Friday morning as I sat with Yosef and Biniam waiting for their doctor's appointment, a medical assistant for the pediatric dental office was taking her lunch break on a bench next to us. She was probably in her mid to late forties. She began asking me about the kids, and it came up that the boys are from Ethiopia (I don't generally just offer this information at random, but she asked if I had other children and how old they were, and Anna's only 8 months older than them.)
Then she was asking some typical adoption questions: how long the process took, was it difficult, and how much it costs. I answered her questions, including the one about the cost, trying to keep it generalized. She said "Wow, that's a lot. You must have a lot of money to be able to do that." I suddenly felt REALLY awkward (and desperately wanted to invite her out to the parking lot to check out my car.) I told her that you DON'T have to be wealthy to adopt, that you don't have to have tons of cash just sitting around to do this, etc.
Anyhow I think it IS a common misconception that you have to be really well-off (by American standards) to complete an adoption. So I am posting about this in case anyone out in blogland worries that they aren't ever going to be in a financial position to do this.
--For one thing, there is something called the federal adoption tax credit. For each child you adopt, you get five years to take $10,000 right off the taxes you pay (this goes into effect the year the adoption is finalized.) Go government! Also, many employers offer subsidies to employees who adopt. SO, if you are able to pay the money as you go through the process, quite a large chunk of it can come back to you later (again, the year the adoption is finalized.)
--There are lots of grants available out there, generally based on income. Google is a great way to locate these. Also, I know our adoption agency offers grants through what they call the Grace Fund to families adopting harder-to-place children (older and special needs children basically.) You can also get adoption loans through banks.
--You don't pay all at once. The thing is, you are paying for all the steps of the process, NOT the child. The child's case goes to court in their birth country, a lawyer represents you, you pay to travel/have the child escorted home, our own country requires you to have some pretty pricey fingerprints taken, the list goes on. You pay throughout the process as you go.
--Finally (and most importantly), I REALLY believe that God will bless our efforts if we step out in faith to do His work. I really do. I'm not advocating reckless spending or mindlessly going into something. BUT I believe that the Lord will provide a way. Very few people will look at the total cost for an international adoption and feel like it's no big deal, they've got it all covered. But God is faithful.
So that is my adoption post for the day. Or month since I haven't done one in a long time. Don't automatically feel discouraged by the costs; with some planning and praying and maybe some sacrificing, it can be done.