Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is Adoption Expensive?

Often it seems that one of the first things people think of when they hear the word adoption is “Wow, I’ve heard that’s really expensive.”
So, is adoption expensive? I think that largely depends on how you define expensive. Adoption most definitely does require a major commitment from parents -- emotionally and financially.
How much does adoption cost?
I will speak only for international adoption, since I’m not very familiar with domestic adoption. International adoption ranges from about $20,000 to $40,0000 and is largely dependent on the country from which one is adopting. Our adoption from Eastern Europe will cost around $25,000 - $30,000. This includes the home study, Adoption agency fees, Eastern Europe fees, fees for immigration paperwork, travel, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Why is adoption so expensive?
On the surface it seems that since there are so many children in need of homes that adoption should be free. In an ideal world, that would be the case. (Of course, in an ideal world, there also wouldn’t be any orphans.) Adoption is a very complex process with different parties involved every step of the way. There are social workers, administrators, government employees, caregivers, and others. All these people are compensated for the work they do (just like the rest of us are when we go to work everyday). When you consider everything that takes place in the adoption of a child (and in caring for the child up to the time he/she is placed in a new home), the expense of adoption begins to make a lot more sense.
As a side note, there seems to be among some people an idea that international adoption is full of corruption and that countries are profiting from “selling” babies to wealthy couples. I’m sure there are isolated instances of corruption in some countries, but I assure you that no one is getting rich in international adoption. Caring for children in orphanages or foster homes is very expensive, and the agencies/orphanages in foreign countries use adoption fees to help cover their expenses.
When I think about the enormity of what is taking place in an adoption – transferring parental rights from one party to another (especially when the parties involved live in two different countries on opposite sides of the world) – the complexities and expenses involved make a lot more sense. In a way, it wonderfully illustrates the high value of human life. (and by value, I am not referring to monetary value, but to the innate worth of human life) It shouldn’t be a simple process to move a child to a new country, a new culture, a new home, and most of all, to the care of new parents. If it were simply a matter of making a few phone calls and getting a child a few days later, I think it might on some level cause us to look at children as a commodity and miss seeing how incredibly valuable these little lives are. (Don’t get me wrong – I do wish adoption were a faster, easier, and less expensive process, but I appreciate the beauty in what’s represented by the anticipation, preparation, and cost involved in adoption.)
I’m afraid that many people let the expense of adoption keep them from seriously considering it for their families. If God has placed adoption on your heart, please don’t dismiss it because you think it’s just too expensive. If God leads you to adopt, He will provide the funds for that adoption. Now, His provision will almost certainly not be money falling from the sky and will most likely involve sacrifices on your part – quite likely big sacrifices, but I assure you that adopting a child will be worth every sacrifice you make.
I looked up expensive, and one definition I found is “price paid only for something special.” I like that definition. Something very special – and totally worth the long wait, emotional rollercoaster, and financial sacrifice! :-)

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