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Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Navigating The Cost Of Traditional Burial Versus Cremation

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be hard, especially when you have to decide what kind of services you want to invest in, how much money you’re able to spend, and whether you’ll choose a traditional burial or cremation. As prices continue to rise for the average cost of funeral services, individuals grieving the death of family members are often faced with a tough decision: what can be afforded and what simply can’t? Continue reading to learn about the facts of traditional burial versus cremation, when it’s best to purchase a burial plot, and the cost involved in each.

How Purchasing Burial Plots and Urns in Advance Can Save Money

Determining the time that you purchase a burial plot is important due to several factors:

  • Since funeral and burial plot prices continue to rise over time (see below for more on cost), purchasing a plot in advance (before death) can be more cost effective.
  • As time marches on, the honest truth is that the location you’re envisioning for a burial may fill up– locations don’t last forever. Buying a plot in advance can help to secure the location you want so you won’t have to worry later.

If you’re considering cremation, buying an urn in advance can help you to save money (urns available online or from a merchant can be cheaper than buying directly from the funeral home).

Comparing the Cost Factor

As each year passes, it becomes increasingly more costly to hold a funeral in America. While prices were well under a thousand dollars only fifty years ago, the average cost of an adult funeral is now $7,045. Since that price includes a casket and burial expenses, it’s not surprising to learn that taking quite a few of these costs out of the picture reduces the price significantly. Most services involving cremation cost one third of those who decide upon traditional burial, which is why the popularity of cremation in modern funerals has soared in recent years.

How to Save With Traditional Burial

If you’re thinking of sticking with a traditional burial, you can still find ways to save money during the funeral process. Depending on how you best desire to honor your loved one, you may consider different kinds of grave markers as well as the location of burial and the funeral home you will be using.

While services provided between funeral homes are similar, prices can vary greatly between homes in the same city– so don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions over the phone to find out who has the best price for quality service. Contact a funeral home like Fluehr Funeral Home for more information.

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Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

A D.C.’s Older Bride’s Guide To Wedding Dresses–Or Not

What’s the state with the oldest median age for a first-time bride? That would be the District of Columbia with an average age of 29.7. So what kind of wedding dress does a nearly 30-year-old woman search for? Well, it depends on her tastes, personality, and body type. Sure, the D.C. bride is about 7 years older than the average 23-year-old bride in Iowa. But it doesn’t mean that she wants to be any less radiant and sexy on her big day.

Mature Thinking Doesn’t Mean Matronly

Wedding dresses for the over 30 crowd can still be trendy with halter-style, form-fitting gowns in non-traditional colors like pastels and cool tones that shine like jewels. Conversely, some brides head to the bridal shop with tradition in mind, but want more than a sweetheart neckline, A-line bodice, and a long, flowing train.

Women who wait longer to marry often have specific ideas about how their wedding dress should reflect their maturity, career, and economic station in life. There are many professional women in the District of Columbia who work with the government, local universities, or own their own business, who wish to project a certain amount of elegance in their style selection that reflects the work they’ve put into their careers.

Over 30 Style Doesn’t Always Mean “Mature”

Older first-time brides may find that heading to the bridal store isn’t on their list of priorities. If the wedding is more intimate or in a non-religious venue, the bride may elect to wear something more casual like a pantsuit or an outfit that puts the “life” in lifestyle. Getting married on a beach in a sarong and flip-flops might be the way she rolls.

Many brides opt for wedding dresses that can be reworked into something that they can wear more than once. Many gowns can be altered into tea-length dresses that can be worn on nights out on the town or for that first anniversary. Pantsuits can be worn to work or to a special occasion. Practicality is often a big consideration for new brides, over a one-time luxury that can never be worn again.

Bottom-Line? It’s Your Day

Consider color, length, fit, and finances when you decide what to wear on your wedding day. Whichever dress you choose, you need to keep in mind that your choice of attire should make you feel beautiful, sexy, happy and ready to face the world with confidence–no matter if you live in a high-powered town like the District of Columbia or in a Midwestern Iowa suburb.

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Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

How To Save Money On An Unexpected Funeral

If you recently had a loved one die unexpectedly, it can be a very traumatizing time. The last thing you probably want to think about are funeral services, but unfortunately, someone is going to have to step up and do it. If your loved one did not have a set plan for their funeral before they went, the amount of options open to you are overwhelming. Here are a few ways to make sure you give your loved one the send off they deserve, but without putting anyone into debt.

Talk with the Family About Cremation

If your loved one did not have a preference either way when it comes to burial versus cremation, talk about the situation with the rest of the family. Some may have strong opinions, but keep in mind that cremating is generally less expensive than a traditional burial. You can also keep your loved one’s urn with you in your house, which also helps avoid burial costs.

Read the Funeral Home’s Contract in Detail

Funeral homes are generally up front and try to be as helpful as possible, but you should still read the contract before signing it. One way that a funeral can end up being more expensive than expected is if you ask the funeral director to take care of certain things for you. A funeral home can help you with third party arrangements like flowers or an organist, etc. But there are sometimes additional service fees that you will have to pay in exchange for the funeral home taking care of some of these things for you.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

When a loved one dies, you are obviously going to be emotional, but the key is to not let this have an effect on your spending. You may want to give your loved one a beautiful send off, but consider that funerals are largely for those that are still living, not the person in the casket or the urn. If you are having trouble with your emotions, ask other family members to help you out.

Having to plan the funeral of someone that was close to you can be a very sad experience. Most funeral homes like Christmans Funeral Home Inc will be very understanding and do all they can to help you. But you should still take some measures to try and keep the cost of the funeral services in check. Read the funeral home’s contract before signing and lean on your family members if you need help trying to keep your emotions in check.

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Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Is An Open Adoption Right For You And Your Unborn Child?

Are you currently pregnant and considering placing your child up for adoption? If so, you may find that you are dealing with a complex combination of emotions during this time, including guilt and anxiety. For many birth parents, choosing to use an open adoption process can help to alleviate these feelings and make them more comfortable with the idea of giving their child to another family to raise. Taking the time to consider the many benefits of an open adoption can help you to decide if this process is right for you and your unborn child.

An Open Adoption Allows You To Personally Vet The Family Who Will Care For Your Child

When using a traditional closed adoption process, you can be left with a lot of questions concerning how your child is being cared for and you may find yourself worrying about whether or not they found a good home. This worry can lead to feelings of guilt by many birth parents. The use of an open adoption process can eliminate this type of worry by allowing you to not only meet, but to vet the adoptive parents yourself. The more you learn about the family who will raise your child as their own, the more comfortable you will feel with your decision to place your child in their care.

An Open Adoption Allows You To Set The Terms Of Your Child’s Adoption

With an open adoption, there really are no rules that are set in stone. Instead, the boundaries of this adoption will be agreed upon by you and the adoptive parents. While not all birth parents choose to have any interaction with the family after the adoption is complete, others will request annual photographs of the child or even request to be part of the child’s life in a capacity other than that of their parent.

While the terms of an open adoption can vary greatly from one case to the next, the simple fact that you can create any requirements you desire for the adoption of your child can be enough to eliminate any anxiety you may have regarding this process.

An Open Adoption Allows For The Open Exchange Of Information

Family history and medical information can be extremely important to your child’s well being as they grow older. Unfortunately, with traditional adoptions, this information is often limited or nonexistent. Consequently, birth parents and adopted children often struggle to make medical decisions and seek out appropriate preventative care.

Thanks to the open lines of communication during an open adoption, important information regarding the child’s health and family history can easily be obtained.

A Final Thought

Putting your child up for adoption can be the most difficult and selfless act you ever complete. While the decision to give your child up will never be easy, choosing to go forward with an open adoption can make this decision just a bit easier. For further information, check out

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Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

8 Tips For Preparing For An International Adoption Trip

International adoptions present their own special challenge. One of those involves your preparations to travel to the country from which you plan to adopt. Here are eight ways you can plan ahead for your international adoption trip.

  1. Check security alerts. The United States State Department keeps a running list of countries with security issues. The list contains specifics regarding the alerts such as threats of terrorist acts. You might need to reschedule your trip for safety reasons if the country you are traveling to has an active alert. 
  2. Learn the culture. Take some time and read guidebooks and research the culture in the area in which you are traveling. Learn how to say simple words and phrases such as “thank you” in the native language for the country.
  3. Prepare your funds. Some countries do not accept certain credit cards and travelers checks. Find out ahead of time the acceptable forms of currency so that you have funds available to you during your travel.
  4. Purchase donations for the orphanage. Call the orphanage and find out if there are any items that are needed and take some along with you. For instance, some orphanages need formula and toys. 
  5. Check your health insurance. You want to ensure that your health insurance policy covers you while you are traveling. You might need to purchase supplemental coverage to provide care during your trip.
  6. Make copies of all your documents. In the event that any forms that you need to take with you are lost, having a copy can prevent a delay in your adoption. Take one copy with you and leave another with a trusted person who can fax or express mail it to you if necessary.
  7. Pack the essentials. If you are picking up your child on this trip, remember that you will have to bring back his or her belongings on the return trip. Pack clothes and personal care items for your child so that he or she has them available on the way home.
  8. Contact your adoption agency. The adoption agency might have some last minute instructions for you. Complete any tasks you are given ahead of the trip to avoid delays. 

In the excitement of going to meet and pick up your child, you might forget some things. By taking steps, such as checking your currency, you can make sure the trip goes as smoothly as possible. Rely on your adoption agency for additional help with preparations. For more information, contact Global Adoption Services Incorporated.

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Adoption Agencies: Public Vs Private

If you are contemplating adopting a child, it’s good idea to have an agency to facilitate the process. Agencies have experience in matching children with parents and dealing with the legalities involved in adopting a child.

There are two types of adoption agencies, private and public. This article will discuss the differences between the two so you can determine which type is best for your situation.

General Differences

Private agencies are typically owned and operated by nonprofit organizations or charities. They are typically much more selective than public adoption agencies due to the fact that they have a large number of parents who are looking to adopt from a smaller pool of children.

Private agencies tend to deal with younger children, typically infants. Additionally, private agencies provide more resources for both parties. This usually includes counseling, advice, etc.

Private organizations generally use the following criteria to select the adoptive parents:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Personal history
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Income
  • Marital status

Public agencies are organizations that are run by your state government. They typically facilitate foster care for children who are orphaned or abandoned.

The children in public adoption agencies are usually older. They typically do not provide adoptions for infants or other smaller children.

Public organizations do not normally offer the services that private institutions provide. This means that you will have to get educated on the adoption process on your own.

The Cost

When it comes to expense, private agencies are much more expensive than public agencies. Private agencies usually cover expenses related to medical costs for the birth mother, living expenses, and counseling.

Private agencies usually charge a flat fee for the entire adoption process. Others, however, may add the cost of the birth mother’s care to the fee. If you adopt a child through a private agency, you will pay about $34,000.

Public agencies are much less expensive. They usually will not require any payment to handle the adoption process. Since they do not provide most of the services that private agencies provide, they are able to handle the adoption without charging much.

Waiting Periods

When you are adopting a child through an agency, there is usually a waiting period. The length of these waiting periods can vary depending on the type of agency you use. Private agencies are typically quicker. The average private adoption can take anywhere from 1 month to a full year. The length of time for a public adoption can be anywhere from 1 month to 5 years.

Degree Of Uncertainty

There is a risk that the birth parents will decide not to give their child up for adoption. This creates a sense of uncertainty in any adoption process. The degree of uncertainty is different for public and private adoptions. Private adoption agencies have a lower level of uncertainty than public adoptions. Private adoptions are much more likely to succeed than public adoptions are, which make them a more reliable solution.

The services that private adoption agencies provide are designed to lower the risk of a failed adoption. This is why they provide counseling to both the adoptive parents and the birth parents. Public adoptions are much less certain than private adoptions. Foster parents tend to have much less control over the process than they would in private adoptions.

If you adopt a foster child, you won’t know how long you will actually be able to parent the child. If the child’s birth parents follow the guidelines needed to comply with the reintegration plan of the state, they will be given custody over their child. If this happens, you will need to go through the adoption process again. However, if the birth parents do decide to relinquish their parental rights, you may be able to legally complete the adoption. Even so, this is not guaranteed in a public adoption.

If you have other questions, try contacting a company like Family Creations Adoptions‚Äč to learn more.

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