Monday, January 30, 2012

Becoming Debt Free...NO MORE CREDIT CARDS!!!

I was hoping to wrap up this series in 2011, but that just didn't happen!  However, I am able to wrap it up now!  If you hung in there and read all the posts in this series you understand just how long it's taken us to get to this point.

I'm happy to announce that as of this week we are paying off all of our debt except the mortgage!!! WooHoooo!!!  That means anything on credit will be paid in full!!!  I would love to throw out numerical figures for all of you too see, but after speaking with my husband he really didn't want the entire world knowing all of our business.  He's okay with me sharing our story, just not every aspect of it.  ;)

So, that being said....It was around this time last year when I got a message from a friend of mine.  We had both adopted children internationally a few years prior and she was informing me of a change the IRS made to the Adoption Tax Credit.  Here's a portion of what she wrote:
First of all, have you heard that it's refundable for the first time this year? Read this article and start planning your trip to Disneyworld! 

The "article" she referred to is found right HERE.

As you can all imagine, I was beyond thrilled once I understood what this meant for our family.  And the fact that this was retroactive back to 2005 meant that our adoption of Emalee was included in this change!

For the first time since we've been married I decided to have a CPA do our taxes.  We had to amend 2 prior years and then file for 2010 as well.  We got them mailed in April of last year and couldn't wait to get our return!

We didn't hear anything from the IRS until August when we got a letter stating that they were requesting more information about our adoption and we needed to send them "proof" of our adoption (which we did in April).  So, I made copies of everything (again) and sent it in.

We waited, and waited and waited some more....I grew impatient.  Very, very impatient!!!  I continued to get letters from the IRS.  In fact, I got a letter EVERY MONTH of 2011 that either said they were still working on our case, or that they needed more "proof" of Emalee's adoption.  I sent "proof" of Emalee's adoption to the IRS FOUR times!

This entire process has been a mess from the beginning.  The IRS was NOT ready for how many people would take them up on this new Adoption Tax Refund.  They were not prepared, didn't have enough staff to review the cases and on top of that had to make sure that the people who applied weren't committing tax fraud (which is on reason we had to send so much proof).

After a few months went by I applied for a Tax Advocate in November.  I heard from my Tax Advocate in December and she assured me that they were working on our case and that I would hear from her again in January.  Hmmm...I wasn't sure if I believed her at that point.
In fact, by the end of 2011 I figured that if we were going to get the return it would come, and if not...well, we'd just have to swallow that!

Last week, my Tax Advocate called to in form us that our case was finally approved!  She told us the amount of the refund and the mail out date.  I am so very happy to have this all over with!

Now, to the fun part of this story....

This was something Brian and I never planned on.  We knew back in 2007 when we adopted Emalee that there was an Adoption Tax Credit.  However, we didn't qualify for it due to the income guidelines.  We knew that the Lord wanted us to adopt Emalee, so not getting a tax credit wasn't going to stop us from adopting her.  You might recall in a previous post  that I shared a few ways that God was providing financially for this adoption.  He assured us that if we were to obey Him that He would provide.  It seriously was a  HUGE leap of faith on our part, because we knew that we didn't have the finances to see this adoption through.  But, God saw the bigger picture! (I think we forget that sometimes!)  ;)

Half of the amount we needed to adopt Emalee was provided by our church, family, friends and a couple of adoption grants.  The other half was on us!  We borrowed the money (something I still wouldn't recommend!) and just planned on paying it over the course of the next several years.  That was all fine and dandy until my health went South on me!  We started accumulating medical bills and found ourselves in a huge financial mess!

With a lot of hard work by cutting costs and saving every little bit we could,  we were able to pay off half of what we owed last year. When we saw how much we would be getting back on the Adoption Tax Refund we knew there was a great possibility of paying off all of our credit debt in full with it...and that's exactly what we've been able to do!

It feels so good to be out of bondage to the credit companies.  I can't tell you how much pressure is off our shoulders.   I can even physically see the change in my husband.  It makes me feel all the more happy about this situation just to know that he doesn't have to worry so much about providing.  By the way...he's an awesome provider for our family.  I couldn't have married a harder working man and am so grateful that the Lord put us together!  (Just an extra .02 cents from me!)

I don't want to wrap up this post without acknowledging that we believe this was definitely an act of God.  We don't know why he chose to bless us in this way.  All we can do is thank Him and do our best to never get in a situation like this again.  We've vowed to NEVER put medical bills on our credit cards again!  We will NOT be using our credit cards again either!  We are thrilled to finally be in a position where we can give more and save more.  We thank the Lord for providing for us in a way that we would have never imagined!  We're excited to see what the future holds!

If you haven't had a chance to read the many posts that I've written in this series you can find them all right HERE.

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