Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Paying today

I woke up at 4am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I kept running over my lists of things to do, so I decided I might as well get up and get my day started. Last night we received an email with our official itinerary and costs. The fees alone are enough to make a sane person lose a night's sleep. I honestly do not know how people afford to adopt multiple times. We've been corresponding regularly with a family that has adopted 10 children from China over the last few years, and I know another family who has adopted at least 8 children (they have 12 total!) from various countries. I honestly wonder, how do they manage all the fees? We are upper-middle class, and it's going to take us several years to pay off our credit card. The orphanage "donations" for our two boys total $11,255, payable by bank-certified check only, wired directly to China. I have to go get the check today, and Fedex it to Seattle, so that they can wire it to their representative in China (for $200 wiring fee). The only other option is to hand-carry that much money in cash. No thanks. I'm nervous enough traveling without carrying large amounts of cash. Then, of course, the trip itself will cost us well over $12,000, since there are 3 of us traveling to China, and five of us traveling for 2 weeks within China, and then five flights home. Add to that, the home-study fees, agency fees, notary fees, passports, original documents,Fedex charges, Chinese visas, passports, and immigration fees and the total is close to $10,000 more. If you're thinking, well, we could adopt a US child for less money, you would be mistaken. Adopting from the US is only slightly less expensive overall. The home-study, agency fees etc. are almost the same, no matter from where we adopt. The only big savings would be the cost of the trip, but we'd have to travel (usually a few trips) within the US too. Amazingly enough, we found out that tickets to states in the Midwest can cost as much as tickets to China. If we adopted in the US, we'd have to pay all the legal adoption fees here, which would be close to the cost of the orphanage donations. This is why many people choose to adopt abroad. In addition to USA adoptions not being much cheaper, the adoptions (of older children)in the USA are almost always "open" adoptions. This means that the parents, grandparents and other relatives know the names of the adopted parents, and often have visitation rights or the right to keep in touch. If they decline all their rights at adoption time, they can later go to court and petition for visitation rights. It happens all the time. The adopted children can also decide later that they want to see their biological family,and they can pursue that option at any time.I know someone who adopted a girl from the USA, and when the girl was a teen she found her biological mother. The biological mother then milked the girl out of her entire college fund. Yes, adopting from China isn't free, but we believe that it is worth every penny. I also try to remember that giving birth wasn't free either. Not only did I have a miserable nine months, but the costs of the hospital and doctor add up quickly too!!

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