Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why Does it Cost so Much?

I have thought and re thought how to word this post over the last few days. I was wondering if anyone noticed that I was behind and that award goes to Kristy. At first I thought that it would be easy to say why it can be so expensive, but the more I’ve thought and researched it, it’s not that easy. I’m sure some anti-adoption people would be appalled if they came across this post, but I don’t think they probably will. I guess I’ll try to put all of my ramblings into something coherent on the cost of adoption...without making this post long enough to be considered a book!

Before we even started I assumed we would never be able to do adoption because of the cost. There was no way we were going to be able to afford it. I’d watched all of those Datelines where the hopeful adoptive parents shell out major dollars to expectant parents in the hopes they will adopt the child. Even if we were one of the lucky ones who didn’t get “took”, how would we afford living expenses for someone else? With the way we drive, gas for ourselves is tough enough each month, let alone for another family. I had heard every horror story of the thousands of dollars spent in all of the red tape just to adopt a child, even if there were no birthparent expenses paid. Not only was I afraid of losing my heart in an adoption I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also afraid we’d loose our shirt…..along with our house and our cars…..It’s not that money is the most important thing in our lives, but I am rather attached to our house and I do like to eat .

How is this for a contradictory statement – adoption is expensive, but yet it’s not expensive. We chose to look at it as we’ve had car and student loans for almost the same amount as our adoption costs. Wouldn’t we be ok spending the same on another member of our family? Once we got into the actual adoption we realized that it wasn’t the huge amount we had expected. We also became confident that if God placed it on our hearts to adopt, then he would provide the money when we needed it. You all know how I’m a worrier and I can honestly say I have not worried about where the money for the adoption will come from. God has always taken care of us before and I know this won’t be any different.

The cost of adoption can range from very little (foster care adoptions) to as much as someone is willing to pay. That’s where it can get scary, there are more unethical adoptions out there then any of us realize or have even thought about. Remember my comment earlier in the post about having to pay for living expenses? Once I started learning about ethical and unethical adoptions, I found that some states won’t allow the adoptive parents to pay for the birthmothers expenses. Paying for the birthmother can be seen as a way to pressure her into adoption. I was relieved to learn that wouldn’t be expected of us and actually it was better if we didn’t do that. Don’t take this wrong, it’s not that we don’t want to help someone out, but I didn’t want to be responsible for everything. I just didn’t want to be placed in that situation.

So why does it cost so much? I’m writing about why it costs so much at our agency and for other ethical places. The number one thing that these agencies do are counsel the birthmothers about their options. There is a birthmother counselor who makes sure the expectant mother knows her options. They also help the expectant mother with different types of services and public assistance that may be available. They provide counseling for the birthmother after a placement. They will assist the adoptive families for as long as they are needed after an adoption. They will facilitate meetings between the birthmother and adoptive family for as long as necessary. The agency acts as the go between with the families. When updates are sent either way, they are sent to the agency and they forward them to the birthmother/adoptive family. There are also other parts of adoptions that people don’t like to think about, but essentially Jay and I are trying to market ourselves (the anti adoption people would really get me over that comment). We are paying for the agency to list us on their website as a waiting family. We are paying for someone who knows what they are doing to make sure the Termination of Parental Rights are done morally, ethically and correctly. We are paying someone to get a court date and present the TPR. I know there are a million other things that we are paying for that I don’t even know about because of still being a waiting family.

I know this post has been somewhat rambling but all of these reasons are why I get my shorts in a wad when people say “It costs too much”. They just have absolutely no idea what they are saying. So I guess this isn't much of an answer, but it's yes and no....yes the actually $ amount isn't cheap, but no it's not a lot when you think about all of the lives and hearts that are involved in one single adoption.

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