Is It Expensive To Adopt?

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From time to time I get asked, “Is it expensive it is to adopt a child?”  The answer depends on what type of adoption you are pursuing.  Adoption can range from just a few thousand dollars in the case of adoptions through foster care to more than $40,000 for some foreign and private adoptions.

At the time that I’m writing this post (August 2018) I have very few readers that I know of, who are actively pursuing an adoption.  However, a couple of days ago a woman approached me with questions about the subject. Eventually she shared her concerns about raising the money so that she could adopt.

That interaction prompted me to write this post.  Even though it may not be of interest to most of my readers right now,  I want it to be here in my archives when someone may need this information.

The Real Expense of Adoption

The most expensive part of adoption of course is raising the child or children themselves.  The cost of an adoption, even an expensive one in most cases is less than the expense of feeding, clothing, diapering etc. a baby for two years.  And you are going to be financially responsible for that child for a whole lot longer than that.  If you understand that, then you are more than halfway towards determining whether or not you can pay for an adoption.

OK, But Seriously, How Expensive is it to Adopt a child?

Rather than reinventing the wheel I would suggest that you read this very good article that breaks down adoption expenses for all three types of adoption.

When Carrie and I adopted our oldest daughter, Grace, we had a pretty good savings to draw from, so we made a vacation out of her adoption trip.  We spent roughly a week in Beijing travelling to the Great Wall, and visiting tea and silk shops, followed by a week in the Chongqing Hilton and eating at Hot Pot restaurants.  We ended our trip with a week in Guangzhou staying at the famous White Swan Hotel.   When it came to our next five adoptions, we didn’t have any savings left.

So, How Do You Adopt When You Don’t Have Much Money?

You raise it.  That’s what we did.  The following is a list of ways we raised money for our adoptions:

  • We refinanced our mortgage and then used the equity to help fund our adoptions.
  • Carrie designed and sold “More Love Mama” T-shirts.
  • We had several garage sales and pretty much sold everything that was not nailed down. We even sold our wedding rings!
  • Carrie made blankets out of African Wax Print fabrics. That was the beginning of
  • I retired early from teaching and cashed out my retirement and used it to fund our adoptions.
  • Credit Cards – yep we did that too.  We pretty much made every bad financial decision we could.  We sold our security and our retirement and trusted God.  Looking back now ten years, I would do it over again.  In a heartbeat.

What About Other People?  What Did They Do To Raise Money?

We have many friends who didn’t have quite enough in their savings accounts to complete their adoptions.  Fortunately, most adoptions don’t require you to pay everything up front.  In fact, you should have anywhere from six months to two years to come up with your required expenses.  Here are some of the ways they raised money:

  • Garage Sales using donated items.
  • Some sent letters to family, friends and church asking for money.
  • One of my friends was featured on Give One Save One.
  • Several families requested and received help from  Christian orphan assistance organizations like Lifesong.
  • Some churches have funds available for families who need help with adoption funding.  See if your church is willing to help.
  • Some of my friends did their own legal work or had a friend who could help them with it.
  • Most families cut their expenses to the bare bone.
  • One family sold their house and one family traded in their car for a cheaper one.

The Emotional Cost Of Adoption

Another cost, though not monetary, is the emotional cost.  Carrie and I thought about adopting a child through foster to adopt, and even though it would have been less expensive, the emotional costs were potentially high.  Eventually, we decided not to adopt via the foster care system because we decided that we didn’t have the emotional capital. The possibility of bringing a child into our house for several months before they become ours would be too excruciating for me.  Also, what if I were to fall in love with a child only to have them returned to their birth parents?  Nope the emotional cost of adopting through CPS,  would have been too high for me.  I’m just not that strong.

I tip my hat to the pastor of my church and others who have gone this route.  They are especially strong and patient people.  If you have loads of emotional currency, but very little actual money, this may be a better route for you.

We also considered private adoption, but it has its emotional costs as well. For instance:

  • The birth mother may choose at the last minute to keep her child.
  • There is always the possibility that your family might not be chosen by any birth mother giving up their child for adoption.  In our case, we are not particularly young or wealthy and we weren’t sure that anyone would look at us and think we were the perfect fit for their child.  It might feel particularly devastating to be passed over in favor of someone else.

Determining How You will Adopt Your Children

Ultimately, Carrie and I chose to adopt all six  of our children overseas.  Read this article for our reasoning.  We took into consideration the financial costs, but ultimately it was the emotional costs that had the most influence over our decisions to adopt from China and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Which ever way you decide to adopt your children,  it’s important that you know both the emotional and  financial costs before you move forward.  Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions about our adoptions.  My wife and I would be more than happy to try to answer them to the best of our ability. I offer you my encouragement and more importantly my prayers as you seek to add to your family through adoption.  James 1:27.

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