I'm thankful to be here to tell you during this National Adoption Month and this week leading up to Orphan Sunday, that this is simply not true.
Just as there are a variety of types of adoptions (international, domestic, infant, older child, special needs, foster care, agency, private, open adoption, etc.) there is a wide range of costs associated with an adoption.
In Texas, adopting a child from the foster care system is often free and in many cases there is financial help that extends even after the adoption is complete. If you adopt a child who is legally available through the US foster care system in Texas, and that child meets any of the following criteria:
- white and over the age of 6
- minority (including biracial) over the age of 2
- sibling group of any age and race
- all your attorney fees incurred during the adoption process paid back to you in full
- free college tuition to any state school, including graduate schools (even med. school!)
- between $0 and $400 per month per child depending on your income
And although our current adoption is not through the US foster care system, due to a variety of reasons, I have volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for nearly 9 years now and met many children in the foster care system and although they come from hard places and do need special attention tailored to their specific situations, they are adorable, lovable children.
I think a misconception of foster care kids is that they are somehow undesirable, castaways, unhappy kids. But, this has not been true of any I've met. They've been a wide variety of races, ages, and backgrounds, but they've all been precious kids that I would have brought home and raised as my own with very little hesitation if their circumstances had warranted that possibility.
Also, if you work through the foster care system for your adoption you could do a foster to adopt program where you foster the child first, have a chance to get to know them, and then if they end up becoming available for adoption, you'd have the option to adopt.
To answer a few other common questions about foster care:
- There is no age limit on being a foster parent. I heard it straight from a foster care agency representative. As long as you can basically get around then you are young enough to foster children.
- You must attend training (in TX it's called PRIDE training and consists of 10 three hour sessions and be certified).
- Single parents can be foster parents.
- You can work and leave your foster children in daycare (sometimes state pays for the daycare sometimes not).
I don't have time to cover financing a non-foster care adoption right now, but there are resources out there to help you. This link has some great information and links to foundations that can help.
And when it comes down to it, God loves adoption and He funds what He favors.
You'd be surprised the creative ways to raise funds for an adoption. I've heard of people having garage sales with their own stuff and things friends donate to the cause, holding spaghetti dinners where they invite friends to come and contribute whatever, and selling everything from t-shirts they have printed up to handmade crafts.
Also, we've been surprised how much money we've been able to free up through changes in our spending. Canceling cable TV = $80 per month! You add up several changes like that and marvel at the results!
And, can I add that having a child biologically is not cheap, either? Prenatal care + maternity clothes + hospital delivery + newborn medical care + diapers those first few months of life that you may skip if you adopt a slightly older child!
I've know someone who has walked with many families through a variety of types of adoptions and he says he's never seen a couple that God called to adopt that did not figure out a way to fund the adoption.
If you still are not in a position to adopt a child, but want to help orphans, check out this link for other ways you can make a difference.
Find more Thankful Thursday here.