Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Comparing Costs

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days in October.  If you want to start at the beginning, head over HERE.

I know money is something folks are curious about when it comes to adoption.  So, here is a little bit about the costs of different adoption options:

Adopting through foster care–This is the most affordable option.  The state pays for the home study, fingerprints, background checks etc…  Some of the situations even come with a stipend paid to you monthly or Medicaid for the child until they reach age 18.

Adopting through a private agency (domestic infant)–The average cost for an infant adoption through a private agency is $20,000-$40,000.

Adopting through a private agency (international)–It is my understanding that international adoptions cost $30,000-$50,000.

Adopting with an attorney as your agent–I really don’t know about this one.  I have seen a few quotes from attorneys in the $30,000 range.

Adopting someone you know–I think this is the second most affordable option.  You would need to pay for a homestudy through a licensed agency which is around $1500.  Then you would just pay legal fees and attorney’s fees to complete the adoption.  These will vary from attorney to attorney but come be as low as $5000, maybe even lower.

Are you still here after reading all those BIG dollar amounts?  Some folks look at those dollar amounts and that is their deciding factor on which way they will choose to adopt.  BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE.  I have seen families follow Jesus and adopt in ways they hadn’t thought before possible.  God has provided the needed funds in each and every situation.  It still takes work on your part at fundraising, but God does provide.

When you are pursuing adoption, it is hard not to compare your fundraising efforts with others.  When we first started fundraising and actually through our whole process, it has been slow going.  Ideas we thought would be really successful weren’t.  People we thought would really jump in and help (by giving and fundraising) didn’t.  We watched a family raise over $6000 at their adoption yard sale.  Our’s only raised $1000.

But guess what?  When it came time to pay for O’s adoption, we had just enough funds to cover it.  It would NOT have covered an agency adoption (which was our goal at the time), but it covered O’s adoption completely.  God showed up in spite of my weak faith that He would.  I’m so glad that His working isn’t dependent on me!

So, don’t let money stop you if God has given you a heart for a certain area of adoption.  When God calls you, I am confident He will provide.

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Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Different Ways to Adopt Option #4 International

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So, the last adoption option I can think of is international adoption.  I only know a little about this option, so I’ll tell you what I know.

International adoption is when you adopt a child from another country.  I’m pretty sure you will need an adoption agency to proceed this way.  If you have a specific country you are wanting to adopt from then look for an agency working with that country.  Not all adoption agencies provide international adoption services for all countries.

I’ve been told that it is recommended to use an agency and a country that are both Hague accredited.  Here is a website with more info on what that means.

Some adoption agencies work with specific countries or orphanages to provide hosting programs.  This is where they bring a dozen or so children to the US for a week or two and the children live and interact with a family.  The purpose is to find a family to adopt these children, but not all the children are adopting by the hosting family.

I can’t really speak to the process of international adoption because I don’t know a lot about it.  I do know that the process, the wait time, the available children, and the cost vary from country to country.

Here are some great organizations to start your research with:

Bethany Christian Services

Lifeline Children’s Services

Embraced by Grace

New Horizons

Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–A Guest Post (Anna)

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m blogging about adoption for 31 days.  WHY?  Start HERE.

Today, I have a guest post for you from one of our dear friends, Anna.  She just brought home her sweet boy, Eddie, from Bulgaria 2 months ago.  Thanks for sharing your story, Anna!

Our Story , International Adoptions and Orphans

I always knew that I wanted to adopt. I don’t know if it was reading Christian literature when I was a teenager, the influence of adoptive families or just grace, but from a very young teenage age, I knew that I wanted to adopt. It was always there.

When I began dating the man who is now my husband, I asked (very early in our relationship!) how he felt about adoption. He was not opposed, but had no strong convictions.

As we dated, became engaged and got married, we continued talking about adoption. After we had been married almost a year, I felt like the Lord was giving me the go-ahead to pursue adoption. The same day that I felt the Holy Spirit impress this on me, Steven told me that he thought it was time to adopt.

However, time flies when you are having fun. It was almost a year before we began pursuing foster-to-adoption with our local department of family and children’s services. We took all of the classes and prepared our home  for children. We thought we were ready—and then the door closed. No warning, no explanation. Weeks turned into month, and our paperwork never got completed by the social workers.

As time went on, Steven and I tried to conceive. We pursued having biological children for almost three years. Finally, one night, after a particularly hard six months of infertility emotions, I told Steven that I wanted to adopt—no matter what! I felt that we had a baby out there for us, whether we got pregnant or not. We began praying about what kind of adoption to pursue.

Steven and I looked at domestic, international and foster-to-adopt. We knew that we were pretty frustrated with our local fostercare/adoption resources so we chose not to consider foster-to-adopt any more. We decided to go what seemed the most logical route, and pursue a domestic infant adoption (adopting a baby in the US). We began working with an agency.

A  day dawned, that we thought was just any other day…and then one of us got onto Facebook, and saw the sweetest face staring back at us. Our agency, which has both domestic and international programs, had posted  a picture of the sweetest little boy with Down syndrome, in Bulgaria. We had already decided that we were open to special needs (because, after all, if we say that God makes all people beautiful and worthy of love, then who are we to judge or run away from special needs?) so we admired his picture and put it in the back of our minds. A few days later we inquired about this little guy. As I write this, he is sleeping downstairs, just over a year after seeing his picture. Such grace!

International adoption was not our first choice. We were afraid—after all, it seemed so complicated and confusing. Plus, it requires a certain amount of faith to believe that this kid, whose picture you are holding, actually exists somewhere across the ocean. However,  the Lord used our adoption to open our hearts to the orphans of the world.

153 million. That is how many orphans there are. So, you argue—what if statistics are wrong? Well, what if they are half wrong? Then there are “only” 76.5 million orphans. Even if there is only one percent of that—it is still 1.5 million orphans. Whether you believe the statistics or want to argue, there are a lot of orphans.

International adoption may be a way that God wants you to meet needs. It is scary, it requires faith and you have no guarantees. However, it is much scarier for the kid who is growing up alone than it is for you. You might not be ready to adopt, but I assure you, no child is ready to be an orphan.

So that is our story. The Lord used some really tough situations (infertility, not being able to do foster care, trying to adopt a baby) to bring us our sweet, sweet son who is three, has Down syndrome and is from Bulgaria. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

eddiefampic

Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Different Ways to Adopt Other Options

Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days.  Find out more HERE.

The last two ways to adopt are areas I really don’t know much about.

One is adopting a family member or adopting a child you know.  You will definitely want an attorney to walk you through what you need to do.  You will also want to check state laws.  Sometimes you will still need to get a home study done to be able to adopt this way.

This website may be a good place to start looking for an attorney.  However, you’d be surprised what you can find just by asking around.  Start asking people you know who have a connection to adoption and see if they can recommend an attorney.

I mention these types of adoption because some people don’t even realize that these are possible.  We’ve known a family that worked toward adopting a relative.  We’ve also known a family who adopted the child of a friend they knew.

Some reasons these types of adoptions might be considered:

-the birth parent has committed a crime and they do not want the child to go to foster care while they are serving time in jail or prison

-the birth parent has a drug problem and they do not want the child to go to foster care

 

Well, that’s my limited knowledge on these types of adoption.  Just want you to be informed that they are options.  🙂

Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Birth mothers

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Hi!  I’m Joy and this blog post is part of the series 31 Days on Adoption.  If you are just joining us, start HERE.

Somewhere through this journey, God really moved my heart towards birth mothers.

When we started our adoption process with the department of children and families (DFACS), I think we got in the wrong mindset.  We viewed the birth parents as the bad guys and maybe rightly so, since it was their actions that caused their children to be in foster care.  Even when we began working with a private agency, it was hard not to think of the birth mothers as the “bad guys”, the ones making bad choices.  But thanks be to Jesus that He has changed my heart through this journey.

Birth mothers are women who make an adoption plan for their child.  The birth mom is making an adoption plan because she thinks it would be best for the child.  She is making a selfless choice to do the hardest thing she will ever have to do to help someone else…her child.

Yes, there are many birth mothers who just “aren’t ready” to be a mom.  Yes, there are many birth mothers who are drug addicts.  Yes, there are many birth mothers who live a promiscuous lifestyle.  Birth mothers are sinners, just like you and me.  And birth parents of foster kids are sinners, just like you and me.  We are all sinners.

BUT GOD, He doesn’t leave us in our sin.  Jesus paid for that sin through His sinless life, death, and resurrection.  Salvation from our sin is a free gift.  And the thing is, none of us deserve it and none of us can earn it by being a better person.  None of us is any better a person than the other.

When we look at it that way, we as adoptive and waiting families have such a unique opportunity to show the love of Jesus to birth moms.  We have the opportunity to pray for them and over them.  We have the opportunity to honor them.  We could potentially be the only person to demonstrate unconditional love to them.  We have the opportunity to be Jesus.

And you know what?  Birth mothers are so, so brave.  In our crazy culture of doing “whatever is best for me”, the birth mom choose LIFE for her child.  Pregnancy may not have been the easiest route for her, but she did it anyway.  And many times her choice of adoption is giving that baby its best chance.

I have read countless birth mother profiles.  There is such brokenness in the backgrounds of the birth mothers.  Some birth moms are choosing adoption to save the baby from an abusive birth father.  Some birth moms are choosing adoption because the birth father is not her current partner.  Some birth moms are choosing adoption because they are going to prison or they have an addiction and they don’t want their baby to go to foster care.  The scenarios are endless and the brokenness is overwhelming.

These birth moms need Jesus.  That’s why I love working with private agencies who believe the Gospel and connect birth moms with adoptive families who love Jesus.  The adoptive families have the potential to impact 2 or even 3 lives for the Gospel….their adoptive child and the child’s birth mom and dad.

There is a lady that works for our agency in FL.  Her job is called “birth mother liaison”.  I’m not sure what her exact job description is, but I imagine she is working “for” the birth mother like the social worker is working “for” the adoptive family.  I’ve heard some of the things she does for birth mothers…she helps them decide if an adoption plan is the right choice for them, she goes to doctor’s appointments with them, she helps them get signed up for medicaid, she goes to the hospital with them, she sits with them while they meet with adoptive families, she brings them their favorite candy bar at the hospital, she makes sure they are choosing an adoptive family who meets their criteria, she may even hold their hand during birth or be with the birth mother when the baby leaves.  She is kind of like the face of the agency to the birth mother.  And I think its fair to say, that she is the face of Jesus to these ladies, too.  What an awesome responsibility and privilege.  I think I would love to do that job when I grow up.

Since O’s adoption was not through an agency, his birth mom did not have the privilege of having a birth mother liaison walk with her during her journey.  I remember meeting O’s birth mother for the first time.  She hugged me right away and she was so relieved to meet us and have a plan for her boy.  While we visited with her in the hospital, no one else came to see her (other than our neighbor the first day….check out this post for more details).  While we visited with her in the hospital, various friends and family called her to tell her she was being selfish and trying to get her to change her mind.  When baby O was discharged from the hospital, she had no one with her as we walked away.  That image still breaks my heart.

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I am thankful that God changed our hearts before we met O’s birth mom.  I’m so glad we didn’t look at her as the “bad guy” and us as the “good guys”.  I’m so glad we prayed with her and hugged her and affirmed her.  What if we were the only people that have shown her Jesus love in a very long time?  I don’t say that to pat us on the back, but to encourage others that relationships with the birth parents could have eternal significance.  We have to get over our fear of what might happen to us, as painful as it might be, and realize that adoption is about more than just us getting a baby.  Its about redemption in the lives of the baby/child AND the lives of the birth parents.  Adoption is mission in more ways than one.  

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O’s birth mom is one of the bravest ladies I have ever known.  Our family honors her by talking to O about her and how much she loves him.  We show him pictures.  We send her photos every six months whether we hear from her or not.  We love her dearly.  Her life wasn’t easy and she made some bad choices.  But she also made some very good choices….she chose LIFE and she chose to give her son his best chance through adoption.  We honor her for that.  We pray for her life now continually.  And we will love her forever.

 

Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Different Ways to Adopt Option #3

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m blogging about adoption for 31 days.  If you are new, start HERE.

So, I’ve been writing about different ways to adopt.  So far, I’ve talked about adopting through the foster care system and adopting an infant through a private agency.

Today will be short because I don’t know a lot, but I’ll tell you what I do know about adopting through an attorney.  Remember, I’m not an expert, just talking to you from my experience like I would talk to a friend.

You can adopt without an adoption agency. All you need is an adoption attorney.  Sometimes birth mothers do not want to place their infants through a private adoption agency.  Agencies sometimes require drug testing or consistent updates and meetings and some birth mothers do not want to agree to that.  They can place their baby for adoption with an attorney.  Waiting families can work with an adoption attorney to be matched.  I don’t know if this costs more or less than through a private agency.  I also don’t know if the wait time is different.  Those would be great questions to ask if you consider going with an attorney.  And you will still need a home study.

Here are a few websites with info on this type of adoption:

http://www.adoptionattorneys.org/aaaa/home

https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/should-you-adopt-through-an-adoption-agency-or-adoption-lawyer/

http://www.parents.com/parenting/adoption/facts/agency-vs-independent-adoption/

Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Different Ways to Adopt Option #2 continued

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days.  Check out the beginning of this series HERE.

When I wrote about adopting through a private agency, I told you how to decide on an agency.  But somehow, I forgot to tell you how the process went for us, so you could have an idea of what to expect.

Once you choose an agency, you will probably have similar steps to these:

-Fill out and submit an application along with an application fee.  Expect to provide personal references, financial information, personal testimony, etc…

-Once your application is accepted, you will begin scheduling meetings/visits with a social worker.  You’ll probably get a lot of paperwork to begin on.  You’ll also start working on your background checks, fingerprints, etc…

-This is a good time to start fundraising efforts.

-I think we had three visits with our social worker.  Most of these were spent doing interview type questions about marriage, parenting, birth mothers, adoption process, transracial adoption issues.  Only one visit was spent on a home tour.  Don’t worry about this, your house does not have to be spic and span.  They are mostly checking for the number of bedrooms/bathrooms/closets and safety items like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, guns locked, etc…

-Once we completed our home visits, piles of paperwork, and all drug tests, fingerprints, background checks, etc… there was nothing left to do on our part.  It was all up to our social worker then.  She took several weeks to write up our homestudy and get it approved by her superiors.

-When our home study was complete, we officially became a “waiting family”.  This means that our profile could then be shown to potential birth mothers.

-This step is called WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, and WAIT SOME MORE.

-When the agency has a birth mother who has decided to work with them, she fills out a form about the type of family she desires for her child.  (This includes what level of contact she would like with the adoptive family and child.)  The agency looks at that form and sees what families they have that match those desires.  Then they look at the families desires for the type of child they will accept.  The families whose desires intersect those of the birth mother are contacted to see if they would like their profile shown to the birth mother.  If the family says “yes”, then their profile will be shown.  There may be 2 family profiles shown or 10, you don’t usually know.  Sometimes, you don’t know when your profile will be shown…the next day, in a week or two.  And then you don’t know how long until the birth mother will choose.  So, it is another waiting game.

-The birth mother may want to meet or Skype with a few families before deciding.  Or she may be able to choose pretty quickly.

-When the birth mother chooses your family, you are officially “matched”.  You agree to not pursue any other birth mothers and she agrees not to pursue any other families.  You pay a big chunk of money for the matching fee and the birth mother expenses (she is legally entitled to a certain amount).

-You may begin bonding with the birth mother or you may never meet her.  It is up to her.  She may want you there for the birth or she may not.

-This step is called WAIT SOME MORE until the baby is born.  During this time, you will probably want to fund raise a little more.  You will want to make your announcement!  You will want to prepare your home and family for a new baby.  Start picking baby names.

***The biggest fear at this point is that the birth mother will change her mind about adoption.  I think this is a natural concern, but one that you need to surrender to Jesus because I have learned through our experience that there is no way to predict whether or not a birth mom will change her mind.  It can happen at any time for any obscure reason.  You can’t dwell on it and you just have to be willing to take that risk.***

-When the baby is born, sometimes the baby will leave the hospital with the adoptive family.  Sometimes the baby will go to “interim care”.  In GA, a birth mom has 10 days to change her mind after signing papers.  That is a long time!  So, some agencies have families that will take care of the baby in that interim period until the birth mother can no longer change her mind.

-When you take placement of the baby, another big chunk of money is due and the last chunk of fees is due around the time you finalize the adoption.

-Official adoption day is usually 30-90 days later.

 

Questions?  Please ask in the comments.  Or tell us how your process differed.