Sunday, January 9, 2011

FAQ #3: Why does international adoption cost so much?

What a week of stepping back into the routine of school, new goals, and life’s daily adventures … but I just realized I’m behind on a blog post.  So here I am, finally sharing about the most recent “God confirmations” in the middle of our adoption journey. 

When we accepted the adoption call, a hefty price tag hung in our way.  I kept hearing about how expensive international adoptions were, and quite frankly, the idea of mixing money with children made me queasy. Already, there’s enough unimaginable atrocities happening to children in the name of the almighty dollar.  But as I’ve trudged through this adoption process, I’ve come to peace with the many different components which make these dollar numbers realistic and even necessary. 

Why do international adoptions cost so much? It varies some depending on the agency and country, but here’s where the money goes for our Ethiopia Program: 

Agency Application - $300

Immigration Application - $800

U.S. Home Study - $1,850

Dossier Fee - $3,000

Ethiopia Fee - $11,900

Travel/Lodging - $7,000 (This is approximate. . .  Ethiopia requires two trips, and then we’ll also have an additional child ticket on the final return – yea!!)

Post-Adoption Reports - $1,200 

The most expensive part, Ethiopia’s Program Fee, actually covers more than the legal fees for the country.  A portion of this money is used to provide supplies, food, medicine, and lodging for the kids who are still there and who may never have a forever family to come home to.  I love this!  So I’ve come to grips with the cost. Can I really put a price tag on a child’s life and determine in my finite mind that it’s not something I can afford? I fully believe our lives are best spent in partnership with God in redemptive mission, and adoption is such a beautiful picture of how God brings us into His family. 

Let me add one more honest thought: I really, really didn’t want to ask anyone for a single red cent towards this journey.  I was proud – and just plain fearful of criticism and misunderstanding.  After all, did I do fundraisers to pay hospital bills for the births of my other children?

But adoption IS different in some ways.  James 1:27 says, “This is pure and undefiled religion to care for the orphan and the widow.  Adoption is a Great Commission activity.  For some of us, this may mean bringing a child into our home, or building wells for clean water, or providing education and medical supplies to a rural village.  These perpetual, global challenges require a funding born out of a Gospel-centered community instead of a single pocketbook. 

So I’m learning to get my self-sufficient spirit out of the way.  I am awestruck by the generous donations of friends, family, and even strangers.  I am so grateful for the love being poured out, and I want to commit my life to likewise pouring back into others. 

“God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.  What a pity when we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.”  -- A.W. Tozer

1 comment:

  1. jessica, i'm glad you shared this post. i think friends are often curious about the breakdown of the cost of adoption, but are hesitant to ask. :)