Agency fee, homestudy fee, USCIS (US immigration) fee, certification and authentification fee and more fees. They are part of “Learning the Lingo” of adoption. All these fees equal money.
Oh heavens, we’re diving into the money question today. Sorry if it makes you squirm, but it’s a reality of adoption. It’s no big secret and it’s easy to do a quick Google search to get some numbers for reference.
When I did a search, I saw numbers like...$5,000-$40,000 for a private adoption, little to no expenses for adopting from foster care, and $7,000-$30,000 for international adoption. I would say for international adoption that is a very accurate number. Yes, that is a huge chunk of change, Jamie and I shrugged our shoulders and decided that what else would we do with the money...buy a nicer mini-van? It just seems like a silly conversation to have. That said, we did not have all that money sitting in the bank. I think we have that in common with many adoptive families.
The hopeful adoptive parents’ focus becomes how to raise the kind of funds to realize their dream of adopting a child. Frankly, I have seen a range of efforts, from the creative to mundane task of filling out more paperwork.
Here is a starter list:
- Loans, which have to repaid
- Grants, which do not have to be repaid
- Garage sales
- Fundraising/Support letters
- Employer reimbursement programs
- Silent auctions/online auctions
- Coupon clipping
- Tax credits/refunds (Link to IRS website)
- T-Shirt sales specific to your adoption (Wild Olive Tees Fundraiser Tees)
- Ask for people to donate Frequent Flyer Miles (if traveling internationally)
- Fundraising events (such a spaghetti dinners, car washes, bake sales, etc.)
And some families decide to forgo all of the above and start saving early or use savings to cash flow an adoption. Not everyone is comfortable fundraising (or at least in a public manner) for their adoption.
What does that money pay for? Well, it’s a bit complicated. There are agency fees, fees to the US government for processing applications, travel expenses, medical check-ups and other required steps. There are a lot of people involved in the process and it takes money to pay for their professional services. With some international adoptions (as in the case of adoptions from China), there is the added step of following Hague Adoption Convention procedures. The convention aims to prevent the abduction, sale of, or traffic of children, and it works to ensure that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children. Human trafficking is a huge problem world-wide, even in the United States and other developed countries, so I feel the steps are necessary. Unfortunately, it adds more paperwork (and time). Because the paperwork needs to be processed, more costs.
Finally, just a side note. Please, please, I beg of you, never ask someone how much their child cost. This process does not involve buying babies. Just like when I went to the hospital to have our first two children, I paid the professionals (the doctor, the nurses, etc.) for their services and the use of the hospital facility. The same is for adoption, you pay for the professional’s services and the process.
That’s enough of that. Tomorrow’s post is much lighter!
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