The very fact that we are talking about money today means this post is brought to you by Laura. Adam will tell you that I am the financial mastermind in our family. And so I have the privilege of looking at the overwhelming cost of international adoption and helping to explain where all that money goes!
So, I made a little pie chart. Because I am nerdier than most people realize.
We have established that adoption is expensive, international adoption especially so. So, why is that?
In the life cycle of an adoption, you pay for all kinds of things. Small things like passport photos, online classes, books, notarization, certified copies of birth certificates for EVERYONE in your family, etc. You also pay for big things like agency fees and travel expenses.
Let's work our way through each category.
When looking at the chart, you can see that travel is the single biggest expense, however, it is still only about 1/3 of the total cost. Frankly, it is expensive to travel internationally on relatively short notice. Additionally, we will be in China for about 2 weeks which means accommodations and additional travel in-country as we travel from our arrival city, to the province where the orphanage is (and China is big, so that travel is not a little taxi ride...), to the Consulate to finalize the adoption, to a major airport. Also, it may surprise you but neither of us have a secret talent in speaking Chinese (although I have just started Rosetta Stone...), so we will need to utilize a translator during our trip.
The next largest expense is country fees. That is different from travel. Travel costs includes what we will need to spend in order to be there. Country fees include a fee to submit our paperwork to the CCCWA (China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption), translation costs for documents, visas, and various civil affairs fees. The largest cost in this category is a donation to the Children's Welfare Institute in China. This donation enables the orphanages to continue to provide care.
Agency fees are fairly self-explanatory. We have an adoption agency and they provide a number of services for us including completing our homestudy, verifying all documents, submitting documents for authentication and translation, wiring all payments required in China, and facilitating our referral. They also provided 10 hours of required education and have answered countless emails with questions and concerns. Our agency fees are very reasonable, and thousands less than many others for an adoption from China.
Post-adoption reporting is done with an agency social worker at regular intervals following the completion of the adoption. China requires 4 reports. Our agency will complete the reports and submit them on our behalf. These reports enable our agency to maintain good relationships with agencies in China in order to allow China to remain open to adoptions in America. So, kind of a big deal.
And lastly, we have education and documentation. This includes our submission fee for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to be approved to adopt. Also, our additional online education, forms, passport photos, and notarization all fall here.
It is a lot. A lot of information. And a lot of money. And truthfully, we are not exactly sure how we will cover all of the costs. We pray daily that the Lord will provide exactly what we need in order to bring our baby girl home soon. We aren't exactly sure how we feel about fundraising, but the reality is that we will need help to make this happen.
A little statistic to provide food for thought... 33% of Americans consider adoption. 79% of those are concerned about the costs, the biggest deterrent. Less than 2% adopt. (source: ABBA Fund) We hope to be in that 2%.