Chapter 6 of our Adoption Story

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“We’re rich with love, right mom?” 

     erin f photography

       When we set out to learn more about adoption, we had no idea the cost associated with it. Although the initial estimate stung a bit, it did not deter us. We know that we are more fortunate than most people in the world. According to the World Wealth Calculator, if you make $33,500 a year, you are among the richest 5% in the world. Seriously? We qualify to be placed in the richest 5% of the entire world?  Although we don’t measure our overall wealth in dollars, (James often says, “We’re rich with love, right mom?”), with statistics like the one above, we can’t help but know that sharing our “fortune” with someone who needs a family is the right thing to do.

       Jim and I are just average working class people. We live off two teacher salaries (one public and one private). We have a mortgage, car payments, and school loans.  Nevertheless, we find ourselves rich in faith, love and happiness, and although those don’t pay the bills, we’re grateful and content.

       A typical adoption (domestic or international) can range from $20,000- $40,000. Stings, doesn’t it? People often ask us, “Why does adoption cost so much? With so many orphaned children waiting for their forever family, are only the rich able to help them?”   Well, believe me, we’re not rich, but we’re willing to find a way to help at least one child find home.

      So, why does adoption cost so much, and is it possible to adopt without taking out a second mortgage?  Here’s what we’ve learned so far about the cost:

There is an enormous amount of paperwork that goes into an adoption. All documents need to be notarized, county certified, state certified and authenticated by the consulate of the child’s birth country. There are fees for that process. Some of the documents needed are new birth, marriage, & divorce certificates and requesting new copies of those documents (required) costs money.  A home study needs to be completed by a certified social worker. You must pay for his/her expertise to write up a 15-page document detailing your life story.  Fingerprinting by the state and FBI Immigration is necessary to ensure the child will be placed in a safe home. This process is not free.  There is an expense for Customs and Immigration to process the adoption file & give approval. It costs money to have the dossier (paperwork) translated if  adopting internationally. There are legal fees that must be paid. There are fees for the child’s medical exams, immunizations, visa, and passport so that she can be brought home.  Once the child is home, it costs for the post placement reports to be done. Bringing her home will be the exciting part, but that costs money too, in airfare, lodging, food, etc. Every person who is involved professionally in the adoption has a salary, and every one of them deserves to get paid. Although all of this seems exhausting (it is) and costly (absolutely), it’s important to note that it’s necessary for our little girl’s safe arrival. It also prevents people from adopting who may not be good citizens.  Besides, we believe that you can’t put a price on a child’s life.

       So how do we afford it?  Well, it didn’t take a whole lot of Internet research to discover there’s a ton of ways to tackle the costs. Some people take out interest free adoption loans. (An adoption costs as much as a new vehicle, and people don’t seem to have any trouble taking a loan for that. So, why not for a human?) Other people will fundraise through events like garage sales, spaghetti dinners, and golf outings. Many people apply for adoption grants, and some will use their personal savings. There are also a whole host of ideas in a great book called, Adopt without Debt by Julie Gumm. It’s where we found a lot of creative ideas for “finding money”. (See all our fundraising efforts at this link: https://littleredthread.wordpress.com/fundraising/ )

       Using savings and a few other tactics, Jim and I managed to pay the first few bills ourselves.  Since we are both 6th grade teachers, taking on a few tutoring jobs and coaching soccer are ways we could use our talents to bring in some extra money. We also received a $500 grant towards our $1,200 home study fee. Now that our dossier is just about finished, we are faced with much larger bills. We’ll be applying for more adoption grants (like it’s our job!) as well as fundraising to cover the remaining bills. We have also set up a place where friends and family can donate to our mission while receiving a tax deduction for their donation.  It’s very humbling when people offer to help our cause. We’ve come to find out, that many people want to help orphans, they just don’t know how, short of adopting one themselves!

       To kick-start our fundraising, we are running a raffle during the month of March for a week stay in a 4-bedroom vacation villa in Kissimmee, Florida. Donate $25, and we’ll enter your name. Donate $100, and we’ll enter your name four times. Donate $150, and we’ll enter your name six times. Get the idea!? All the details for this raffle are online at our Adopt Together link: https://www.adopttogether.org/hanlonfamilyadoption.  You don’t have to participate in the raffle in order to donate. If you’re not tech-savy, you can also donate with a check made out to Adopt Together and send it to us. We’ll enter your name into the raffle and then send your check to Adopt Together for you. If you’re donating by check, you can print out the raffle tickets here. (For Paper Tickets Click Here) Instructions are printed on the top portion of the ticket.

Whether you are able to financially contribute or not, we would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Please share our story with your own family and friends who might be interested in adoption.  We hope to inspire others to care for orphans in any way they can.  We know our one adoption doesn’t make a huge difference to the crisis of 14+ million orphans worldwide, but to one little girl….

……..it will mean everything. Thank you for your support and love. God bless.

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