One of the biggest choices for people to make when considering adoption is domestic or international.
Some other big decisions to make include:
- Age of child
- Would you accept special needs
- Openness of adoption- there are more options for dometic adoption than international
- Finding an agency
- Using an agency or going through an adoption attorney- if you don't go through an agency it is the prospective parents job to locate their own birth mother. (I will go over this in more detail later)
- If international, choosing a country and program
- Average wait time for a referral (when the prospective parents are matched with a child)
- Average wait time after receiving referral (when the child will come home)
- What is the country's policy on adoptive parents travelling to country (how many times, how long do they need to stay?)
- The costs
- How to pay for the adoption
As you can see there are many, many decisions to be made when tackling adoption. The decision to pursue adoption is overwhelming by itself. For many people the choice means the loss of a biological child and pregnancy. While the potential adoptive parents are excited at the prospect of adopting, there remains grief caused by infertility and loss. That is why when people flippantly say, "Why don't you just adopt?" they have no idea what an uneducated and insensitive comment they are making.
It's almost like saying to someone who is facing a life threatening illness, "Why don't you just take vitamins and go to yoga classes." No big deal.
First I will tackle the costs involved.
The following information is from an article in Adoptive Families Magazine. I could list the fees associated with my own international adoption, but these figures offer a wider scope.
Keep in mind this is simply an overview.
Note- The federal government currently offers a tax credit to adoptive parents in the amount of $11,650 in 2008. However, you can only file for this credit in the year the adoption was finalized. For example, our son came home in June 2008. It was our agency's policy to monitor us for six months before releasing our paperwork and allowing us to pursue the finalization of our adoption. This process then took another five months. We will now have to wait to file for the tax credit on our 2009 tax return; therefore, we will have waited nearly 2 years to receive the tax credit to help pay for our adoption.
During 2007-2008 the average cost of any adoption ranged from $25,000-$30,000.
In general, international adoption costs more than domestic. However, part of this is due to the fact that adopting from the foster care system can cost nothing or very little.
Countries offering international adoption vary in costs. Ethiopia is listed as the least expensive program with an average cost of $20,000. Russia is listed as the most expensive program on average at $35,000+. Our adoption from Korea cost $25,000 (through our agency) which as stated before falls in the median cost for adoption in general.
To be continued...