Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jaw dropping

Some part of me really still wants the whole adoption thing to work out. I mean, we're still paper ready and still technically active with a couple of referral services and I'm receiving emails from a facilitator I contacted months ago, but still...

We're not hopeful.

Not about the adoption anyway.

I mean, part of it is that we really do want to experience the conception/birth aspect. I guess you could call it a life goal, one so common that most people don't even realize as a life goal until they don't get to experience it.

But even beyond that, I'm just so worried about the state of domestic adoptions.

Oh, sure, most agencies are probably doing well. Maybe a bit of a slow down as births across the nation drop and countries close their international adoption programs. But even so, I imagine that most agencies are holding steady as far as fees and policies.

I'm not seeing this with the referral services and facilitator.

What I'm seeing is drastic fee increases, which is really worrisome to me. It's not just about "wow I don't want to pay that" it's also "OMG, at that point it's not adoption, it's buying!"

Yesterday I received an email with an adoption situation for roughly $36K, not including the homestudy, TPR, post placement, finalization, travel or any other fees on our side. The agency fee alone was $19K, not including things like first mother expenses or legal fees.

Um, $19K? For an agency fee? WTF? I'm sorry, but there is no reason. Not even one reason. I understand that agency fees can be all over the board and they have to charge $$ to pay staff and handle paperwork and advertising, etc, but $19K? I mean, literally everything that was necessary for the adoption (helping out the first mother with her prenatal expenses, medical and legal fees) was separate. The NINETEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS was just so you could have the pleasure of working with them and matching with the first mother. They wouldn't even be advertising for you.

Oh, and an extra $5K to work with the facilitator who would match you with the agency who would match you with the first mother.

So TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS just to meet up with someone, and THEN you can start paying the fees that actually are necessary.

As a comparison, we paid roughly $21K for all of Paxton's international adoption in '07, and that included agency fee, all legal, all travel, donations to the orphanage, etc.

And then there's first mother expenses.

I get that a woman making an adoption plan for her child should not have to pay for the costs pertaining to that child and her pregnancy. Really, it makes sense. Yes the adopting couple should cover co-pays and time off work and transportation to doctor's appointments and prenatal vitamins and maternal clothing. She shouldn't have to pay all of those things.

And yet I'm seeing higher and higher "birth mom expenses."

I saw one for over $11,000 last week! For matching with someone already several months pregnant!

I'm not entirely sure what's going on here. Is the agency encouraging this? Trying to entice pregnant women with free items for several months so that they're pretty much guaranteed to place through them? Are the first mothers in these instances just coming up with a list of fees and hoping they can get them all covered? Are there people out there willing to pay all of this in hopes of adopting a child? Doesn't it sound just a bit too much like you're buying a child instead of adopting at that point?

I don't know every situation so I shouldn't really make any judgments at all. It's just that I find the cost of adopting has jumped so drastically in such a short time period, and it's like no one has noticed. And as much as I can sit here and complain about what it is now, what about the fees we paid for our children? Sure, they all seemed pretty accountable with P, but what about with P? And what about the people who adopted several years before us who could look at what we spent and gasp in horror, wondering why we'd be nuts enough to pay that amount for services when we all know it doesn't really cost that much?


Just thinking about money when it comes to my kids gives me the willies. And thinking that someone, somewhere, could be profiting off of their adoptions... Like, not just paying the bills kind of profiting, but actually making money hand over fist.... yeah, that creeps me out. And so whenever I see adoption situations come through for like $35K or $44K or whatever I just cringe and feel ill, because really, that's a life you're playing with. Hell, lives. First parents who may feel coerced because of all the money spent on them, adoptive parents spending their savings on the chance to raise a child, and a helpless little child who may miss out on the best home for them entirely due to crazy high agency fees.

Okay, rant done. I'm going to keep perusing the various adoption situations, because you never know. And we're still exploring fertility options and even looking a little into foster care, though Nik's a hard sell (and really so am I) so that's in the "maybe someday" category. And thus, I'm off... to do laundry and perchance get a little rest in bed before the kids pop up.


manymanymoons said...

I am right there with ya on all of the points you made. The cost is staggering and it's almost like they know they have you so they feel free to raise the prices little by little. It's so difficult to rectify it all. We made a deal with each other that at the first sign of coercion on the part of the agency with either us or the mother we were out of there. So far so good, but I am sure it happens all the time.

It sounds like you have your eyes wide open, so you're way ahead of the game.

Sarah said...

Hey Megan- You probably don't remember me but we were in the same orientation class at the agency you went through to adopt your second son. I found your blog a while ago and have been following you. I finally had to comment b/c your post is just so good/true. It is getting scary... and money is not the half of it. I have just been able to start talking about our domestic adoption experience on my blog I started recently. (It's in my profile.) Thank you for posting about this tough subject. I admire your honesty. You have a beautiful family!