Monday, October 24, 2011

Why Do Foster & Adoptive Families Need Their Own Budget Blog?

As an avid reader of frugal living and couponing blogs, I have frequently thought of starting a blog to document my own attempts to live on a tighter budget. However, the thought recently occurred to me that as foster and adoptive families, we often have a set of financial circumstances that are different than your average family - And that regardless of financial circumstances, there are certain topics relating to budget living, green living, finance, household management, entertainment and shopping that are specific to those of us with foster or adoptive families. "Why?" You ask. "Aren't our families just the same as everyone else's except for how our children came to be in our lives?" Well, not exactly. Here are some ways that being a foster and adoptive family might impact one's finances:
  • A large number of us have children with special behavioral, mental health, educational, developmental and physical/medical needs. We may incur many expenses related to these needs, such as educational supplies, medical equipment, therapies not covered by insurance, tutors, special toys (such as sensory toys or adaptive toys), etc. 
  • Due to having young children, or having children with special needs, one parent must often stay home. This puts a financial burden on many families, leading them to seek areas to cut back their expenses and increase their income while staying at home.
  • Many of us have large families, and deal with the financial issues (such as massive food bills!) that any large family must deal with.
  • Those families with many children or who have foster children can benefit from reusing and recycling clothing and toys as much as possible.
  • Learning about inexpensive books about foster or adoptive parenting, free or inexpensive online seminars on parenting children with behavioral or attachment issues, discounts on adoption or special needs parenting conferences... These can all help families access the support and information they need.
  • For foster families, the logistics of home management and budgeting when you have a fluctuating number of children in your household who range in ages and genders and duration of stay can be very overwhelming.
  • Many of our families are multiracial, so we look for good deals on inexpensive, quality toys and books featuring children of color or multiracial families in order to help our children develop a positive self-image.
  • Foster families and families who adopt special needs children through the state may receive monthly stipends. These can be helpful with expenses but also pose budgeting challenges, especially when a family can lose this stipend at any time if their child is reunified with family or moved to a different placement.
  • Private adoptions and international adoptions can be incredibly expensive, leaving families in debt. These families can use saving and earning strategies to help themselves get back out of debt or to avoid debt in the first place.
  • Whether you have a large family or a small family with children of varying ages, foster and adoptive families can always use suggestions for free or cheap activities to do together.
  • Many adoptive and foster families homeschool, whether full-time or as supplemental schooling. Some due so because of personal or religious beliefs, but many do so because of their child's special learning, behavioral or attachment issues. They are often in search of cheap or free ideas for educational enrichment, and it's always a bonus if these ideas work for children with special needs and/or of varying ages.
Obviously there are many more ways that being an adoptive or foster family can increase our need for frugality, but I hope this gives you an idea of why I started this blog and what to expect from it. The issues raised above are topics I hope to address in future posts, and to hear your feedback on.

I welcome your ideas for posts. Feel free to alert me to sales, recipes, blogs or resources to share with my readers. And don't forget to share this blog with your friends!

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