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A question about finances(10 Posts)
Just a quick question about how closely finances are checked during the adoption process? We've got a few debts which we're chipping away at (mostly on 0% interest credit cards but probably adds up to about 9 grand) we both earn an okay wage and are meeting repayments. We can cover all our outgoings with a bit to spare (which we're using to make extra payments when we can) Just wondered if this would be likely to impact on us being accepted to apply to adopt at this stage or whether we need to get them all cleared before we even think about applying?
How long do you think it will take to pay them off?
They basically will want to make sure you can cope with a dip in earnings through adoption leave, which you may well need at least the full year (possibly longer), plus the added costs of feeding, clothing, and entertaining small people.
They will ask you to look at your current incomingsalary and outgoings, and your projected ins and outs post-placement.
Thanks for your reply. We're trying to pay off about £400 a month on top of minimum payments so probably about 22 months to get them paid off.
To be honest we probably get a bit spendy and treat ourselves quite a bit so we need to tighten our belts really and we could probably pay off a bigger chunk. It's hard as we're trying to build an enjoyable life for ourselves...we're trying to fill a children shaped hole so end up spending out on trips away and nice restaurants which ends up costing money that we really should be saving towards our future family!
I guess we can also still be chipping away at the debt during the application and assessment process and we'll have an end goal in site so we might not feel the need to treat ourselves so much!
Thanks so much for your reply xx
Our social worker asked how much we earn and what our disposable income was, but didn't ask for proof of either. I was armed with spreadsheets, wage slips and copies of bills but never needed to use them.
That'd be great, I can answer those ones easy peasy! I used to work in a SW team so read a lot of PARs and i remember them mentioning finances but some were more detailed than others. I know ones from our authority had details about who was taking leave, how long for and whether they could afford for someone to stay off work/ reduce their hours if needed but have no idea how indepth the questions are and how much evidence they needed. TBH we'd probably go with a neighbouring authority so that's a moot point! I wouldn't even have a clue where to start on budgeting for LOs how did people figure that out?
Our agency asked for this form & we had to show our bank statements, credit card bills & wage slips for last 3 months I think. Basically just had to show that we stay in the black each month and are not living hand to mouth.
We also had to say how we would change our spending habits, like you we pointed out things that we do because we can (evenings out, gig tickets, take aways, itunes & amazon habits) but that we'd mainly be too busy for these when we got our DC!
We had to complete expenditure form and provide bank statements/mortgage etc. I would strongly advise you try and tighten your belts. If you are on adoption leave your money will be less ( I presume).
I had to provide evidence of: outstanding mortgage, any loans or credit card statements, salary, and three months' bank statements. Then went through them together with the SW, discussing any queries. What the SW wanted to see was evidence that I was living within my means, and that I had a plan in place for not just taking 12 months' adoption leave, but potentially having to extend that/return very part-time if the child needed more time with me. I'm glad they did this because it was almost 24 months before I was able to go back to work even part-time, and by that point my previously healthy savings were pretty much dust.
In terms of you predicting LO costs I'd consider - prices of a few local childcare options (even though you won't be needing them for ages and ages, it gives you a ballpark); if the child has additional needs, the childcare will be more expensive; value of any child tax credits/child benefit you would receive; value and duration of any adoption and parental leave pay, especially if above statutory. Guesstimate an amount for the fact they keep growing out of things, especially shoes! Depending on the child's age, you'll have costs like car seats, pushchair etc. But by far the biggest financial consideration is extended loss of income.
Putting aside the issue of passimg the assessment - as part of your own preparation for adoption you should probably talk about the ways that you as a couple and as individuals handle stress.
If your current way is spending money on things you can't afford, you will need to develop other ways of coping. I know it's easy to think " oh this is all about dealing with infertility and once we adopt, everything will be ok" .
Sadly it's not that easy. Adoption isn't a panacea for every probelm in life. It won't cure your infertility although it will change your childlessness.
But it WILL bring a lot of other stresses into your life, at a time when you will have a lot less money than you have now. Many adopted children can't cope with child care and yu nay both label to go part time or one of you take an extended career break.
So you really need to develop healthier coping mechanisms that don't involve getting into debt. Otherwise you will end up angry and frustrated with each other and with your kids because you can't have the treats that you used to and it's the other persons /the kids fault. Or yu will get back into debt.
I'm sorry, I know you don't want to hear this. But I really think it's essential for you longer term.
Hi Kr1stina, thanks for your reply.
I probably wasn't very clear/was a bit flippant when i said we're filling a child shaped hole. There seem to have be a few assumptions made in your reply so just wanted to clarify; the debts we've accrued were actually well before we even started ttc. More linked to discovering the joys of a credit card in my early 20s and various other incidents of 'bad luck' involving cars being stolen, a car being set on fire (we were living on a particularly dodgy estate) boilers going, paying for our wedding etc etc. We don't actually use spending as a coping mechanism. What I actually meant is that we are working hard to build an ejoyable and satisfying life for ourselves which can include trips away and going out to eat because we can at the moment. We are living within our means and are putting around 4-500 a month towards our debts on top of minimum payment we just haven't prioritised clearing the debts as much as we would have done had we known an adoption assessment might be on the horizon. We aren't actually dealing with infertility, we have struggled with recurrent miscarriage and I certainly don't see adoption as a replacement/the magical answer. It's not something I have a rose tinted view of, I've worked with adopted and looked after children for the past ten years and currently work with adolescents at risk of family breakdown, a high proportion of which are young people who came to their families through adoption. I'm very conscious that this does not mean I will have any idea of what the experience of being a parent through adoption will be like, however it makes me very aware of what 'worst case scenario' can look like as these are the only examples of adoption I ever come across at the moment.
Also, thank you for your concern about my coping mechanisms, I have a daily mindfulness practice as well as being a CBT and DBT practitioner which means I have to be able to practice the coping skills I advocate for my clients. I work very hard to maintain a good standard of self care and avoiding maladaptive coping mechanisms. I'm grateful that you took the time to respond to me, I'm not sure I was clear in my messages or perhaps you filled in some of the gaps in your head. Maybe a bit of both.
Thanks so much for everyone who has answered my questions. I'm just trying to get my head round all of this. The practical advice on budgeting and especially the example of the form you were given. It's helpful trying to join up all the pieces of the jigsaw. Sounds as though it varies between authorities how rigourously they check finances.
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