First off, to adopt a healthy baby in the United States, the average costs is around $35,000.00 if no complications arise, etc. The average costs to adopt internationally is around $25,000.00, so technically it is much cheaper to adopt overseas. I will break down the cost for the adoption of the country we are adopting from at present time:
- $14,500 in agency fees (translation, court representation, all things "in country")
- $1500 for homestudy fees
- $500 for homestudy prep (physicals, records, fingerprinting, birth certificates, etc.)
- $4000 for airfare (2 trips)
- $1500 for hotel/food while in country
- $890 for immigration application
- $230 for visa application
- $250 (approximately) for child's medical exam
- $220 for FBI clearance
- $77 for TBI clearance
Why don't I adopt a child from here?? Well, children with Down syndrome are what I feel like I am called to adopt. There are not a lot of domestic adoptions with kids with DS, believe it or not. America has about a 90% abortion rate for DS babies, so we basically kill them instead of giving them up for adoption. In Eastern Europe, they don't have the same ability to diagnose DS prenatally like we do (they have the ability, but most people can't afford the testing), so most are unaware they are having a baby with DS until they are born. As soon as they are born, they are told that the child will never walk, talk, or do anything and needs to be institutionalized immediately. They are shamed as if they did something to deserve this. Most don't tell their family and friends that they had a child with DS. They tell them the child died. The baby is taken to the orphanage and stays in a baby house until they are 4-6 years old. They are then transferred to an adult mental institution where they have about an 20% chance of survival in the first year after transfer. So, we kill them before they are born here in the U.S and they kill them slowly after they are born in EE. Of note, we have been on the registry to adopt a child with DS in the U.S. for many years and we would absolutely adopt from here if the opportunity presented itself. Does that answer your question?
Why not wait until I have the $25,000 laying around and are completely ready to adopt? Well, if that were the case, I would not have any of my boys here with me. I will try to fundraise as much as possible of the needed money and then I will move to plan B if I have to (which I really pray that I don't have to). I hate fundraising. Hate it. I feel like I am begging people for money (which I basically am) and it is not a fun place to be. It makes me get way out of my comfort zone. I read a comment last night about people not wanting to donate to some people that adopt because they have a nice house or nice cars, so people are very judgmental about people who fundraise. I think this is one of the ways God is growing me. He wants to see if he asks me to do something that I don't want to do if I will, in fact, do it. I am trying, but I am horrible at it and I have swallowed my pride and have done the best that I can do so far.
Why add another? Isn't three (actually five, but the other two are supposedly grown) enough? YES...YES, three is plenty. More than enough. We are not adopting because we desire to have more children. We are not sitting around trying to find another child to add to our family. The reason we adopt special needs children from very hard places is very simple: if not us, who? How can we say no when we have an empty room, an extra place at the table, the ability to provide for one more? Who is going to say yes if we say no? You? Your cousin? Your friend at church? Who? We adopt because our hearts are broken for the way these children are treated and we have the room and the ability to care for them. Do I love Noah? Am I in love with his picture? No. He is a stranger to me. I don't "love" him the way I do my other children. BUT I will. I will leave the comforts of my home, travel thousands of miles to meet a tiny stranger that I have no connection to and make him my son because I truly believe that I am suppose to do this. I am suppose to work overtime (ha-mostly Sean doing this), sell everything I can, cash in retirement accounts, and do everything I can do to bring home a stranger that will have no idea why we are taking him from the only horrible place he has ever known BECAUSE it is the right thing to do.
We have raised and worked/earned almost $10,000 of the $25,000 we will need to complete this. We will not be deterred by rude comments, rude questions, doubts, naysayers, nonsupport or anything else. For all the people that support us, we REALLY appreciate it and are so very thankful for everything anyone has done to help us. For the people that don't, that is ok. I realize that it is a complicated thing to understand and I really don't expect people to understand if you don't have the capacity to do so. I hope that our story awakens something inside of those people and that a little understanding and compassion for others that can never do anything to repay you takes place.
We are having another fundraiser June 20th. It is a spaghetti dinner, singing and silent auction. I hope that it is a success! We should by then have a better grasp on how much we will need to finish the adoption.
Hope this gives a little insight on the "whys" of adoption.