Recently on The Dave Ramsey Show, Dave interviewed Julie Gumm, author of the new book, Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption. Julie and her husband have adopted two children and didn’t go into a dime of debt to do it.
Here are some of the highlights of that interview.
Dave: When did your family start your debt-free journey?
Julie: My husband started listening to your radio show, but it was really when we attended one of your Live Events back in 2000 that kind of got us started on our debt-free journey. We paid off about $30,000 in consumer debt, which took us about nine months. We ended up bringing Financial Peace University (FPU) to our church and leading it for several years. We started working the Baby Steps. It was about November 2007 when we paid off our mortgage. That was kind of our last big debt hurdle.
Where in this process did adoption talk start?
Julie: When we paid off debt and suddenly had some of that money freed up to do other things, my husband and I realized we’d gotten used to doing without and giving up things. When we had the money to do them, they weren’t really that important anymore. We just started looking at ways that we could give generously. That opened our eyes to the needs around us in our local community and internationally. That ended up in our adoption story.
My husband was reading Scripture one day and came across James 1:27 that says, “Religion that is pure in fault, care for the widow and orphan in their distress.” We had to really decide what that looked like for us. What does caring for the orphan look like for us? It doesn’t mean adoption for everybody. We really felt God leading us to adoption and then looked at the different ways that we could do that. God told us specifically that there were these two amazing children in Ethiopia who were eight and six at the time. They were meant for our family.
How do you adopt without going $50,000 in debt?
Julie: There are basically three ways that I talk about in the book. One of them is finding money you already have—which hopefully, your listeners are starting to do a budget, cut costs, and trim expenses that they already have.
The second is grants. There are 27 different grant organizations I found that are trying to give money away to adoptive families. You can apply for those.
The third one is creative fundraising ideas. There are all kinds of stories that adoptive families gave me. There are 25 families I featured in the book with different creative ideas that they’ve done to raise funds for their adoption.
So what are some of the coolest fundraising ideas you’ve heard people do?
Julie: One I absolutely love is kind of a combination grant and fundraising. It’s called the Both Hands Foundation, and it actually uses the adoptive family and a team of their family and friends doing a work project at a widow’s home and raising funds from family and friends as they do that to help with adoption costs. I just think it’s a really cool pairing of that Scripture. The average family who does one of these Both Hands projects raises $10,000 for their adoption expenses, which is unbelievable.
Julie is married to her high-school sweetheart and is the mother of four children from two continents. She and her husband, Mark, finished paying off $235,000 in debt, including their house, in 2007. They have been dreaming and living God-sized, debt-free dreams ever since. Julie blogs about their crazy, fun-filled life at fourplusmore.com.
She loves networking with other adoptive parents and speaking to groups on adoption, global orphan care and debt freedom.
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