Sam was chatting with several of his co-workers about us adopting. He told them we’d been placed in the Korea program and were excited to move forward in this process. One mentioned they had wanted to do it but the cost was crazy, and Sam told him about different ways to help with that – really just the tip of the iceberg to what we know is out there.
During the conversation, one guy snidely said, “Hey – you should get one from Czechoslovakia. I’ve heard they’re so cheap there, you could buy two.”
And that’s when I threw up in my mouth.
Look, I understand there are many different views on adoption. But it hurts my heart to think that people actually consider a legitimate, long adoption process with two well informed people and a great, nonprofit agency the same as purchasing an imported coffee table.
But after my initial, “How rude!” reaction, I realized maybe these types of comments or assumptions about adoption were an opening to share what I’ve learned already. Instead of simply being offended and walking away.
When conversation turns to the adoption costs, this is usually where things need to be clarified. We are not “purchasing” a child. The money we are paying goes towards the first months of their lives, the medical needs, the passport and visa, the travel, the paperwork, the time and effort both our home study and international agency put in to get us there and them home, and to pay for the documents we need to have/send. We believe we have a child who is meant to be ours to love and raise living in another country. The money we spend brings him or her home and until then, pays the expenses others incur.
We spent thousands of dollars (even after insurance) on Bella during pregnancy and her first year after for medical bills – we didn’t buy her. I consider adoption just a different way of using our income towards a child who will be ours one day.
It is hard to comprehend why an adoption can cost so much. Some are more, some are less. Countries have different programs and regulations I had a parent tell me as her adopted child stood next to her that she “got him for free.” (I worked with her child for two years, and he was worth a million dollars.) Each kind of adoption brings it’s own cheerleaders and critics.
In the end, the important thing to remember is this is a child, being made part of a family. Most people are quick to understand that once it’s explained without offense taken. I mean, before this, I didn’t know much about what the money went to at all. It’s expensive to have children, no matter where they come from. But they are totally worth it.
Well, most days.
Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and their families’ Korean adoption in progress on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances.
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