tough adoption questions

These 5 questions are hard. Thankfully it is often the hard questions that cause us to give better thought to the difficult issues in this life. This is not a comprehensive list nor are we giving exhaustive answers. You may have never considered asking these questions or would just be too afraid to offend us. So, consider this a safe place to get answers to questions you might not have the courage to ask us in person. If you don’t find what your looking for here, we would love to explain more. Just ask!

[The answers below are adapted and quoted from responses we have gathered from adoption professionals]

1. Why does international adoption cost so much?

The only adoptions which do not cost much are foster care state adoptions. Those children’s care are paid for by state taxes and the state is happy when a child is adopted out of their care and therefore no longer need state paid care.

“With international adoptions, there is no one to pay for the process except the potential adoptive family. Social workers who do the homestudy must be paid for their work. Adoption agencies such as ours must have a office, staff such as secretaries, phone and internet lines, etc. There are no sources to pay for these except through adoption fees. In other countries, there is much legal work to be done such as obtaining needed documetation, care of the child, food, clothing, nannies, medical care, etc. The airlines, guest houses or hotels where families stay, etc. all charge of fee. The US government, who issues approvals and visas, all charge for that service and the airlines won’t give free tickets to families traveling to adopt a child. Unfortunately, all the above costs money. Ethiopia is the least expensive place to adopt from. An adoption from Guatemala used to cost about $25,000.. Russia is about $45,000, China is about $2500 and Ethiopia is $16,000 (these figures do not include homestudy, travel, etc). Many people think that adoption should be free because you are doing a great thing in adopting however the entities above all have costs to providing the service requested by the adoptive family to adopt. A private domestic adoption usually costs about $20,000.. state foster adoptions are usually almost free and are often subsidized.”

2. Doesn’t it cost a lot because there is so much corruption?

“Fees paid should all be legal and fairly consistent among agencies. Corruption needs to be defined. It is never ever ok to pay ‘for’ a child, i.e. to promise a birth family money in exchange for a child or to pay someone to process false
documentation. Other fees can be fees that are charged by entities as part of the way that business is conducted in that country (i.e. it might be free to get a birth certificate but might take months or, for $100 fee, it can be expedited in a week). Some might call that corruption but others, business in that country. The saved 7 weeks would save costs of caring for a child for an extra 2 months… is that corruption? One must be very careful when using such a term and must understand what corruption is.”

3. Why not local adoption? or Why Ethiopia?

When we first set out on the adoption journey, local adoption shared the same place as international adoption on our overcrowded table of information packets. We understand (and are still learning more each day ) that there is a need for children to be shown the love of a family here in the United States. This adoption has enlarged our hearts not just for the orphans of one continent, but for the needs in every place. In a way, it has been revolutionary for us. We love that God is asking people, even some of our friends, to adopt locally. But, we cannot deny the deep sense of peace about the path we are on today. You may want to read more about the orphan crisis in Ethiopia here.

4. Why should we give to YOU? (“I didn’t ask for people to pay for my delivery at the hospital”)

“It takes a village to raise a child”. Helping us is partially helping orphan care in general. Adopting a child is not going to solve the world orphan crisis, but it will save one child from a terrible future. The plight of an orphan in a 3rd world country is horrendous, parentless children become slaves, slated for abuse and mistreatment, despair and suicide. Assisting families who are adopting is a way to invest in providing a life for an orphan that was God’s original plan for each and every child. Our adoption into God’s family was also costly, costing Christ’s own life for our redemption.

5. Being adopted is a hard enough transition, why adopt a child that looks different too?

“True and not to be taken lightly. This issue is often ignored or minimized. We need to be color aware, not color blind. This is an issue that will need to be dealt with continually as the child grows. HOWEVER, the worst thing in the world is NOT to look different.. the worst thing in the world is to be a child, with not one person to care for you, trying to survive on your own, begging on the streets, becoming disease ridden and dying of a broken heart. God’s plan for each person is to know Him and His love.. how can that happen without the model of adoption?”


There are many more questions and possibly even more eloquent responses to the questions already provided, yet these are a few to chew on. If you have any other thoughts, we are more than happy to discuss them with you. Thank you for taking the time to look into adoption. It is evidence that you care. As we stated before, we do not claim to have all the answers. We do know that we have been called to adopt and do not question or waiver in that one bit.

If you still want more… read this article by Shawn Groves… beautiful Six Things Adoption Has Taught Me 



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