When we were first married we knew we wanted children. It was part of who we were deep down to love, nurture and raise children.
After learning that infertility prevented us from having biological children, we turned to infertility treatments for assistance. By this point in our story we had the unique privilege of having a teenage girl living permanently in our home. More than foster-care, and less than adoption, we’d settled into a routine with this ‘daughter’ which fit our family, but our longing for a baby was still not satisfied, infertility treatments weren’t working, and the emotional toll was taxing. Adopting a baby became a singular focus mostly because it was almost certain, that in the end, we’d have a baby.
We settled on working with an adoption agency that emphasized faith. Faith is important to both of us and this agency was a natural fit. We love those people dearly and believe that God brought all the parties together to knit our family together. In short order we were selected by birth-parents and at the same time our teenager decided that she too wanted to be adopted. A double-blessing, indeed!
When our baby daughter was born, we had the grandest of pleasures in being present in the delivery room. 14 hours after the birth, we were on the road back home and couldn’t believe that we were finally parents of a baby!
A couple of years later, working with the same agency, we decided to pursue another adoption. We were approached soon with an opportunity to foster-adopt twin African-American girls. On a Wednesday we were asked if we’d be willing. It took us only a few moments to answer in the affirmative. We longed to expand our family and, while this was more children than we’d planned all at once, we believed that we were meant for these children. By Friday we were driving home with not one, but two, new daughters! After two years of foster-care, providing birth-family visits and awaiting the girls to be legally-free we were granted the privilege to adopt them.
Four adoptions, three scenarios: a Caucasian teenager, a Caucasian baby, African-American twin babies.
The cost to adopt our teenager was less than $2,000. Adopting our Caucasian baby cost a total of approximately $25,000. The adoption for each of our African-American babies cost about $5,000. What a huge contrast.
We don’t claim to understand everything about the economy of the adoption process. We were financially able, at that time, to afford the fees for all our adoptions. Working for a major technology corporation with stock options at our disposal, we were able to trade some part of our future retirement benefits in order to build a family we were desperate to start. In addition to stock options, the corporation provided reimbursements for up to $5,000 per child for adoption expenses. We were able to pay the fees and were happy to do so to expand our family. But, the disparity of the fees bothered us. Why does the adoption fee associated with a Caucasian baby girl cost so much more than the fee associated with an African-American baby girl or a teenager? We were so bothered that we made a donation to the adoption agency to make us feel better. It seemed an equitable thing to do, even if only for our conscience.
We really can’t complain about our story. It’s thrilling to have built our family through adoption. We’d do it all again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity.
However, we wonder about the future. With an economy like all of us endure today, would we be able to afford the fees if we were called to adopt again? Honestly, we’d likely ask friends and family to donate to help us out because, at this point in life, we don’t have the stock options like we did in those ‘boom’ years.
We hope and pray that adoption can become easier so that more families can consider the option of building their family through adoption. If the disparity and financial burden of high adoption fees were removed, would you consider adoption for your family?