Saturday, January 22, 2011

One stop shopping

One of the things I struggle with the most as we go down this adoption road is the amount of money involved. I am not so worried about actually affording it (which I know is a blessing compared to others). My husband is finishing grad school this semester so the part of our income that used to go into his tuition fund is now going into our adoption fund. I am more conflicted over the idea of whether we are buying a baby.

I know with the home study and the lawyer fees, you are basically paying the cost of these people's time who are providing a necessary service. So those costs don't bother me as much. Plus they are small potatoes compared to the placement fees. It is when we get to discussions about placement fees that I get uncomfortable and wonder where that money is going. Some agencies provide extensive services to birth mothers (counseling, housing, etc). I can understand that and see how it might be easier to just charge an average fee to cover those costs rather than keep track of every nickel. But some agencies charge more healthy White babies than other types of babies. And this is where my conflicting emotions come in. I mean, the costs involved in providing services for a birth mother certainly vary, but I would assume they don't vary in the way their fee structure is set up. If anything, their fee structure is the opposite of what the actual costs would be. For example, providing services to a mother who is having a special needs child is probably more expensive than someone with a healthy child, but the placement fee is less.

This makes me think we should go the private adoption route and thus pay the actual costs of providing the services the birth mother needs. But that whole process makes me feel overwhelmed. There is a comfort in going to a "one stop shop" agency. But the fact that I just use the term shopping to describe our process of bringing a child into our family makes me horrible. I don't know how we will resolve this, but it is something bouncing around in my head as we figure out what to do.


  1. You're not shopping, you're just buying insurance. I have a friend who is going through the adoption process and her take on it is this: "If you pay $15K for IVF, you're not guaranteed anything. If you pay an adoption agency, you know you will have a child at some point."

    Loved your comment about your husband being born 9 months post wedding. I was also born 9 months after my parents were married. I wasn't enough of a tangible reminder of their escapades because they also saved the key to their honeymoon suite. It's now attached the the bag of letters in the family Scrabble game. My brothers and I are disgusted everytime it's our turn to choose letters. Yuck!!


  2. Having ventured into the beginnings of adoption this past fall, I can totally understand where you're coming from in terms of the fees. However, I tried to reason it in my mind that I was paying to help ensure the baby had the best chance of a good pre-birth environment even though the fees were more an average of what BM might need across the board. Still though, that is one of the bigger reasons we will likely go the private adoption route when we get to that point after having looked into it more thoroughly (though that path is overwhelming too as you mentioned!) At the end of the day, it comes down to what bothers you more vs. what is more overwhelming and finding a good middle compromise. If only it was as easy as "just adopt...."


    I know what you mean. It REALLY makes me mad that some agencies charge more for white babies. I know it isn't for everyone, but we are doing foster/adopt which doesn't require any fees. That isn't why we are doing it, God definitely led us there, but it is nice to not have to think about "buying" a baby.

  4. The whole system sounds so complicated!

  5. It is pretty complicated, for sure. Our agency charges everyone the same fees and they figure that it covers the expenses for all the birth families. Some expenses will be less, but the adopting family pays the same fee as someone whose birth family's expenses are significantly more.

    On the other hand, you can tell the agency that you're willing to pay more than the published fees and they'll be able to present your profile to people with more complicated situations, or if a partner agency in another state has higher fees, you can ask to be considered for those.

    It is hard to believe the fees are so much though. Actually, it's staggering.

    (And in another unrelated note, my husband just finished grad school in December so we're not paying tuition anymore either! Congratulations to him on finishing; it's a big accomplishment.)

  6. I can understand your concerns regarding the "buying" factor. I had the same feelings from time to time, during the adoption of our daughter from India. Especially on the day when we were supposed to take custody of her, the adoption coordinator suddenly demanded we pay an extra $1000. It felt terrible, but we did it. What was the alternative--leaving a sick child who needed medical help in an orphanage? In the end, I have decided that paying adoption fees isn't really buying a baby. The decision to love and care for a child that needs a family is independent of the costs incurred. Hope your adoption goes very smoothly and happy ICLW!

  7. It makes complete sense to be conflicted with all these 'options'. We've felt the same way while researching agencies. There was one day that I was sitting next to LTL and said something along the lines of 'Oh wow, only $16,500?' his response? 'What car are you looking at?' I just about threw up. It made me feel so sick. I really dislike how most agencies are race based in their fees. It's sad. I would happily take any race of baby/child.

  8. Thank you for writing this post. I am having many of the same thoughts and trying to decide what path for us to take our adoption. We've started the homestudy with an agency that doesn't do placements directly, so our options are still pretty open. We are also leaning the private route, but it does feel so overwhelming! I look forward to following your blog to see what path you choose!


  9. The important thing is to make sure that you feel that ethical choices are being made. In the case of my son's international adoption, I can tell you exactly what ever penny covered. Our fees were for services rendered. We did not buy a child. We paid for the parts of the process that were necessary in order to legally make him our son. That said, I completely understand your perspective and I struggled with it for a LONG time myself.

    Here form ICLW by the way.


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