Adoption: The Cost of the Blessing


In Spring of 2010 the Liette family welcomed Zoe Mei into their family in Inner Mongolia, China. Photo Credit: Mikelle Liette

There are approximated 163,000,000 orphans worldwide and several more that are unreachable. The number of orphans is growing everyday. Some of these orphans have lost one parent, some have lost both, and some have been left to survive on their own. With these startling statistics many wonder why adoption is such a grueling, long, and most of all, expensive process. It’s true, it should be free, but adoption, especially international adoption has a very intense legal process. Throughout the process of adoption, there are many governmental procedures that are necessary to complete before moving forward, all of which require a large amount of money.

Cynthia Norberg, of American World Adoption Agency (AWAA) explained that the cost of international adoption varies from country to country. “The cost of adopt internationally can be anywhere from $22,000-$60,000,” said Norberg. Although it is no secret that this is a lot of money, many families feel a slight burden lifted when they learn that it is not all due at one time.

“We do it in a total of 5 different stages,” comments Norberg. She explained that when a family applies and makes their contract, they pay their first fee. Then next they do their main set of documents, which is known as a dossier and along with that they pay their second fee. Once they accept the dossier and agree on the child they are adopting they pay their third fee.

“Travel fees are one of the last of the large payments that you will make and that included airfare, hotel, sightseeing, and all of the necessary costs for traveling to pick up your child,” said Norberg.

Cheryl Liette, of Tipp City, Ohio has gone through the adoption process twice and is very familiar with the documents and financing that goes along with adopting. “I definitely think that it helps that the payments are spread throughout the process,” says Liette, “It allows you to gather the money and fundraise while you are waiting.”

What most people do not understand is that there are fees for virtually everything involved in the process of adoption because it is essentially all governmental transactions. Though there are agency fees, most of the money is going towards government services. Norberg explained, “This includes documents, background checks, investigations, government finger printing, fees for translational services, fees for currier services, delivery and fees for dossier, international payment fee towards country, training, after adoption home study fees as well as an attorney, if necessary.”

Having been through the process twice, Liette explains that there are ways to raise the money. “Some people I’ve known sell adoption t-shirts on their blog or websites,” she said. She also has known people who had chick-fil-e sponsor them for the night.

“We had friends who had a spaghetti dinner through our church,” said Liette. A lot of times people want to help in at least some small way, and fundraisers make it easier for them to know what to do.

Norberg also mentioned that there is a page of links on the American World Adoption website that guide people to loans and grants that are available for families. Something that is important to realize when applying for grants to raise funds for the adoption process is that the money from them is typically not available directly after the grant is approved. Norberg explained, “Grants are great, but they typically don’t allow you to use them until the travel phase. We encourage the families to have about $5,000 on hand before they start the process because within the first couple of months that is how much you’ll need.”

“We as an agency offer discounts to certain people that are adopting. This includes pastors as well as military families and families that are adopting a second child,” said Norberg.

As far as the market crashing a few years ago, Norberg says that the cost for adoption did not change. “We expected that there would be a downturn and we saw a downturn,” Norberg said of the economy, “but now that it has stabilized, we are back and running like normal.”

Though adoption is expensive, time consuming, and at times, overwhelming, the rewards are countless. People all over the world invest their money in stocks, companies, brands, and products, why not invest your money in the life of an orphan?


About relating2thepublic

I am 21 years old and attend Southeastern University where I am pursuing my degree in journalism and public relations. I have many dreams and passions and I have decided to begin taking action now in accomplishing these dreams. I believe that everyone can be great, but they must persevere through struggles. I hope that my blog is an encouragement to you!

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