All Articles Tagged "international adoption"

“Newborn Baby? That’ll Be $30,000 Please!”: The Bank-Breaking Business Of Adoption

February 21st, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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The notion of adopting a child truly tugs at our heartstrings, but let’s keep it real: the twist and turns that precede a successful adoption can be a nightmare! And to top it all off, your bank account will look damn-near empty after the process.

“I would like to adopt, but can’t afford the agency fees. It’s soooooo expensive.” a MadameNoire reader recently commented. She’s right. Between the legal fees, medical costs, travel expenses and possible failed adoption matches, this method of bringing a child into your family costs Americans between $10,000 to $40,000! But compare that to the average cost of a natural birth — $30,000 — and it isn’t too harrowing.

Now since there are several different methods to acquiring an adopted bundle of joy, let’s break down the numbers for each, shall we?

International Adoption

Maybe you’ll want to extend your motherly love to a precious child overseas?  The latest figures show international adoption has plummeted to only 20,000 children from 45,000 in 2004. Despite the drop, international adoption costs have climbed —  adoptive parents have put down as much as $50,000!

The price tag varies depending on which country you choose. One adoption agency — Bethany Christian Services — give us a pretty good picture of how much you’ll spend for international adoption. Taking in a Haitian child, for instance, will set you back between $35,149 and $42,129. What does this include?

Agency fees (paid to the social workers, the home study fees, and more) – $ 12,950

Country fees (funds the nation’s orphanage system) — between $13,810 and $ 14,650

“Third-party fees” (whatever that is) $ 2,864 — $ 3,404

Travel fees (don’t forget important documents like medical exams, proof of marriage, financial statements etc.) —  $ 4,825 — $ 10,125

Post-adoption fees  (agency needs to keep an eye on you as a caregiver) – $ 700 — $ 1,000.

The great thing about adopting internationally is that you don’t have to cover an expectant mother’s expenses or worry about her changing her mind. The downside? All that travelling can be a pain in the rear; be willing to visit the host country twice. Also, tough luck if you want a newborn! In most countries, children are orphaned and older before they’re permitted to be sent overseas, GlobalPost reports.

For a newborn, perhaps you’ll consider domestic adoption?

Domestic Adoption

Newborn American baby? That’ll be $33,793, please! This average figure can climb or drop even depending on the child’s race. According to NPR, a Caucasian baby costs $35,000, a bi-racial baby costs between $24,000 and $26,000 and a Black baby can cost about $18,000. But where, according to Adoptive Families, does all the money go?

Home study Fee (agency determines if you’re fit for parenthood through interviews, background checks and references) – $1,912

Agency application & program fee (y’know, adoption centers got bills to pay & profits to make) –  $14,161

Attorney fees (with all the legal mumbo jumbo, you might need one) – $3,548

Document preparation/Authorization – $1,114

Advertising (agencies need to retain their relationships with hospitals/clinics to find mothers willing to give up their child) – $2,017

Birth family counseling (sometimes offered to birth mothers for free, at your expense) – $1,085

Birth mother expenses (OB-Gyn, hospital stay, etc. One article calls this expense a “fraud” because taxpayers pay this fee, not you) – $3,076

Travel expenses (varies depending how far or near the birth mother is) – $2,198

All other expenses – $4,682

Whew! That’s a lot, but the good thing is that there’s a shorter wait time compared to international adoption and certainly less traveling. However, adoptive parents run the risk of the dreaded “false start” — expectant mothers fall in love with their baby and refuse to give it up. Thirty-five percent of adoptive parents have experienced this and lose out on an average of $5,000.

Foster Home

If you’re willing to forgo the fantasy of raising a child from birth, adopting from a foster home is the cheapest option — a relatively low price tag of only $2,744. As reported by Adoptive Families, let me give you a full picture of the expenses:

Home study fee – $231

Attorney fees – $1,573

Travel expenses – $342

Other expenses – $598

You pay absolutely nothing for agency fees, document preparation, advertising, and birth mother expenses. In fact, foster homes will give you a monthly stipend for food, medical insurance, school supplies, and clothes. On average, adoptive parents receive $607 a month. The downside is that many of the toddlers have developmental delays. “There’s usually a long line of potential parents waiting for an infant in good health,” ABC News says.


For women who cannot or choose not to give birth to children, another woman can carry and delivery the baby for them, which is what Melissa Harris-Perry did to add a baby girl to her family. If you thought domestic and international adoption was expensive, you’ll be shocked to hear that gestational surrogacy costs a whopping $80,000 to $100,000! Where did we come up with that number? Here’s the breakdown:

In vitro fertilization transfer fee - $1,000 

Cycling process - $400

Pregnancy allowance (8 months at $200 per month) - $1,600 

Maternity clothing allowance – $500

Life insurance – $500-$600

Health insurance - $1,000 – $25,000

Meeting allowance (5 meetings at $100 per meeting) - $500

Childcare - $1,200 

Housekeeping - $400

Surrogate’s lost wages -$2,500

Travel to IVF doctor -$1,000

Program fee – $22,500

Attorney/court fees – $10,250 – $16,760

If you can supply your own egg, a baby of your own genetic line will be born. The downsides are obviously the costs and the surrogate can, again, change her mind and keep the baby.

Parents who choose any of these methods must be prepared mentally for the unforeseen circumstances can take you on an emotional roller coaster as well as the fiscal challenges that come up.

But you know what? It’s all worth it in the end when you have your new angel-faced tyke to call your “son” or “daughter.”

Ethiopian Heritage Camp in Va. Offers Aids Adopted Kids and Their Families

July 27th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Washington Post) – At a rustic summer camp in Virginia’s Shenandoah Mountains, wedged between a monster water park and a Golden Corral restaurant, a raucous, Ethiopian feast unspooled and 9-year-old Mati found her groove at last.  There was a pony, an African marketplace and piles of injera bread. There was a drumbeat that grew faster, twangs from a stringed instrument called a krar and an impossibly fast esketa — an Ethiopian dance that had Mati and her friends shrugging their shoulders at warp speed.  Whoa. This wasn’t baseball. Or Wii bowling. Or skateboarding. This was what kids do in Ethiopia, the country Mati had tried to forget ever since her adoption at the age of 5.

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Are Christian Advocacy Groups Hiding Behind Jesus To Steal Babies?

May 16th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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"Charing Ball"If you get an opportunity, check out the 2002 flick “Rabbit Proof Fence,” which tells the tale of two mixed race Aboriginal Australian girls who run away from a government-sponsored settlement camp. The girls walk for nine weeks, while being pursued by a tracker through Australia’s outback, in hopes of returning to their community and family.

I was unaware of Australia’s dubious history of institutionalizing Aboriginals against their will in government-sponsored camps where they were used for cheap labor and “re-education” until I watched the film, which is based on a true story. Up until the 1970s, it was government policy to “breed out” all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine by controlling breeding and swaying the swift assimilation of “some Aboriginal people into the European population.” There was also the 1915 Aborigines Protection Amending Act, which enabled the Aborigines’ Protection Board to remove Aboriginal children from their parents without having to establish that they were in any way neglected or mistreated. Many of these stolen children were placed in good “Christian” families, sometimes overseas in Western countries, to aid in their assimilation.

I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I was again reminded of it while reading a story in “The Nation” about a growing trend called the evangelical adoption movement in which some Christians advocate for international adoptions from distressed countries like Haiti to address the worldwide “orphan crisis.” As result, evangelical adoption conferences are being held around the country, and between 1,000 and 2,000 churches participate in something called the “Orphan Sunday” event, which will be held in November. The call to serve appears to be working; as of last year, the evangelical adoption agency Bethany Christian Services announced that its adoption placements had increased 13 percent since 2009. This increase was in large part due to the mobilization of churches.

Perhaps there may not be anything shady about this whole deal.  Maybe this is just an extension of missionary work aimed at addressing child welfare needs in distressed countries. But in our own country where millions of children remain in state run foster care, you do have to question whether this is just the mission of some compassionate followers of Christ or the work of evangelical zealots that are baby snatching under the guise of Jesus.

Since the 1960s, there has been an increase in the number of inter-country adoptions with inquiries about international adoption up 95 percent among self-described Christians. The demand for global children is so high that the U.S. Department of State regularly lists and monitors open calls for adoption on its website.

Groups like UNICEF, one of the world’s most influential child welfare organizations, support inter-country adoption and have worked to ensure that many countries abide by the guidelines established by the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. However, UNICEF acknowledges that there are exploitative, unethical and outright illegal practices that exist in the inter-country adoption system. Issues such as the sale and abduction of children, coercion or manipulation of birth parents, falsification of documents and bribery, have all painted a troublesome picture of how inter-country adoption is sometimes executed. How can we forget the Laura Silsby saga, in which she and nine other Southern Baptists—who claimed to be motivated by God—were caught trying to transport thirty-three orphans from Haiti to an imaginary orphanage in the Dominican Republic.  There was also the story of the twenty-eight children from Leh, the Himalayan mountain region of India, who were rescued by police after a Christian-based NGO allegedly kidnapped them for the purpose of “religious conversion” and adoption. The issue of fraud, coercion and flat-out kidnapping related to international adoption is so unruly in Ethiopia that this past March, the country’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported that they would sharply reduce the number of adoption cases they would review from 50 cases per day to no more than 5 per day.

What instances like these should remind us is that there is an undercurrent of morally and superior arrogance even under the so-called best of intentions. This call for adoption only increases demand, which in turns fuels the trafficking of children and turning orphans into a commodity to be traded on the black market.  While Christian pro-adoption groups might really care about these children, they should also be just as concerned about the tactics that some countries and adoption agencies implore to place children with these “good Christian families.”

Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.