A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post answering the question, “Why does adoption take so long?” Today, I will attempt to answer another question I am asked on a regular basis, “Why is adoption so expensive?”
Behind both of theses question is an underlying question, “If there are so many orphans in the world, and the need is so great, why isn’t it easier, faster, and less expensive for them to be adopted?” I’ve asked this question many times myself.
How Do the Costs of International, Domestic Infant, and Foster Care Adoption Compare?
As I’ve said before, my experience is with international adoption, so I’ll speak mostly about the costs associated with that. From my understanding, adoption through the foster care system costs very little. Domestic infant adoption is generally comparable to the cost of international adoption and sometimes more expensive. The total cost is commonly determined by a sliding scale based on your income.
3 Reasons Why International Adoption Costs So Much
Contrary to popular belief, the cost of international adoption in not due to corrupt governments extorting money from families through bribes, outrageous “fees” and the like. While some countries may be worse than others in this regard, the majority of the costs associated with an international adoption are real, valid expenses.
1. Home Study, Fingerprinting, and Document Charges
Before an adoption can even get off the ground a family must be thoroughly vetted by their home state and United States Immigration. A home study is needed, and includes numerous background checks, as well as the sophisticated finger printed required by US Immigrations. Additionally, there are other document and shipping charges required to prepare your dossier (the set of documents that you send to your child’s country in order to file for court).
2. Agency Fees and Attorneys Fees
It takes an extraordinary amount of work to pull all the pieces together for an international adoption. Agencies and their attorneys facilitate every aspect of an adoption including identifying a child, completing the orphan investigations, obtaining medical information for a child, preparing the dossier, filing for court, arranging travel for the family, and representing the family at their hearing.
3. Travel and Accommodations
One of the main reasons international adoption is so expensive is that travel, often more than one trip, is required. Depending on when you travel (which you have very little control of), you could pay high-season ticket prices. Additionally, in-country accommodations may not be as inexpensive as you might think. Sometimes, it costs just as much to stay in your child’s home country as it would in your own.
There are certainly other costs I have not mentioned here, and many expenses are unique to the country you adopt from.
While adoption is a costly endeavor any way you look at it, those costs should never prohibit a family from welcoming a child into their family. Many families, like ours, have successfully been able to raise the funds they need to bring their children home.
If God has called your family to adopt, I urge you to step out in faith regardless of the cost, and watch him provide.