Adopting without debt – FWS004

FWS004 artworkCoach Mary and her husband had a plan – even though they weren’t sure exactly where that plan was taking them. They made the decision to forgo unnecessary vacations and spending their bonuses and lived on less than they earned.

After a few years they paid off their last consumer debt and found financial freedom to do whatever they wanted.

Listen to the interview with Coach Mary by clicking the play button above.

Summary transcript is below

Steve: Mary, you have a wonderful testimony that I would love to have you share with the audience. Before we get into all of that, tell people who is Mary Hayford.

Mary: Thanks for having me, Steve. As a professional, I am a financial coach, and I also teach financial education. I not only do it for work, but we live it in our lives every day.


Steve: How do you live it every day?

Mary: The first thing we do is we live on less than what we earn; it’s a conscious choice and a conscious decision. This is contrary to what our society dictates to us, but we’ve found it to be a smart choice.


Steve: And the reason you did this was to become a millionaire?

Mary: I don’t know if it was that clear to us back then; it started when we were in our early 30’s. We had seen many people work for years and years at their jobs, make a lot of money, and be very successful. Unfortunately, these people made the decision to spend everything they made. They spent additional money they made, like bonus checks, raises through the years. They weren’t able to enjoy the fruit of their labors because they weren’t saving anything. They were living month to month, spending everything they earned. It became clear to use that this is not how we wanted to live our own lives; we didn’t want to feel that way after decades of working.


Steve: That sounds like the typical American. So what was your end goal here?

Mary: The end goal in making the decision to live on less than what we made, and save for our retirement, and have an emergency fund, was that I knew that my current career was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. This was the driving force of us getting focused. The first thing this afforded us was to give us options to look at. So many people are in what they consider “dead end” careers that they despise going to every day; once we got out of debt we were able to have the option for me to consider leaving my full time job. It was not possible for us to do this or think about it in a responsible way until we paid off everything.


Steve: Most people would call that early retirement, but what you’re going to tell us about is the big life-changing event you guys are working on right now. By being debt free, you’re now about to adopt!

Mary: It’s very exciting! I consider myself living out two dreams at once for our family: I stopped working my first career, but I never stopped working all together. My husband and I have always wanted to have children; we felt that somehow, someway it was going to be possible and become real for us. So we continued all throughout our 30s and 40s to search for God’s plan for us to have children. Lo and behold, at ages 51 and 52, we are in the process of adopting two beautiful children. They are sisters age 10 and age 15.


Steve: That’s so great!! Would you say that five years ago you knew this was your plan?

Mary: No, we didn’t know this was our plan. It was our desire; we are very goal oriented and very patient. We felt that if this was really the true plan that God laid out for our life, then somehow, as long as we kept working toward it in our home life, marriage, and finances, God would allow it to happen.


Steve: The point I’m trying to lead to is that you didn’t know that this was your goal, but you continued just living on less than you make in order to get rid of that consumer debt. You’re actually consumer and mortgage debt free, is that correct?

Mary: Yes, we are completely debt free. What you just said is right on. At this stage of our life, in our early 50s, if we were saddled with a lifestyle that we spent everything we made, and if we didn’t have money for retirement, and if we had a big, hefty mortgage payment, bringing two children into our home would not have been a responsible decision that we would have considered.


Steve: And your desire was to be able to be home with the kids as much as possible?

Mary: I wanted to be able to position myself and our family, that if we were able to bring children into our home, that I was in a career that would allow me the flexibility to be here for the kids.


Steve: You did it!!!

Mary: I feel 100% certain that people who are working two full times jobs can still adequately meet the needs of their children, but I am sure however, that without the financial strain of needing two full time incomes has made a difference for us.


Steve: Would you caution a person, in their 30s with debt, against adoption? What would the roadblocks be for them?

Mary: I wouldn’t caution or deter them, but I would say that some people have felt that adoption wasn’t an option because in many cases adoptions can cost $30K to $40K in a private placement. We are adopting two girls that are in the foster care system and it’s not costing us anything. For people that want to adopt, but are worried about the cost, there are options out there. I encourage people to consider all the options, and not to allow money to be the reason they stop dreaming of having a family of their own.


Steve: I’m certainly not an expert on the adoption process, so can you give us an idea of what those options are that you were just referring to?

Mary: There are two main ways that people choose to adopt. One would be through a private attorney, either a domestic or international adoption. When you do either of those through a private placement, that necessitates a lot of work on the part of the attorney. The rate for this is about $30K-$40K per child right now. For many families that is not an option; for those that would consider adoption, we have a system here in the US that does not have a good reputation. It is the foster care system. These children have been removed from their homes for one reason or another. When you choose to go this route, you can adopt these children at essentially no cost to you. And children are available from all ages newborn to teenager. I encourage people that if it is your hope and dream to adopt, do your homework and look at your options.


Steve: Your testimony is wonderful; I love the idea that you didn’t exactly know what you were going to do, but by living on less than you make and paying off the debt, you have been able to make these choices. Adoption is a wonderful thing for those looking to increase the size of their family. Are there resources that you would like to direct our listeners to, that will help them discover their options?

Mary: I tell people to start local. Every municipality has an agency to obtain where they can obtain more information on adopting children. The second thing I tell people is to check online for the state agency. The third thing is to check online and look at national data base. Keep looking until you can connect with an agency and a child that you can work with and bring in as part of your family.

Coach Mary Hayford adopting without debtIf you would like to learn more about Coach Mary or any of our Financial Wellness Coaches, click on Find A Coach in the menu bar. This will take you to our coaching site, where you can find packages and options to find a coach that fits your needs.

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About The Author

Steve Stewart

Coach Steve has been helping everyday Americans pay attention, not interest, since 2007 after he and his wife paid off $15k in consumer debt and, using the principles he teaches, they paid off their house in 2015. You will find him using his passion and messaging gifts to create financial education content through speaking, blogging and coaching all over the United States. You can reach him by completing a contact form at