Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adoption Costs

This is Drew again. As many of you know, one thing we wanted to do as we go through our adoption is to provide as much information and encouragement to others that may be considering adoption. We decided we'd have an open book, and share all that we could share, because if we could help even 1 more person decide to provide a family for an orphan in need, it would be well worth our effort.

So we wanted to talk about the costs of our adoption from Ethiopia, as that is one of the most often asked questions.

There was a funny story on Jon & Amy's blog that sums up the misunderstandings and interest the people have in the financial part of adoption:

Amy was asked, by a young neighbor girl, in front of other adult neighbors,

Girl: How much did you pay for your babies?

Amy: You know sweetie, people don’t pay for babies. You can’t put a price on kids.

Girl: I heard it’s lots of money.

Amy: We paid money for a service, for people to help us find Jada and Adia. Just like your Mommy paid a doctor so he would help her have you. Does that make sense?

Girl: Yeah…So, how much was it?

I thought this interaction was so cute - and so telling of the misconception out there with international adoption. Yes, it is expensive, but it's not in any way because you are "buying" a baby.

Of our expenses with our agency, Holt, the largest portion goes to the
Ethiopian Program Fee which is basically paid to the orphanage in Ethiopia. They have staff to pay for, kids to feed, agency workers to complete paperwork and assist you while you're in country, etc. If these fees weren't being paid to the orphanages, they wouldn't be able to stay open, and thousands more kids worldwide would be living on the streets, or worse yet, wouldn't survive without proper care.

Here's a breakdown of how the fees work out for our adoption:
Paperwork Fees (homestudy, agency work, post-placement, etc.): approximately $5,000
Ethiopia In-Country Fee (Orphanage, in-country case workers, child care, etc.): appr. $10,000
Travel (Ethiopia requires TWO trips: airfare, hotels, food): appr. $10,000
Various Gov't Paperwork (i-600A immigration form, Visas, etc.): appr. $1,000

You can do it (and so can we)!
For those considering adoption - I will just say this: The Lord will provide for His causes. Don't let the finances discourage you from something so amazing as helping there be one less orphan in this world. We've talked to many people who have said that they would like to adopt, but the financial burden seems to big to handle - don't let money hold you back!

There are many things that you can do:
  • There is an adoption tax credit from the government
  • There are many organizations that do adoption grants
  • Many people send out fund-raising letters (which we have chosen not to)
  • Many people do fund raisers, bake sales, sell t-shirts, garage sales, etc. (we may do some of these)
  • There are interest free loans available (typically used as a "hold over" until you receive the tax credit the next year)
What are we doing - and what would I recommend?
Clearly, the adoption expenses are more than we can handle on our own. We decided early on that we didn't want to do fund-raising letters, even though we don't think there's anything wrong with taking that path.

But, we've had many people come up to us, completely unexpected, letting us know that they wanted to partner with us, and for that we are truly grateful and blessed. The generosity of our family, friends, and church family has been amazing! Thank you so much for your support!

Today, I'm mailing some paperwork to Lifesong for Orphans, a non-profit organization that awards matching grants to families in the adoption process (and has a special arrangement to do so with our church). A matching grant would mean that every dollar donated would be doubled (up to a certain amount) - which would be amazing. The other benefit of having a lifesong account is that any money that people donate now or in the future, will be made out to Lifesong (a 501c3 non-profit), therefore will be tax-deductible, but will 100% go to us for our adoption expenses.
Anyone can set up an account like this at Lifesong and I think it's a great option for most people.

If you're considering adoption, just like we have been blessed by the support of friends and family, we know God will provide for you too. As always, feel free to contact Ashley or I if you would like more information!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Home Study is Complete!!!

Evan holding our Homestudy!!!

Hip Hip Hooray!  We received our original, signed and notarized copies of our homestudy in the mail yesterday.  Today we are mailing out our I-600A application to the US Dept of Homeland Security and should receive the approval of that within 30-60 days.  At that point, we will be able to submit our dossier paperwork to Holt (our adoption agency) which means we will officially be on the waiting list.  I got a little emotional today when I held the homestudy in my hands.  This really is REAL!  We are so excited to have our little girl home!  Thanks to everyone for all the prayers and encouragement. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Go Irish!!

Nothing much new here....  We've been enjoying this beautiful weather and are spending lots of time outside.  Drew is excited about football season and hopeful for Notre Dame's season.  I am excited about bonfires, sweatshirts, pumpkin flavored foods, and all the other fun things of fall.  And Evan is just loving life and soaking up every bit of the outside before the weather turns cold.  He  is also really into riding his bike right now and we have been amazed at how well he's doing with pedaling and steering all by himself.  As far as adoption updates- We are still waiting for our homestudy to be completed.  We received our first draft today and hopefully will have it completed very quickly.  Then we have a couple more papers to gather to complete our dossier paperwork and one important paper to  file with the US gov't (that could take 1-2 months to get back) and then we can submit our completed dossier  to HOLT (our adoption agency).  Once that is approved, we will be officially waiting!  Thanks for all the prayers and support- it means more than you know!
He loves his momma!!
Kisses from the little man- nothing better than that!!
Watching the ACD parade in Auburn this past weekend.  All dressed up in our ND gear for the big game!!

Matthew West - My Own Little World (Slideshow With Lyrics)

Evan and I listen to a local Christian radio station pretty much all day long- whether we are at home or in the car.  This song has been really speaking to me lately.  Drew and I have been praying over the last few months specifically for God to break our hearts for what breaks His.  I have been amazed at how much my perspectives have shifted as I learn more and more about the poverty and living conditions around the world- and specifically in Ethiopia.   It's soo easy to get caught up in the little things of this world and the things we call "problems".  But there IS a bigger picture and a greater purpose and God longs for us to open our eyes and hearts to the things that have ETERNAL value.  I know I don't want to miss what matters....  Do you??

I had a few technical difficulties with embedding this video... I think if you click on "Watch it in YouTube" you will be able to view it!