Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why is Adoption So Expensive?

I have gotten this question many times over the last week...everyone wants to know why it is so expensive (in our case, $30,000-35,000) to give a child a loving home...including me! :) But, I will do my best to explain it, as best I understand it anyway.

A chunk of it goes to pay for the home study. Different agencies charge different amounts for this process, and I guess that just boils down to how much they think their time is worth. In our case, the cost for the home study is $1,750. A home study first involves a background check of all adults living in the home to make sure that we aren't criminals or dangerous individuals. Then, a social worker will come to the home to make sure that the home is appropriate for a child to live there, and that there is space for that child. In the case of a first adoption, significant information about adoption in general is given to the adoptive couple to prepare them for parenting an adopted child.

I'm not sure about how other agencies break down their costs, but with the agency we used for Christopher's adoption, and now our new baby's adoption, the next step is the "Match Money" - which is basically the money that is due when the adoptive couple is matched with a birth mom. In this adoption, we were matched with our children's birth mom as soon as we agreed to adopt the baby! So...our "match money" - which is $15,500, is due as soon as possible - preferably next month (November). The agency is able to work with us a little bit and is letting us spread the money out over the next 6 weeks or so. This money is used primarily to pay for the birth mother's living and medical expenses. The way the law is set up, adoptive couples are permitted to pay a portion or all of the birth mother's living (rent, utilities, food, etc.) and medical expenses. While I do understand that this supports the birth mother while she is growing the baby, to some extent, this bothers me a bit because she would need to cover most of these expenses on her own if she weren't placing the child for adoption. But, I think the part that bothers me the most about this is that if the birth mother changes her mind at any point before she relinquishes her parental rights (including when the baby is born), the adoptive parents have no resources to recoup this money that they have paid out on the birth mother's behalf. Which means that it is possible for a pregnant lady to have all of her living expenses paid for during her pregnancy and still keep her baby. Not that we worry about that with this birth mother. She NEVER wavered in her decision to place Christopher for adoption (and he was the first child she had placed for adoption), so I don't expect it will be any different with this baby. :)

The next amount due will be when the baby is born, which is called the "At Placement" payment. This is whatever is left - right now, that estimated amount for us is $15,500 - could be more or less, depending on how much the agency ends up paying out for the birth mom's living & medical expenses and any unexpected expenses. This payment covers the agency's expenses, which includes an amount that helps to cover the agency's costs of working with birth moms that never make a match with an adoptive couple. This money also covers the costs involved in the adoption finalization costs, which includes the lawyer's & court fees.

So...that's adoption costs in a nutshell...at least as I understand them. Yes, it's a LOT of money...and some risk involved, especially when you are dealing with a domestic adoption - which is why many adoptive couples choose international adoption over domestic adoption, since the children who are available through international adoption already have the parental rights severed. However, I can speak from personal experience that once that little baby is placed in your arms for the first time (regardless of whether you adopt domestically or internationally), no amount of money matters! No matter what you've spent or what you had to do to raise the money, it's ALL worth it! :)

I will never forget the day that Christopher was first placed in my arms in the delivery room, or the bonding time David and I had with him in the hospital nursery. It was one of the best moments of my life...even better was the following day, when we brought him home from the hospital (on David's birthday) and knowing he was ours (even though there was still 3 months of post-placement visits to do before the adoption was finalized, to us it was a mere formality)! And every day for the last seven and a half years of being Christopher's Mommy has been an absolute blessing! I can only imagine what the next seven and a half years and beyond will hold...but one thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that God brought these two children to us and we are blessed beyond measure because of it! :)

Due Date Update

OK...so maybe I should have double checked with the adoption agency BEFORE posting a due date! LOL! When I talked with Kirk yesterday, I was SURE he told me that the due date was April 16th...but, he also told me she was 7 weeks, 3 days along (I wrote down both of these facts on my notebook while talking to him). But, after some thought, I realized these two didn't match up...so, I emailed Kirk today (partly to let him know the home study money was on its way to him so we could start the process) and asked him to clarify when the birth mom is due. He said the due date is JUNE 18th!!! WHERE I got April 16th, I'll never know (though I'm pretty sure that's what he told me, because that's the main piece of information I was looking for)!

This is one of the hard parts of adoption...not REALLY knowing anything! If it had been me at that doctor's appointment, you can be sure shootin' I'd know my baby's due date (or as close as the doctor could estimate)! But, I'm a little bit in the dark for now. ;) I'm hoping the ultrasound in a couple of weeks will give us a firm due date! I'm also hoping I'll be allowed to come on some of the appointments, too! Then, maybe I'll have the info straight from the doctor's mouth! :)

I'm not gonna lie...the fact that she's only 7 weeks pregnant does make me a little nervous - especially since we have to lay out all this moola! Having lost a baby to miscarriage in the 8th week of pregnancy (though we didn't find out until our 12-week check-up) 4 1/2 years ago (our one and only pregnancy), this brings up some thoughts I wish I could avoid thinking! I believe with my whole heart that God brought the opportunity to adopt Christopher's biological sibling to us for a reason and I'm trusting Him to make sure EVERYTHING works out for us to bring Christopher's sibling home!

The plus side of the change in due date is that it gives us more time to raise the second half of the money needed for the adoption, since that doesn't need to be paid until the baby is born! So, for now, I'm going to try to focus on that positive...not to mention the HUGE positive that Christopher's birth mom chose US to adopt his sibling!!! :)

So...please continue to pray for and with us about this adoption! Here is how specifically you can pray:
  • Health of the baby (first and foremost!)
  • Health of the birth mother
  • Finances needed to complete the adoption
  • Salvation of the birth mother (right up there with health of the baby in priorities!)
  • Peace of mind for the birth mother
  • Peace of mind for us!
  • That NOTHING would happen to disrupt this adoption! :)
...OK, and for those of you who have told me you're praying for a girl (or thought it and just haven't yet expressed it), you can add that to the list, too!!! ;)

As we have updates, you can be sure that we'll share them on this blog and post links to the blog on Facebook! :) Thank you so much for your prayers!!! :)



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Have A Due Date!!! :)

Today was the birth mom's appointment with the doctor...and we got a confirmed due date! YAY!!!

At exactly 10am this morning, I stepped outside of Christopher's Classical Conversations classroom to pray for the birth mom and her appointment, since that was the appointment time. I asked God to be with her as she went to this appointment, for the health of the baby, and for Him to provide the finances we need! :)

I spent the next two hours clinging to my cell phone for dear life, hoping it would start buzzing any minute with the news I was waiting for - I'd put the phone on vibrate so that it wouldn't disturb the class. However, I'm sure if I'd rushed out of the room, that might have caused a stir! ;) But...that was not to be. In fact, it was after 1pm before I finally heard from Kirk (Exec. Director of the adoption agency). Pretty sure God is trying to teach me patience...but I think I keep failing that lesson! ;)

Anyway, we found out our baby is due April 16th!

The birth mom will go back in a couple of weeks to have an ultrasound. I asked Kirk if he thought it would be appropriate to ask the birth mom if I might be able to go for some of the ultrasound appointments and he said he thought the birth mom might like that! So...we'll wait until we hear from her on that...but I'm so excited about the possibility of seeing our baby on the ultrasound screen!!!

Please continue to pray for the health of this baby, for the health, well-being, and salvation of the birth mom, and for the financial needs of bringing this baby home! Kirk shared with us that the birth mom told him today that the only good thing in her life right now is knowing that we are adopting this baby and he/she will grow up with his/her big brother! :)

We have no worries with this birth mom...she never waivered in her decision to place Christopher up for adoption. She loved him very much...so much, in fact, that she wanted better for him than she could provide! For that, I'm thankful!!! And I have no doubt that the same is true for this baby!

God is SOOOO good! We can already see Him at work providing what we need financially to bring this baby home! My cousin, who works for a graphics designer, is working on getting specially made T-shirts for us to sell as a fund raiser! The shirt will have "CHOOSE" across the top, two baby feet in the middle, and the verse from Ephesians that talks about us being predestined to adoption through him along the bottom...and some of the letters in the verse will be made larger to spell out "LIFE" - so that far away, all you see is "CHOOSE LIFE" - but as you get closer, you see the verse! :) As soon as I get a picture of what it will look like, I'll post the picture on this blog! :)

Also, a dear friend of mine told me today that her friend, who is a personal chef, has offered to do a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for us! So...as soon as we have a location for the dinner, I'll share the details with you on that! :)

I'm so excited to see how God is moving to make this a reality for us! We are indeed blessed beyond measure!!! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

HUGE News!!!! :)

Yes, I know...for you faithful blog followers, it has been a LOOOOONNNNG time since I've posted a new blog. Life has a way of getting busy and I just haven't taken the time to blog lately. BUT, I have a feeling all that is about to change...because we've got some pretty BIG news to report...


Yep...you read that right! Christopher is going to be a BIG BROTHER!!! :) WOO HOO!!!

No...we are not pregnant (at least not in the traditional sense)...and for those of you a little more updated on our life than this blog, it's not because we are becoming foster parents, either. This happened completely out of the blue and we just know this all came straight from the hand of God! :) Here's how it happened...

Last week, we were in Atlanta for David to attend a conference for work. We checked our home messages online Wednesday evening and found out we had a message from the agency we went through to adopt Christopher. I was having problems playing the message on my iPad, so we tried calling, but the office was already closed. David finally got the messages to play on the laptop he brought from the office and we found out from that message that Christopher's birth mom is pregnant again! That's about all the information we had, but we knew that the Executive Director of the agency wasn't giving us that info just because! Still, we had to wait until Thursday to get the full details!

So...Thursday rolls around and I wait not-so-patiently for the Exec. Director (Kirk) to return my call. I all but attack him for the info when I finally received his call! He starts to tell me that Christopher's birth mom walked into his office a week before looking to put this baby up for adoption. She thinks she's about 2 months along, but they will know a more accurate due date after she goes for her first doctor's visit, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday (tomorrow), but has now been rescheduled to Wednesday (10/26/11). She said she would love to have us adopt the baby, and even had a dream that we DID adopt the baby. Kirk told her not to get too excited because he didn't know how we would feel about it, since it's been 7 1/2 years since we adopted Christopher. I could barely contain my own excitement and couldn't wait to tell him how much we wanted that baby! However, he wouldn't take my yes answer right away...he told me to talk it over with David. Little did he know, David and I had done nothing but talk about it since we'd listened to the message! I knew what the answer was...even though we didn't have a clue how we were going to afford it, we knew that there was no way we could turn away Christopher's biological half-sibling! Kirk later reported that when told Christopher's birth mom that we were very interested in adopting the baby, she was so happy that she was shaking! =)

So...here we are! We are excited, still a little in shock, uncertain how we're going to do this...but certain that just as God dropped this in our laps, He will provide a way! :)

What we need most from you is PRAYERS...and LOTS of them!!! Please pray that God will provide all we need financially to bring this baby home, pray for the health of the baby, pray for the health and salvation of the birth mother, and pray for our family as we wait for Christopher's sibling! :) If you feel God is guiding you to help us financially in any way, we would greatly appreciate it! In fact, I've set up an Avon adoption fundraiser on my website (www.youravon.com/kjansen). When you follow that link and get to my online store, click on "Online Events" - this will take you right to the event. Then, click "Shop My Online Event" to purchase products. Be sure that the code ADOPTION2 is in the Coupon Code box! When you do that, ALL of my earnings from this fundraiser will go toward our adoption fund! :) You can also email me at karaj927@hotmail.com to arrange a donation of any size, if you feel so led. Every little bit helps! =)

Christopher has been praying for a sibling for so long...and as much as we joined him in that prayer, we never imagined a biological sibling would ever be possible...but God knew! How Great is Our God!!!

As we know more info, I will post it on this blog...so check back often! =) God bless you!!!