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Adoption: Is it Only For Rich People?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 9

One Family's Journey to Give a Child a Home

By Swiss Banker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
People think adoption is only for rich people.  They may be right.  All of the high-profile adoptions you see in the news are certainly by rich people.  With the cost of adoption reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars, many Americans may feel that it is just simply out of their reach.  

My family an I began the journey of adoption about five months ago.  We knew that the journey would be a difficult one, but we decided to pursue our desire anyway.  It has been quite a ride so far.

My family is by no means wealthy.  I am the Senior Pastor of a small country Church in North Carolina.  Our income is near the $30,000 dollars per year level.  We live frugally, have no debt, and believe that we have most of what we need at this stage of our life...except more money.

The Financial Facts About Adoption

The fact is that adoption is expensive.  Domestic adoptions and International adoptions can range as high as $40,000.  The price of our adoption is estimated to be around $32,000.  This is more than 

we make ina year's salary.  Someone in the adoption industry told me that an estimated 40% of Americans will consider adoption, but only 2% will every act on that consideration.  I have to believe that the cost is a huge factor in their decisions.  

Why does it cost so much?

I do not believe that it should cost so much to give a child a home.  If there are so many children in need of a loving family (and there are) then why should it be such a financial burden for a family just to be allowed to offer that home.  Don't tell me that the cost has anything to do with making sure that children only go to the best homes.  Does the government really believe that rich people make better parents?  Have they ever watched the news?  I am fully supportive of interviews and background checks on prospective families.  These are reasonable expectations when you are considering placing a child into the home of a stranger.  However, to charge tens of thousands of dollars, and then in many cases tell a family that they simply don't make enough money makes some people feel that adoption is only for rich people.

The fees for the adoption process are many.  Some are large, and others are small.  Background checks with your local county may be no more than $25.00 while the Home Study can be anywhere from $1800.00 and up.  Then there is Immigration (international adoption), mandatory donations to the orphanage you are adopting from or some other adoption organization, court fees, etc.  

I do not expect that adoption should be free.  I want to make that clear.  I fully agree with paying for the services of those whose job it is to "vet" the prospective family.  These fees are reasonable.  However, I believe that all fees not directly related to paying for the necessary services of an individual are nothing more than bureaucratic greed.  Adoptive families are taking on a financial burden for the rest of their new child's life in many cases.  They do so willingly.  Why make it harder?


When Told You Don't Make Enough

Lavori in corso
After being accepted into the adoption program for the country we hoped to adopt from, my wife and I 
were told that we did not make enough money to satisfy the Immigration Department requirements.  We were about $3,000/year short in income.  Never mind that we are debt free.  What were we to do?  We were faced with two options.

1. We could cut our losses and give up.

2. We could find a part-time job to make up the difference.

We chose option number two.  I picked up a part-time job a couple of nights a week doing janitorial work.  Why did we do this?  I hate the money part of adoption.  I hate that I know that some government (domestic or foreign) is profiting from this process.  However, I do not believe that this is the fault of the children at all.  Somewhere there is a little boy or girl who is waiting for a home.  I work through the night for them.  The truth is, that adoption is expensive.  It is very expensive.  Adoption requires dedication and patience on the part of the adopting family.  However, at the end of it all is a child that needs you.  

Is adoption only for rich people?  Well, they certainly have an easier time paying for it, but no; adoption is not for rich people.  Adoption is for anyone with the heart to make a difference and the will to do whatever is necessary to make that happen.  If my children were suddenly orphaned and put into the system, I would hope that there was a family somewhere willing to walk through Hell to give them a loving home.  That is what our family is doing now.  Will you consider joining us?



Apr 6, 2013 3:22am
Congratulations on the feature! Your article touched me, and I can feel your pain, as I am a mother via biology and adoption. We adopted domestically, and part of the money we paid the agency goes to the medical care of birth others, both physical and emotional. Also, these women, and all families who used the agency, receive all the post adoption services they need. None of this is free.

I know back in 2000 what my husband and I paid our agency, and it was costly. We always lived on one salary, even when we both worked full time. We were blessed to be able to write the check without worrying. I know others who needed to get loans from family members.

I wish you the best of luck on your adoption journey. I can tell you from experience that the moment you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, all of the pain you are feeling now will be washed away. I promise.
Apr 6, 2013 5:02am
Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement!
Apr 6, 2013 8:12am
Priorities this day and age are just all wrong! Emotionally well articulated article. I can feel what your experiencing from your words. All the best of luck to you. Namaste
Apr 6, 2013 12:51pm
I couldn't agree more! Thanks for the encouragement.
Apr 6, 2013 5:29pm
Preacher2nc, Thank you for this wonderful article. Adoption is something that people do not talk about nearly enough. I do not think that it comes across the mind of many people. Many children need a loving and supportive family. Children do not care about your material possessions. They just want love. Adoption can go a long way toward strengthening families worldwide. Thanks again for writing this. Well done!
Apr 6, 2013 8:45pm

I definitely agree with you. Since we started out on this journey we have had a mountain of interest and questions. I think you are right about people not thinking about it enough. I would love to raise awareness. Thanks for your encouragement!
Apr 9, 2013 5:25pm
What a great article. I figured the process was expensive, but did not know it was that much. Best of luck with the adoption process. I hope that you'll write a follow up so we can celebrate your SUCCESS!
Apr 9, 2013 5:47pm
Kim, I will definitely plan a follow up article. Thanks for checking in!
Sep 12, 2013 12:54am
This article is truly worthy of a feature. I understand what you are going through and there is no way of bucking that greedy money making from different departments.
The love, caring and understanding should be the most important part of the adoption process. Not making money out of others problems.

We adopted our son more than forty years ago and believe me it was a lot easier. I honestly cannot remember the costs now but we have never regretted adopting our son.

Even way back then there was an income level we had to pass and believe me I think they took in the millionaires wages in working out that figure because it was not realistic at the time.

Having our own child and an adopted child made no difference to us. We loved them both.

After the adoption we applied again, they said they lost our application, then in the end they made out that we were mean as we had two children and there were others without any so we retracted the application.

I believe our government has created the adoption problem by giving unmarried mothers an income and encouraged them to have more children than they can actually care for. Some single parents do a brilliant job caring and loving their children though (Just my 2 cents worth)
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