I had really been the driving force behind wanting to adopt, with Richy waiting for some kind of angelic visitation or divine revelation. Lucky for me, there’s a lot of divine revelation in the Bible about adoption. We filled out our pre-application in February, and were finished with the paperwork and the homestudy process by late May. Now, we wait.
I am going to talk about the practicals of adoption in upcoming posts- today, I’m just going to give a quick run-through of some adoption basics.
Adoption is confusing to a lot of people. It’s intimidating, the time, the paperwork, the money and the fear of not loving a non-biological child. Oh, and the concern that you may be adopting a hell-spawn that will terrorize you and end up having glowing red eyes and kill your pets.
And why does it cost so much? How could anyone ever adopt when figures are being thrown around are $20,000 to $40,000? Should people adopt when they can’t “afford” to pay for a baby? Why should you contribute to someone else’s adoption?
The overarching questions are, why adopt? Who should adopt? Who should not adopt? What is our Biblical responsibility toward orphans?
Let me say I am by no means an expert on adoption, but I do have some knowledge, strong opinions, and the Google.
I’ll start with some basics. There are 2 basic kinds of adoption,“regular” adoption (totally making that name up), which could be international or domestic, and foster adoption. I will leave out for now the discussion of short-term foster care, since that is not what I’m talking about today.
Foster adoption is typically free or extremely low cost, due to the high need for families for waiting children. I will now quote some internet statistics I believe to be true. Approximately 500,000 American kids were in foster care in 2006. Of that number 100,000+ are legally available for adoption.
That’s a heck of a lot of kids that need families right now. You can find waiting kids in your area by googling search terms like "waiting children". Be prepared, though. It will break your heart to look at the photolistings. Do it anyway, the Lord loves a broken heart.
Domestic adoption costs vary based on region, type of adoption, agency used, and the specific child and birthmother expenses. I have usually heard them ranging from about $10,000 to $25,000 pretty typically, with the occasional higher costs up to $40,000. Ethnic minority and special needs adoptions typically are a much lower cost, because of the difficulty finding homes for those children.
International adoption costs can vary but are estimated to be anywhere from about $8000 to about $30,000. Again, special needs kids are in desperate need of families, and their program costs will be lower.
If these numbers are overwhelming to you, take comfort in knowing that they really do vary, and it doesn’t always cost that much and also, that adoption fundraising is extremely common, for Christians and non-Christians alike, and you can do it, too.
But your real question was WHY does it cost so much? Another day…