Earlier today, someone very close to me (as in, there is no one in the world I share more DNA with than this person) shared our JUST ONE DOLLAR video on Facebook. Not long after, someone he's friends with on the FB posted a comment stating that it bothers her when people pay to adopt when there are so many kids in the foster care system. If it wasn't in response to our fundraising campaign and current situation, it was sure a mighty coincidence.
We knew when we went public with this that we would open ourselves up to a lot of scrutiny. It happens. Five years ago my blog landed on a vicious anti-adoption page and I received hate mail and nasty comments from people who had NO IDEA what the real situation was. I didn't respond because nothing I said would have made a difference. I didn't use my blog to explain case law or psychological evaluations and how important they both were in regards to Matthew's adoption. I'd like to think I've grown up in five years and ignorance won't bother me anymore.
But, though I know the particular Facebook comment maker will likely never stumble upon this corner of the blogosphere, I do want to clear up a few common misconceptions. Some broad and some specific to our situation.
1. You always have to "pay" for adoption. There are legal fees. There are social workers who need to be able to put food on the table. There are home studies and court documents and clearances and adoption always costs money.
2. There are SO many kids in the foster system. They are wholly deserving of love. There are also kids in orphanages who should not have to grow up there. And then there are unborn babies whose mothers are choosing adoption for a reason. There is no right way to adopt. God loves every orphan. He loves every child in the system. He loves every unborn baby. So also should we.
3. Our plan WAS to adopt a waiting child. We inquired on dozens. For whatever reason (God's plan) none of the situations we inquired on ended with us having a child placed in our home. I won't go into detail regarding Baby Girl's parents but I will tell you that her mother was placed in foster care at age 5 and aged out, never having been adopted. When we heard that story, our hearts were broken because that was exactly why we'd wanted to adopt a waiting child. So that one less kid had to experience that kind of pain and suffering. We struggled to decide to move forward with an infant adoption because we know that there are so many people willing to adopt babies and a select few willing to adopt older children. But, it was so evident that we were being called to this particular baby and, in the end, in a roundabout way, we are helping a waiting child. She's not a kid anymore, but she's chosen us to love her unborn baby and by being there to say to her, "We will love you and honor you as this baby's mother," we feel like, in some tiny way, we're there for a waiting child--all grown up.
4. We are estimating this adoption to be about $30,000. It's a loose estimate based on the fact that we really don't know how expensive it will be because legal fees are rather unpredictable. That being said, we do know a few things. We know that we owe $13,750 to our facilitator. That covers a multitude of various things including paperwork, accompanying mothers to doctor's appointments, ongoing emotional support for the birth mother, coordinating the gathering of important signatures, matching adoptive couples to mothers, etc, etc, etc. One thing we know for certain is that this isn't a money making business for them. It's a ministry. We know that we owe approximately $9,000 to help with living expenses for the mother while she is pregnant and for a short time after. The remaining estimated costs will go toward legal fees. To retain our lawyer here in Utah to facilitate the adoption on this end and to retain attorneys in California--where the parents are--to facilitate the adoption on that end and counsel the parents.
IT'S A LOT OF MONEY. It is. When all is said and done, between fertility treatments with Garrett, adoption costs with Matthew and adoption costs for Not Currently Named Baby Girl, we estimate (praying against any unforeseen fees this time around) that we will have spent about $80,000 to have our three children. (FYI: That is about the same amount that my four years at a private Christian institution in the early 2000's cost. I'd have so much more money if I was childless and uneducated. But my life wouldn't be as rich.) I don't regret a single dime given to bring Garrett and Matthew into my life and I know, when she's home in my arms, that I won't regret anything we give to bring our daughter home.
Families are built in a myriad of ways. My heart lies not just with the orphan or the foster child or the unborn baby, but with them all. Because every single child deserves a home. We have been led to this little one and so we shall move forward. If the way we choose to do it is bothersome, I would encourage you to do it a different way. Heaven knows there is not a shortage of children to love.
To those who have shared in our incredible joy over this situation, those who have squealed with me over ultrasound pictures, those who have given one dollar (or a thousand), those who are praying, THANK YOU. Please know that we couldn't do this without your support and we love you all so much.