This is “Princess Wonder Woman,” the daughter of my work spouse Brooke.
The other day, Brooke pulled me into her office to tell me about her conversation with Princess Wonder Woman. As the story goes, Brooke was pulling out fabric, ribbons and such, with her Majesty’s assistance, in order to start prepping for the “Stitch and Bitch” session that we were planning on holding this weekend. When working on her ribbon selection, the Princess asked Brooke why they were getting all the fabric and ribbons together.
Brooke went on to explain that Mr. Ryan and Mr. Matt would like to adopt children. She informed the Lady of the House that adopting children can be very expensive and that Brooke would be assisting Mr. Ryan and Mr. Matt by creating bags to be sold at Mr. Omar’s shop (Filiz Hair Design- https://www.filizhairdesign.com/).
The Princess of Wonder, fully embodying her name and all of its implications asked, “Well, how much does it cost to have a baby?”
Brooke, not wanting to hide the realities of life from the short-statured Woman of Wonder simply stated, “Thirty thousand dollars.”
“Whoa! You should be able to have three babies for that!” Exclaimed our vertically-challenged heroine.
When Brooke told me the story in her office the following day, we both burst out laughing. Children are so brutally honest. That said, I was struck by how close this 6 ¾ year old was in assessing what I also thought would be a reasonable sum of money for adopting a child. Children are EXPENSIVE! So asking for $30, 000 to be had upfront BEFORE the costs of actually having any children within your custody seems outrageous. I have been railing and raging against this facet of the journey towards child acquisition.
That said, I have finally come to peace with this fact. It has taken me a long time to get here, and it was quite the journey, so let me save you some of the mental and emotional gymnastics by walking you through the logic of that price tag.
The first step in the adoption process when signing on with an adoption agency is to pay $10,000 upfront, and be able to prove that you have the additional $20,000 available. The reason for this is that you need the $10,000 to begin receiving services. These services include:
- Parenting classes
- Education on the process
- Support groups
- Creation of a profile for birth mothers to look through
- Creation of video for birth mothers to watch
- Legal support leading up to the adoption
- Support in identifying what is, and is not, acceptable regarding adopted child’s background (drug use during pregnancy, genetic predispositions, history of mental illness in the family, race, sex, ethnicity, etc.)
- Promotion of our profile to potential birth mothers
- Adoption planning (learning how to adjust to having children, being clear about what expectations you have for the birth mother once adoption is complete, etc.)
- Conducting a home visit to ensure your household is safe for a child to be adopted into
In addition, the agency is also working with the birth mother in the following ways:
- Providing counseling and emotional support throughout the pregnancy
- Evaluating and re-evaluating the birth mother’s willingness to give up her child for adoption
- Legal support not only regarding the mother’s relinquishment of custody, but also that of the birth father
- Supporting the mother with acquiring insurance for medical bills
- Linking birth mothers with financial assistance if needed
- Supporting the birth mothers in making and attending all doctor’s appointments
This particular agency also provides a guarantee that others do not. In the state of Maryland, the birth mother has 30 days to change her mind about relinquishing her rights as the legal guardian of her child. Most adoption agencies make the potential adoptive parents restart the entire process from scratch, including providing the $30,000, in the even the birth mother changes her mind. This agency promises that this would not be the case with them. This is a very important protection that is a must for Matt and myself to be willing to officially engage in this process.
All of these services begin and are maintained from day one, once we pay the $10,000. The additional $20,000 is due the moment of the adoption. Since the adoption agency cannot predict when that may happen, it is important that the adoptive parents have the money on hand in the event that the day after signing up to the agency, if a child becomes available and the birth mother chooses those adoptive parents to rear her child, the parents can afford to actually adopt the child.
What is important to note is that the agency only receives the $20,000 once the adoption occurs. That ensures that they will continue to work to do their part in finding the adoptive parents and birth mother a suitable match for the child. What that also means is that all of the above services are being provided indefinitely at the cost of $10,000 (remember that the birth mothers are not paying for any of this monetarily, but still need the supports). The adoption agency has no consistent or predictable revenue for their social workers, lawyers, IT support, etc. to relay on, thus ensuring their livelihood.
Matt and I have looked into a few other adoption agencies as well. Many of them turned us off based on their highly religious tones (some seemed to suggest that the core reason to adopt was to raise children to be devout Christians, which does not sit well with us as that is NOT our motivation). Regardless, the price point was comparable to Adoptions Together (the adoption agency that we want to work with), but don’t provide the financial safety guarantee that Adoptions Together provides. We have also been referred to Adoptions Together by others who have adopted from them, and even others who have not.
Much like Princess Wonder Woman, I too believe that $30,000 should allow us to adopt three children. But, unfortunately, our governmental system does not subsidize adoptions and these services take time, expertise, and money. So this is the unfortunate reality. We completely understand the sticker shock, and appreciate your reactions to look into other avenues. We had the same exact reaction, which is why we felt that it was important to walk you through the rationale for the adoption costs. We appreciate all of the support you have provided thus far. That cannot be stated enough. Please feel free to continue to embody the spirit of Princess Wonder Woman, and validate, empathize, and ask questions. These questions are often the impetus for many of these blog posts.
If you are looking for additional ways to provide support, feel free to suggest grants to look into, volunteer time, talents, and ideas for fundraising, spreading the word about our journey, and/or contributing financially via www.gofundme.com/ryanandmattadoption or directly to us in order to put it into our dedicated savings account.