The Cost of Fostering & Adoption … (Part 1)

Lately, I’ve been getting more and more questions about our experience as foster and adoptive parents.  Some are searching for God’s plan for their own family in foster parenting and adoption.  Some are just wanting to get involved in supporting others.  So I thought I would lay out some of the questions I’ve fielded and the answers as I can best give them.  Part Two of this blog post will be the bigger, more detailed part of our journey.  But I thought I would let you in on where we started …  

I thought I would start at the beginning of our adoption quest.  Or maybe I should call it something better, like God’s Great Master Plan.  Whatever you want to call it … my husband and I knew before we were ever married that adoption was something we wanted to be a part of our family.  Back in the day we had the high hopes of adopting from China. So when God began laying the adoption foundation that’s where I started the search.  Our Chinese adoption hopes were quickly crushed when I first came across the cost of international adoption.  This can run an average of $30,000.  But some agencies will quote as high as $45,000.  The child’s birth country is a big factor is this cost.  As are the travel expenses.  The second crushing blow came by way of the time that can be involved spent in the adopting country.  Some adoptive parents are there for a month at a time waiting on the courts.  This can go on for several years.  Some people save and prepare their entire lives for this moment.  We had not done either.  And if you know anything about our family, this time involvement was a real deal breaker. (As if the cost wasn’t enough already!)  We knew this was not God’s plan for us.  If you are interested in foreign adoption and are well prepared for this road, the Show Hope organization is a great resource.  They will help with direction, fundraising and grant assistance, just to name a few things.

Next, I looked at private domestic adoption.  Once again, this was just too cost prohibitive for our family.  Many agencies will tell you their fees upfront.  They average in the $10,000 range.  But you will need your own adoption lawyer and those fees are additional.  The hope of being ‘chosen’ can be a roller coaster ride. (But most adoption stories are emotional rides!)  Sometimes the birth mother will require the adoptive parents also pay her lawyer fees and/or medical fees as well.  You can see where I’m headed with this in your mental calculator.  Cost prohibitive.  If this is an option for you, The Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri are excellent options.  If you are in need of a private adoption lawyer, I would be glad to send you to the practice who gave us excellent advice in Missouri.

When these were ruled out we were led to adoption through our state’s foster system.  Admittedly, this scared the jeebers outa us.   But we knew financially this would be much more doable.  What we didn’t know … it would ‘cost’ us much more of our hearts than we ever expected.    But that’s always how God does things, isn’t it?  The music group Switchfoot says in one of my favorite songs, “Why ya’ fearin’ watcha’ believin’?… Love alone is worth the fight.” (Feel free to have a little chuckle at me singing along with that with my opera-style trained voice.)

Part Two in ‘The Cost of Fostering & Adoption’ will focus on our family’s adventure into our state’s foster system.  Little did we know, it was obviously a plan God had for us all along.  I’ll fill you in on a few of the details of the system and the things that worked best for our family.  I hope they will help you on your way to finding your path to orphan care or support… 

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