"Why does it have to cost so much to adopt and how could I ever come up with that kind of money?"
This is the #1 issue with adoption that I hear more than any other. There are many people that have a heart for adoption, but they simply don't have the 20-30 grand sitting around to pay for it...therefore, they opt not to even try. People feel bad to have to fundraise and have to ask their friends and family to help. There are even people that feel that "if you must fundraise to adopt then that must mean that you can't afford the child and so you shouldn't even be asking." These are all very common concerns and thoughts when it comes to adoption, and worth addressing. I know that there are many different opinions out there when it comes to fundraising and dealing with the issue of money. I will share some of my thoughts and I would love to hear some of yours.
The first obstacle for most people is that ADOPTION CAN BE EXPENSIVE. There are some private adoptions and also adoption through the foster care system that can be done for a minimal amount of money. Foster care adoptions can be done for close to nothing because it is through the state.
BUT international adoptions and domestic adoptions through an adoption agency are EXPENSIVE!
It is very intimidating and frustrating to see past that hurdle when you REALLY feel the call to adopt but yet you simply don't have the money.
Why does it cost so much? Well, there is the homestudy ($1000-2000), there are agency fees ($5000-7000) country fees ($5000-7000), fingerprints, forms, government stamps and approvals ($$) plane tickets there and back and sometimes two or three trips involved (more$$). Tickets are expensive. There is the incountry expense once there.($$) There are post placement homestudy reports when you return. ($$) This all adds up, but luckily it is a process and not all due at the same time. Depending on the agency, country, etc, this can take up to a few months to years.
So what are you to do? There are some people that take out loans to pay for it. I mean, when you look at it, we take out loans every day for cars, school, homes, etc. We then pay down the loans through payments while we enjoy what we are investing in. Why should we think differently about a human life. If there were ever something worthy to invest in, it would be that as long as you can afford the monthly payments.
I am not a big fan of debt so I have found that one of the best ways to raise money for an adoption is through fundraising. This is the main reason I have launched our affiliate program through the OH Store, in order to help folks fundraise. I know that when I started my own adoption we did not have the money that we needed. We knew that going into it, but yet, we felt this strong call on our lives that we were supposed to adopt. We had no problem with adding another mouth to feed, it was just the upfront cost to get the child here that we could not fathom. I realistically knew that if we waited until the day came that we had an extra 20 grand then it would never happen. We had 5 other children and you know how there is ALWAYS something that comes up that dries up the bank account. So we decided to take a huge leap of faith and just go for it, let God lead the way, and nervously see where it led us. The reality was, that if we didn't end up with the money then at least we would have tried, never having been left with the question of "What if?" hanging over our heads. Sooo.....the fundraising began.
There are many ways to fundraise. It can be as simple or as creative as you would like. The first hurdle you must get past is feeling bad about asking for money. This stops a lot of people. It is a pride issue. It is humbling to ask folks to walk alongside you and join you in your journey. BUT I honestly believe with all my heart that God uses that to open people's eyes to adoption, who otherwise never would have even thought about it. When you put the need out there, when you tell your story, share your heart, talk about wanting to bring a child into your home, a child who has nothing, no future without you.....what does that do for those who are hearing? Well, since faith comes by hearing, it opens that person's eyes, and plants a seed of thought in them that they otherwise NEVER would have thought of had you not come to them sharing your need and sharing your heart about the orphans. It allows that person to make a difference in another's life simply through their donation. By helping you get the child home, it allows the giver to be left with a sense of purpose, especially once they see the child join your family, meet the child, see this little life changed forever, knowing that they played an important role in it. What does that do for that person? Well, I have seen many miracles come from it. I have even seen a situation where someone got offended at the person asking for a donation toward their adoption, only to see in the end, that person ended up adopting themselves. Why? Because their eyes were opened to it. Anything out of our comfort zone will rub us the wrong way at first. But the great thing is that you allow God to do the work. God's heart is for the orphan and widow. He delights in opening people's eyes to that very great need and he will use situations like this to do it. When we have lack, it creates an avenue for God to shine. It is all done through faith and obedience. All throughout the bible, the miracles happened once there was a simple act of faith on our part first. We step out with what we have and then God does the rest.
For our own adoption, we had a dinner at a hotel and some of our friends sang. It was a wonderful night of music, good food, and fellowship. We shared our heart, and gave people the opportunity to give at the end. It was very profitable for our adoption. We raised close to $10,000 in that one night. We also wrote letters and sent them out to our friends and family. Also, one of the best ways to spread the word these days is through blogs and facebook. Trust me when I say you will be surprised at the ones who will give. The ones you never would expect to give will give the most. The ones you would expect to give sometimes do not. I have seen people raise a lot of money through selling tshirts, crafts, jewelry, and all kinds of creative things. I know from personal experience that we did not have the money going into our adoption. Luckily it is all not due at once. I saw us put forth the effort to fundraise and I saw God provide for every bill just as it was due. I have also seen families fundraise to the point that they raise MORE than they needed and were able to turn around and bless another fundraising family. Is it hard to fundraise? Yes! Does it require work on our part? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! To see that little person join your family and know that you helped change a life at whatever cost or effort is so worth it. I cannot imagine my life without my son, Nathan. We have had him home for not quite three years now. It was a huge leap of faith to adopt, especially when we already had a fairly large family. But God knew that little boy belonged in our family and God supplied our needs because we gave Him the opportunity to do so. I have seen miracle after miracle when it comes to this. That is not to say that it won't be hard and that there won't be times when you are financially stretched. Again, it is an act of faith. With adoption there is also a lot of uncertainty because you are dealing with governments, rules and regulations. We personally had to switch countries three times in four years. We finally landed in Ethiopia and adopted our son from there. Even through all the uncertainty, extra paperwork, fees, etc, God paved the way and provided our needs. In the end, at His perfect timing, we brought home the most amazing little boy into our family. God also did a work in us through the fundraising, stretching our faith, teaching us how to survive the wait, and growing us in ways we never expected. I think that is part of it as well. We went into it thinking we were changing a life, when in reality, ours were changed just as much....and all for the better, growing in areas that we never even realized we needed to grow in.
So this is all food for thought. This is obviously based on my personal experience and what I have seen through now working in the adoption circles. I would love to hear your thoughts or stories on this. It is the huge elephant in the way of many. It is a topic worth discussing, working out the frustrations, and finding encouragement in. Nothing is too big for God. The real question is "Will we give Him the opportunity to use us when we clearly feel that burn in our heart for the orphans?" I welcome your comments.