fertility doctor, he cost a $17,500, uh, per each one. And the company, her husband worked for, covered up to two, um, tran with like, uh, a retrieval and then a transfer. And that is a huge blessing. So like, yeah, definitely finding out if your insurance will pay for it. And one of the other tricks that I did in regards to fertility, I had at that time, we had a policy that had a $5,000 deductible. And so no matter what, we would pay for everything. So we had a health savings account and at that time it was um, $6,900 that we were able to put in. So depending upon, um, how many people are in your family, um, is how much you can put in your health savings account. So look for yourself specifically. And so anyway, I put the money in and so I did for 2012, I put money in and for 2013, I put money in. And so there was, you know, about 12 grand that I had in that health savings account. It lowered our taxable income. And then I paid for the fertility treatment with my credit card because I wanted points off my credit card. And then I paid off the credit card with the money from the health savings account. So that was kind of one little smart, little trick that I used like a little money trick. Um, I guess those are called hacks now.
Felipe Arevalo:
32:54
Yeah. You can get that free points to use for gift card. Are you the trends, the travel expenses.
Laura Coleman:
32:59
So that's what we used it for. Yeah. Miles. Yeah. So it was just, it was like one little benefit, um, that we did, did use. And um, so that's, that health savings account was extremely beneficial because I, the money was saved up and it lowered our taxable income. So that's just one little bonus that I'll share today.
Katie Utterback:
33:24
And that's just for IVF. Is there any sort of insurance or, um, I guess company policy that you've seen related to adoption?
Laura Coleman:
33:33
Well, there are companies that will provide, um, some adoption. Most of the time it is a reimbursement. Um, but I have seen companies that do an adoption reimbursement or maybe they'll do like a paternity, um, and that fraternity, um, yeah, yeah. Where, where you can have maternity leave, but it's for fathers and mothers so that you can bond with the child. So a friend of mine in St. Louis, her husband works for a large corporation and he was able to take time off to be able to bond with their [inaudible]. They have, they've adopted four now just a couple of weeks ago. They've got their fourth child that they've adopted. And so I was pretty jealous the fact that she, he and her were able to be at home and do that bonding. So that's another thing to look at and you know, the adoption tax credit is another kind of benefit to be able to do some tax planning. So for us, when we adopted our first one was a private adoption and then the second one was considered a special needs adoption. And because it was a special needs adoption, we got to claim the entire amount even though we didn't pay for the adoption. And so it was a $26,000 adoption tax credit that we got to claim and you can split it out over your taxes over six years. And so we did some tax planning, we had a traditional IRA that we are moving to a Roth Ira. So we're taking the tax hit right now, but the adoption tax credit is erasing our tax liability. So that was another, I do talk about that on my podcast. I interviewed our accountant and so he kind of goes into that about how to claim that and how to utilize that for your advantage. You just spent a whole bunch of money. Um, so yeah,
Felipe Arevalo:
35:47
that's very interesting. You mentioned it's there vary state by state and even company to company with like the baby bonding. Um, my best friend when he had his kid at his company, whether it's a birth or adoption, the dad gets baby bonding time and it's wow, it's like maternity leave for the dad and he gets to take time off and much like a mom would and hang out with, with the little guy. I didn't have that. Um, when we had kids around the same time. So I was like, man, you're so lucky.
Katie Utterback:
36:22
Well and let me ask you about this, cause you mentioned private versus special needs adoption. How many types of adoption are there? Do you have an
Laura Coleman:
36:34
oh yeah. Honestly that's the question. I don't know.
Katie Utterback:
36:38
No, that's okay. And I'm just kind of wondering, maybe you could help, um, our listeners and myself, what is a private adoption and is maybe a special needs adoption again,
Laura Coleman:
36:48
sorry. Yes, in regards to that question. So the private adoption was, um, we, we knew the grandparents and so there was a personal relationship there and we didn't use the option agency to adopt. We did hire an attorney that was an adoption attorney and I did, um, went to an agency and did the home study. So I coordinated everything. And
Katie Utterback:
37:14
Can you explain what a home study is too?
Laura Coleman:
37:17
Yeah. So, um, on home study they come in, they ask you tons of questions about your finances, your relationship, how you were raised, who's in the home, they inspect your home, they interview you individually and then together as a husband and wife, and they make sure that your home is safe. Um, for us, we were already placed with our daughter when we did that home study. So it, it was kind of shortened. Um, and so they came in and they interviewed us and we had a ton of paperwork that we filled out that was asking us questions about our childhood and how we are raised and what our family is like. Um, they asked us about our finances. We had to provide our big statements and our pay stubs and our W-2's and our tax forms and [inaudible].
Katie Utterback:
38:16
Do you have any indication what they're looking for in that when they're looking through your financial records? Did we lose her?
Laura Coleman:
38:24
Like I said, glass.
Felipe Arevalo:
38:25
Sorry about that. I think, I think we lost you there for a second, but I think we're back. Okay.
Katie Utterback:
38:30
Yeah. I think the last thing I heard you were talking about the finding. Did we lose her again?
Felipe Arevalo:
38:34
I think so, yeah.
Laura Coleman:
38:35
Financial documents you mean?
Katie Utterback:
38:36
Yeah. I was just wondering if you could explain or expand a little bit on that too. What exactly are they looking for when they're looking at your W2's and your bank statements and
Laura Coleman:
38:46
Yeah they want to know that you can afford to take care of a child.
Katie Utterback:
38:51
Okay.
Laura Coleman:
38:53
And, um, you know, yeah, they don't like when you're in a, how do I say this? It's okay, but, but they want to be able to make sure that you can afford a to take care of a child that's placed in your home financially.
Katie Utterback:
39:13
Yeah. I think that's what I was just kinda wondering. I didn't really know how to ask it, so thank you for answering. Cause I was just curious. You know, I, I'm talking to fleet bay all the time on how much he's spending on his kids just to keep them alive. And I'm really glad I don't have that expense right now. Um, but yeah, I would just I was just curious cause I have to imagine there's an immense responsibility on some of these agencies and attorneys that they have to make sure that once that child is placed with you that you can maintain some sort of quality living standard.
Laura Coleman:
39:50
Right, right. Yeah. It, you know, it's, it's really, ah, I won't get into that. But, um, it's, it's true that, that it, it you put, you're put under a microphone, um, the Mac phone, like a microscope microscope, you're put under a microscope and looked at every aspect of your life, your emotional aspect of your life and your marriage. And you're like, how strong is your marriage and how do you guys communicate with each other and what are your finances like and, and how were you raised a child? How do you feel about corporal punishment and how were you punished as a child? And it really exposes a lot. You know, one of the other questions was, have you dealt with fertility and how have you dealt with it? And that was a very raw question for me because we were still going through it. Sure. And so, you know, being able to address those emotional issues in a home study, it's, um, yeah, it's, it's definitely invasive into your privacy.
Katie Utterback:
40:57
So when the, let me ask you this. So when somebody calls you and says, Hey Laura, I'm on this fertility journey, or you know, we're looking to expand our family and we really want to look at adoption. Um, where do you recommend people start?
Laura Coleman:
41:15
Well, the foundation of everything, in my opinion, is your spending plan. And it's sitting down and saying, okay, where are you at financially? What problems do you have in regards to your spending plan? D, do you have money leftover at the end of the month? Um, are you saving money towards your goals? Do you have goals? Um, finding out what your pots of money, where the pots of money you're at and setting aside money for each of them. Because if you can get your spending plan in order, it takes the stress out of everything else. And I truly believe that that's the spending plan or budget, which I think is a four letter word because that's restrictive. But this spending plan because you plan on spending money is the foundation to everything that you do in life. If you have marital struggles, is your spending plan out of, out of alignment? If you have a goal of saving money towards adoption, you can't do it. Are you spending too much money? You know, is it an income issue or is it a spending issue? So those are the two things. Those are the things that I will sit down and make sure that that's in order first. And then we move on to, okay, now we have your spending plan in order. Now let's look at your specific goals. How are we going to reach that specific goal? Like if you need $20,000, let's put a plan in action month to month of how much you need to save and where that money's gonna come from and where are you going to put that money so that in 12 months you will have reached that goal and you will be this be able to accomplish that specific task. If it's paying for your international adoption fees, okay, then when are you going to need it? By how much you going to do it a need and how are we going to get that money? So those are some other things that, that I work with couples.
Felipe Arevalo:
43:27
I love it. You hit it right on the head is one of the things that we preach when we're out there presenting that spending plan, that budget and you're right, people here budget. And they go, oh no. So we actually stopped putting budget on the front slide of our presentation so that people don't walk in and see it and walk out. So you just put a spending plan and a little little letters at the bottom and tell them it's budgeting. We're not telling them at all and just go through the whole presentation. But at the same, you know, they hear budget, they think scary, they think, but it's the opposite. And you mentioned it and then, and then you mentioned goals and it's something that we've come across, you know, across as we've been doing these podcasts, regardless of what the topic is, that budget, that spending plan and having goals and, and communication. And it seems like it, it's key here again. And Yeah, and, and you've, you have a, a great way of kind of teaching is specifically for this purpose.
Laura Coleman:
44:25
Thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
Katie Utterback:
44:29
And maybe you kind of teased us little bit. You mentioned that you have a preparing for adoption course launching in November.
Laura Coleman:
44:37
Yeah.
Katie Utterback:
44:37
What is going to be talked about there?
Laura Coleman:
44:41
So I have a 16 topics that I cover. Um, one is we talk about grant money and I have a list of grants where people can apply for grants. We talk about fundraisers, how to be organized, your, your fundraiser, how to, uh, what different ideas of fundraisers that you can do, how you can have a successful fundraiser. Um, for example, you know how to have a successful t-shirt fundraiser, specific 10 items that you need to do. And there's, there's a company that um, is a tee shirt company here in town and they just helped a couple raise $15,000. So, oh wow. You know, putting, putting that together. Um, W I also talk about the um, borrowing money. If you are going to borrow money, what are some things to look at, um, cautions that you need to be aware of? Like, should you borrow from your 401k, do you understand what the 401k is being used for? Um, what would happen if you're not able to pay that money back? Like looking at those cautions. And then we also talk about creating your spending plan and setting your goals. And then also, you know, what documents do you need for grants, um, to be able to be prepared for that. And then we talk about setting a budget for travel. And I have checklists that will help you be organized for, for traveling, for vacation, you're needing that, that family bonding time. And then we have a section on increasing your communication with your spouse and how to strengthen your marriage during and after and how to make sure that you're setting aside time for a date night with your honey and a money date, which is what the rules are for money date. And I have videos in regards to that. And then you know, how to prepare financially for children after the fact and be organized there. And then also we talked a little bit about credits and your adopted child. Um, oh, um, and then does some different ways to save money. So those are some of the topics that we cover that and it's launching November 1st which is national adoption month and beautiful. And you can right now I have early bird pricing going on so people can go to my website, which is family money coaching.org and at the top there'll be a menu and it's preparing for adoption. You Click on that and you can look down and see, you can watch a little video that I prepared of why I am doing this course. And then you can click on the syllabus and see exactly what the topics are. And then there's a little subtopics underneath each topic. And then you can also click on purchase now. And right now is, is some early bird pricing going on until November 1st and then after November 1 it will go up.
Katie Utterback:
48:09
Very cool. And that course. Is this something that people can just do on their own time? Kind of like a Webinar?
Laura Coleman:
48:16
Correct. Yep. It's, um, the, they can go online and it'll download onto their computer and, um, they'll be able to have the printables and the webinars and the, you know, multimedia, PDFs, um, the excel, all of that will be able to come right onto the computer through, um, I use Thinkific.
Katie Utterback:
48:38
Okay. You know, this just seems like such a niche area in the world of finance. I mean, you must've had people tell you that it was amazing to find you to find somebody who's been on that same path, experienced the same struggles, disappointments, fears, hopes, yeah. And to help them come out on the other side.
Laura Coleman:
49:04
So in my seven years of being a financial coach, I remember I was sitting down with a couple and they were really embarrassed about talking to me. They, said well, we're, we want to borrow some money. And I'm like, well, what do you want to borrow money for? You know, what is it that you're wanting to accomplish? Tell me about your goals. And they're like, well, um, well, we, we want to do fertility. And I was like oh my gosh! I did fertility! So I think they were, they were taking aback, but then I saw this sense of relief come across their face like, oh, she knows what it's like. I've been there, I know the emotions that's going into it. And it was almost the sense I got from them was it was so nice to have someone hold my hands and, and that's what I do is it's like I'm holding your hand through this journey and you have this desire. Let me help you reach that desire and let me take away that stress that you were having towards money and let's build a plan together because it is super stressful but I'm here for ya. I know what it's like, and so that's, that's the sense that I get whenever I meet with couples and talk to them about their money and, and they have this dream of having that forever family. I'm like, Hey, I've been there. Let's do it together.
Katie Utterback:
50:41
Laura, I'm just so enamored with you. I just, I love everything about this and I love how optimistic you are about how you can have the family that you want. Even if it wasn't your plan. A
Laura Coleman:
50:55
thank you.
Katie Utterback:
50:57
So you kind of mentioned your website before, family money coaching. Yes. So that's where people can go. And you also have a podcast. What's the name of your podcast?
Laura Coleman:
51:07
It's called family money coaching as well.
Katie Utterback:
51:09
Okay. And where can they find you on that?
Laura Coleman:
51:12
Um, so you can, it can be found on my website. Um, but it's also on Podbean, iTunes, Google play, stitcher,
Katie Utterback:
51:25
wherever you can like find wherever there's a podcast, that's where you are.
Laura Coleman:
51:31
That's where I'm at. Yeah.
Katie Utterback:
51:33
That's sounds great.
Laura Coleman:
51:34
And then I also on my social media on Instagram, there's a really, uh, quite an active community on Instagram for fertility and adoption. And I just joined Instagram in August. And so I'm very, very excited to find that enthusiastic community on Instagram. And so you can find me at, at family money coaching and I like to post really, um, inspiration, ideas about money, about marriage, about communicating. I'm talking about ideas that you can have about raising the funds, money concepts. And then also you can also find me on Facebook if you're a Facebook junkie. And that's at family money coaching as well.
Katie Utterback:
52:25
That sounds great. Laura Coleman, thank you so very much for joining us on the show today.
Felipe Arevalo:
52:31
Yes, thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much
Chase Peckham:
52:36
And now a little follow up with myself, Phil and Katie.
Katie Utterback:
52:41
This terrifies me though this topic because I feel like this is kind of my life in the next couple of years like I don't know if my husband and I are going to have issues with fertility, but it's something that like financially is kind of top of mind for me where I don't want to
Chase Peckham:
53:01
start that to start saving just in case you have to go through that situation.
Katie Utterback:
53:06
I don't know.
Felipe Arevalo:
53:07
You should start saving just in case for baby.
Chase Peckham:
53:09
You should just start saving period. because babies are expensive. Kids are expensive. Yeah.
Katie Utterback:
53:18
Right. We had a whole podcast episode on that. That one scared me too.
Felipe Arevalo:
53:20
Yeah, we did talk about it all the time and you know and she mentioned it to that is aside from preparing financially for the adoption process, you can't bleed yourself dry because you know there's this new expenses that are coming along. Once you are successful and you know, kids are aren't cheap. Sorry Katie. I don't want to scare you anymore.
Chase Peckham:
53:40
We've had friends that adopted in Japan. Um, they live in Florida of, of um, you know, speaking of our last podcast we did. Um, and they, and it was a long process. I mean, even beyond the finances of it. They, he's a successful real estate, um, guy out there, but still the idea of how much money they were spending to just go across the Pacific Ocean, not knowing when a, it was a constant stress on them. I have close friends that, uh, had to have, they were, they had surrogacy. Uh, they went that route because they really wanted children, I don't know, but they spent upwards of a hundreds of thousands of dollars to do that. Um, because not only did they have to go through the science part of it, they had to pay the surrogate and this, you know, and they had different surrogates each time, which was, you know, that's interesting into itself. But the, the psychological roller coaster, the emotional roller coaster that you've got to go through, um, with all of this because of the uncertainty, the processes, um, you know, these are people that want a child more than anything. They should be commended because it's, it's a lot more difficult than those of us that just did it the traditional way. And, you know, I, I think in feel for those people that can't get pregnant, how hard that must be. Um, and you know, God willing, and you know, I pray to God all the time that my wife and I were lucky enough to be able to have children and, and do it that way. But, you know, not everybody can, not everybody has that. I have many, many friends that were not fertile for one reason or another. And beyond the finances of it, the psychological part of it, and then you throw the finances in it. I mean, we were talking before we started recording and you mentioned the, the idea of, you know, you're doing it, you're rolling the dice. You don't know if you're, if this 40 grand that you're putting down, uh, will even work because you, you haven't even gotten to the process yet.
Katie Utterback:
55:57
Right.
Chase Peckham:
55:58
And that, that would scare the crap out of me.
Katie Utterback:
56:01
Yeah. And I think it, there's an extra layer of scariness for me because it is so unknown for me personally. I don't know, but I've watched so many of my really good friends in college struggle with it and I had one friend that I had in college, she had one baby. Um, naturally everything was fine, but she had to have an emergency hysterectomy right after the delivery and it turned out that her sister was willing to be a surrogate for her so they didn't incur a lot of the expenses that you would maybe incur if you had to get a surrogate from like an agency or something. But I mean, just she would tell me it was a tremendous weight off of her shoulders knowing it was her sister because just the health and taking care of the baby while it's growing inside. It was like, that was a pressure point that wasn't exactly there for them. Um, but I had another friend wasn't able to really find a surrogate. Um, and they ended up going an adoption route, but a complication layer in their adoption was they, they already had a daughter and their, uh, Caucasian white family, they wanted to get adopt a kid that would blend in a little bit more. Um, so that they didn't have one kid who maybe felt different than the family and the baby was born and the baby was not Caucasian. It was the baby ended up, um, the, the mom didn't know the birth father. So once the baby was born, it was determined. He was, um, a mixed baby. He's so beautiful. He's half African American, half Irish. Oh my goodness. So cute. Um, but, and it worked, but there was just like this financial pressure to when they brought that baby home, um, they couldn't tell their daughter that she had a new brother because there's also that time period where the birth mother could change her mind. Right. So there's a whole lot of emotional factors plus financial factors. She didn't want to completely create a nursery because she didn't know if it was gonna be taken away.
Chase Peckham:
58:12
Those days must have been very slow. Oh yeah. You want to talk about the calendar for like counting out the days? I can't even imagine that.
Katie Utterback:
58:22
No, but I think my biggest takeaway from this is that as somebody that I'm open, I will acknowledge I want a family. I don't know how it's going to form, but it's going to happen in one way or another that I need to maybe start planning. Like you guys were telling me I need to start saving now. And it doesn't matter if it's turns out to be an adoption fund or it turns out to be a delivery fund or whatever that's toward building a family.
Chase Peckham:
58:52
And it may be that that's just money that you'll end up saving that's going to be in your savings for retirement or college someday. Yeah. There it's never a bad idea to start saving for whatever reason it is. And if it's saving because you think we don't know if they'll get pregnant. Um, I mean that's kind of morbid to think about, right? But if you're just saving to save that's still going to be there with whatever life throws at you, no matter whether it's a family, if it's health issues, if it's car issues, whatever it might be, it's never a bad idea to start putting that money away. And if it happens to be where you have to go through the adoption or the IVF or any of those different things, then you're, you're prepared for it. But I don't think it's a bad idea to start thinking about and looking into that stuff even before as long as you, you know, psychologically don't get completely run down by it and you, you're just ready to have children with whichever way they come.
Katie Utterback:
59:54
Yeah. And I liked how Laura phrase that, I liked how she was saying that her goal was to have a family. And I guess that's why I wanted to borrow that terminology of having that goal and then being able to be kind of flexible if it doesn't pan out exactly the way you want it to be. And I think that could be applied to your budget and other areas too.
Chase Peckham:
60:15
Keri and I we did talk about it. I ended up, we did talk about that we didn't, and I never really thought of it as a possibility and that, and I don't mean to sound bad that way, it's just my whole family was incredibly fertile. I mean, there's stories about, you know, I mentioned earlier that my wife and I sneezed and we got pregnant and I say that in jest, but it was like that from my grandparents on my mom's side. My grandparents on my, my dad's side. Um, my parents didn't have any problems. So just to me in our background, I'm like, oh, well, you know, Peckhams just have babies. But, um, it's not always going to be the case. But we did talk about if we couldn't have kids on our own, would we adopt, would we? And yes, my wife always said I would love a cute little Chinese baby. They're just adorable. Um, and you know,
Felipe Arevalo:
61:09
and, and she mentioned in, in the interview that that was her, her new plan, a, you know, she had her plan on how she was going to form her family and that plan didn't work and she just formed her family anyways with her now plan a way of doing things.
Chase Peckham:
61:29
Yeah. I mean, you can't think of it. I would imagine psychologically you can't think that this is plan C or d. Right. I just don't think it would work well that way. You'd have to say, that plan didn't work. Here's plan a again. Right.
Katie Utterback:
61:45
I do think that that's where planning and budgeting comes to your benefit because it kind of removes that scarcity mindset a little bit. So when you have that savings account of maybe $40,000 set aside for it, this is going to help us start a family. It doesn't matter if plan A. Right.
Chase Peckham:
62:04
You know, that's a good way of thinking it. Yeah. That'll work in any scenario.
Katie Utterback:
62:10
Yeah, exactly. With a car or House.
Chase Peckham:
62:13
Yeah. I think you're going to be fine. But it's not about, I mean, like I said before, it's not a bad idea to start now as it's start saving for anything, having goals, whatever those goals are, if it's to have a family, a new car, I mean a new house, whatever it might be. That's the way you should think about it. Like we're planning for the future. Yeah. Period. And that's a good way to go. You know, I was, um, I missed this interview and I'm, and I'm sad. I, I did, but while you guys were doing this interview, we were in Mexico, spending time with my family and my kids, and I'm telling you, I came back as refreshed as I ever have. And I usually, that's not the case because I like to joke, my wife and I like to joke that kids really can take it out of you and they can, but they're at a point right now, the, the look on my kids' faces when they were, were going snorkeling and there are 200 dolphins around our boat, the giant pods, 200 of them. And you look at their faces in just complete awe. And the smiles and the experiences that they're getting right there. You can't, you can't buy that. It is, it is the most incredible feeling of being able to give your child and experience that with them. Um, like my wife said when we got home that night and we got back to the hotel and the kids were sleeping and we're sitting out on the front porch and we're having a drink and, and she just says, can you believe what we experienced with them today? They'll remember that for the rest of their lives. They'll tell their kids about that someday. And like they're dolphin experts because they got to dance with the dolphins. You know? Um, it, it's incredible to be a parent and knowing what I know now, I think I would have done anything even financially to do that. And I commend people that do. I really do.
Katie Utterback:
64:17
Well, you guys both have kids. This kind of came up on the, on the podcast too. If you could go back in time, would you try to save more money or put more money aside so that you could, yes. I see you shaking your head, Chase.
Chase Peckham:
64:31
Yes, yes, yes. Always. Absolutely. Um, she, yeah, always.
Felipe Arevalo:
64:43
kids are, they're great. And, but there's always it with anything else. The added expenses we mentioned in the earlier podcast that we did on, uh, you know, saving for baby and there's always that unknown and everyone always tells me, oh wait until they start playing this and that. Uh, and especially Chase, oh wait until they start. Um, and now I got the email, hey, do you want to coach? No, I don't really. But you know, it's always a yes, you definitely want to,
Chase Peckham:
65:20
you do, uh, you know, people talk about is it worth going to happy hour when people say yes or ask you and you say yes. And I think that's what you gotta ask yourself. Um, because money always has a way of going in many different directions and you have to just kind of prioritize what it is that you want to accomplish and, and then put, earmark that money towards that. At least some. Yeah, at least some. But again, that's very difficult to do use for a lot of people, a lot of people. Because when, if you don't write it down, if you don't have that goal, and I think family wanting a family, like she mentioned that that became everything and you know, if that's becoming everything then you're putting all of that in there, then you're all in and you go. Um, it's just, you've gotta be careful on both ends because things don't always work out. But that you said it perfectly, that money can be earmarked for any of the different ways that you can go about becoming a parent. It's an emotional thing. It's funny. Yeah. To me, I can't imagine not having my kids. So you know, someday you're going to feel that and even more so because of being a mom there is something about being a mom that's different than you know, being a dad you definitely have more connection, that's for sure.
Felipe Arevalo:
66:54
I think I would agree.
Katie Utterback:
66:58
I think I'm aware of that. I feel like kind of a responsibility to as to like, that's exactly why I need to take these next years, few years, and just really do everything I want to or like I
Felipe Arevalo:
67:12
check off some things before for a little Katie's running around.
Katie Utterback:
67:17
I know myself. I know I'm going to prioritize them and definitely be that like ferocious mom that's trying to be relaxed, but I'm not really
Chase Peckham:
67:26
time for a new podcast because that we can discuss. I'm not kidding that that is a good, we're going to have that conversation next. Let's do it. I want that podcast conference call conversation because you mentioned priority. Yeah. That you're going to prioritize them over you. Yes, and we're going to have a discussion like that is not a good idea. [Crosstalk]