Today is third snow day in a row. We got almost 2 feet of snow in one storm! It was awesome, but honestly, I'm ready to get back to a regular routine. BUT I thought I'd take a snow day to update my blog. Thursday will be 12 months - 1 YEAR waiting. I can't believe we have been an active waiting family for a year. Every month is 30 days closer to our child, and so we wait as long as we have to for that child because that child deserves a family who is willing to wait forever for him or her. We will take a picture on Thursday and probably post it if we get an update on whether we have had any profile views this month.
So, I've been thinking about this post for the last couple of weeks. I am going to answer the 2 questions that we've been asked the most.
Question 1: Why does it cost so much?
This question often takes different forms. "Why does it cost you so much when you can adopt for foster care for free?" Why does adoption cost so much more than abortion?" "Why does it cost you so much when someone I know didn't pay that much?" "Why does it cost you so much? You are taking care of someone else's baby, they should pay YOU!"
I think the root of all of these questions is the same, why does adoption cost so much or/ why does it cost ME so much. So, I'm going to break down our fees and explain why we pay so much. These are fees for our agency (Bethany Christian Services) in our state - each agency and each state and each route to adoption is different and the fees are different.
SO, with an agency you are paying for their services. Our agency charges us the following:
$550 -First, we had to pay an application fee which was $550. This covers costs for the intake process and eligibility determination.
$2,000-Once we had been approved we needed a homestudy done which costs $2,000. I believe that is the charge that the state of Virginia requires. This covers the social worker coming to our house twice, and 3 interviews that she needed to conduct. Then she needs to write up the homestudy - this is a long process for a social worker and a lot of work.
$650 - Before being a waiting family the state of Virginia requires you to have a certain amount of education. Bethany in VA has a required 2 day training seminar. This pays for the people who teach the seminar and the materials you get.
$2,500 - Support services fee - this pays the social workers to keep in contact with us, keep our service plan up to date, and all the other things they do to help us during the waiting period.
$2,500 - Expectant parent expense fee - this does not go to a specific birth mother, instead of paying for a specific parent's expenses (which can get sticky) this goes into a pot to help birth mothers with cost of housing, transportation, medical fees and legal expenses.
$2,500 - Marketing/ advertising fee- Our agency does not market us individually, but they advertise with hospitals, crisis pregnancy centers, etc. They also have our profile up on their website for birth parents who are browsing their site.
$15,000 - Placement fee - This is paid when the baby is placed with the adoptive family. This covers post placement education, visits, ongoing communication throughout the child's life, counseling for birth family and adoptive family and anything else they do after placement.
TOTAL: $25,700 in fees
Additional costs: profile book, homestudy updates if necessary, finalization attorney, finalization paperwork, travel - these are all fees the adoptive family must pay out of pocket - usually up to a couple thousand more depending on the attorney hired.
SO - hopefully that tells you what we are paying for and why it costs so much. Our agency is a non-profit agency so everything we pay for goes back into the agency to help with our adoption and to help birth families. We feel okay with these fees because we are supported by our agency. The way they work we are protected from most adoption scams, from losing any money in the process, and we have support whenever we need it even years after our adoption is finalized. If you want to know more about this please contact me and I'd be happy to talk to you about it. And hopefully, this shows you why adoptive families often do fundraising.
Question 2: Why do you have to wait so long?
This question also comes in different forms, but the question is always the same. So, I am going to speak only to our situation with our agency in our state, because even with our agency each state works differently. (To fully understand this you have to understand how adoption works - click the tab at the top of the site to see more on that and ask if you want to ). Our agency in our state works by allowing birth mothers to view profiles to pick an adoptive family for their child. The adoptive family has preferences on the type of child they are willing to take, and the birth mother has certain preferences she wants. So, her baby and preferences will be a match with a handful of families (probably, and could always be less or more) waiting. She will see a few profiles at a time, starting with the longest waiting that match her and her preferences. So, in Virginia we have around 60 waiting families with our agency. So, depending on how open your preferences are you have to wait to get close enough to the top of the list for your profile to start being shown. We are pretty open, and it took us 11 months to get shown -and we were told with our openness to expect to wait around a year to be shown, so our social worker was pretty spot on with that. And from that point on it is just a matter of our profile being shown to the right family. And of course the closer you get to the top of the list the more your profile will be shown and the same goes for the more open you are.
I know that is a lot of information, but hopefully it helps you understand the answers to our 2 most asked questions. Which, by the way, if you have asked us these questions and we didn't give you such detailed or good answers, it's because they are kind of hard to answer in every day conversation.
More questions? please ask or email me!
Kristen (and Adam)