This guest post is by Jenny Lotz, an adoptive mother and blogger.
They wonder why adoptive parents expect others to foot the bill to “buy” them a child and make them happy.
They wonder why it’s so expensive.
They wonder why people don’t just give money to birth moms to help them raise the amount of money needed to raise their own child.
They wonder why adoptive parents can’t just save and pay the money all by themselves.
But all of those wonderings are shrouded in misunderstanding.
Some people don’t understand that part of the money goes to home studies, which ensure that the adoptive family has the necessary social, emotional and financial standings necessary to raise a child.
Fundraisers can help families adopt a child.
They base their decision on the fact that they lack important resources that could provide a healthy and loving home for the child, like social skills, safety, emotional support and stability.
In fact, part of the money that is spent in adoption goes to counseling services for the birth mother (and sometimes birth father), ensuring that the birth mother is making the best decision possible for the baby, that she learns how to communicate with adoptive parents effectively, and that she knows the sort of emotional roller coaster to expect after she gives birth.
Money also goes to paperwork (mounds and mounds of it), legal fees and travel expenses, to name a few.
And why can’t hopeful adoptive parents foot the bill for their own adoptions? They are the ones receiving the benefit of adoption, right?
Yes, adoptive parents DO receive a huge gift in the form of a child, but that child benefits from being adopted as much as or more than the parents who adopt him or her.
But let’s get back to the main question:
Why aren’t adoptive parents footing their own bill?
The short answer is this: It’s overwhelmingly expensive. Private adoptions create the best avenue of supporting birth parents, but the cost can range from $12,000 to $30,000+.
I don’t know that many people who have that sort of change in their pockets, let alone the sort of people who have the sort of money it takes ALONG with the heart it takes to adopt.
If you are seeking to build your family through adoption, empowering people with accurate and detailed information will go a long way in building the rapport needed to gather support—financial, emotional, and otherwise—needed to complete and adoption.
Transparency is key in this regard. To build trust with potential supporters, share as much of the following information as possible:
1. Why are you adopting?
- Many people will be able to identify with your reasons for adopting. Maybe you want a family but are having fertility problems. Maybe you feel strongly that birth moms should be able to have relationships with their children as they get older. Someone else probably agrees with you and will support that decision.
2. What are the details of your hopeful adoption?
- Consider explaining why you want an open adoption, what open adoption means, or what made you decide to adopt at this time in your life.
3. Where does the money go? What’s the average cost?
- Share as much of this information as possible, and explain it as clearly as possible. Yes, part of the costs go to paying a social workers’ salary? How is that bad? They are providing an important and powerful service to birth parents and adoptive parents alike. (I do not know what we would have done without the help of our social worker during our first extremely difficult domestic adoption).
4. How much are you personally investing in your decision to adopt? What are you doing to save money or to earn more money for the adoption?
- I, personally, wouldn’t want to fork out every last dollar for someone else’s adoption if I knew they weren’t investing anything themselves. Adoption requires a lot of sacrifice from a lot of people. You, as the future adoptive parent(s), should already be sacrificing or at least saving more to cover some adoption costs without help.
We dropped our cable subscription and negotiated new rates for phone and internet services we already had. We didn’t buy the latest and greatest tech gear.
We only bought a few very small (I’m talking, pack-of-gum small) Christmas presents for our kids. We worked extra odd-jobs.
People want to know this is so important that you, yourself, are willing to sacrifice; only then might they come along beside you and make sacrifices on your behalf.
By answering the above questions, you give people—possible donors and supporters—a greater understanding of the adoption situation.
We have found that there are far more people who are FOR adoption than against it, and those people were often willing to show support by offering donations or services for free.
Adoption certainly isn’t free. But it’s worth it.
Jenny Lotz is the mom of two boys and hopes to complete the adoption of a 6-month-old girl from DR Congo within the year. She recently resigned from her teaching job to dedicate more time to educating and advocating on behalf of adoption and orphans across the globe. She blogs at Honey Bunches of Lotz, where you can also find a fundraiser-planning e-book called “One Day=$10K” detailing the 15 steps she and her husband took to raise $10,000 for their adoption in one day.
Do you have an open adoption story? Email us any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.