Why are you adopting through foster care? That seems so…hard.
I know what you’re thinking- wow, adopting through the foster care system sounds meaningful and like a worthy calling, but I just don’t think that I could do it.
I totally get it- my husband and I were there a year ago. We wondered if the universe was simply telling us that parenthood wasn’t for us. We started investigating different paths to parenthood. There was NO SHORTAGE of (not so helpful) people asking (super not helpful) questions like…
“Have you thought about in-vitro fertilization?”
Yes, only about a million times. I know many women who have gone through in vitro successfully and I celebrate them! Unfortunately, given my health circumstances and the number of unsuccessful pregnancies I’ve had, I’m not a good candidate for in-vitro. Part of living with infertility means constantly making choices about what you’re going to do and not do- and how much you’re willing to pay or go through to have children biologically. We got pretty bleak odds from the doctor if we went through in-vitro, so we put that to rest. In vitro is a wonderful option for so many couples- but unfortunately, it wasn’t for us.
Health issues aside- many people have no clue that in-vitro fertilization is NOT COVERED by insurance. In fact- something we’ve learned throughout this journey is most infertility treatments are not covered by insurance at all. I could write a whole other blog entry on that….
On average, IVF cost of a basic IVF cycle in the U.S ranges from about $12,000 – $15,000. Often it takes couples multiple cycles of IVF to get pregnant. And even then…you can pay all of that and not end up with a child.
We closed that door pretty quickly.
“Have you thought about using a surrogate?”
Kim Kardashian West brought this to the forefront when she publicly talked about the fact that she hired a surrogate to carry her and Kanye’s third child together. Lots of people have asked me why I am not doing this.
Let’s follow the money, shall we?
Surrogates don’t do this important work for free!
The average cost of surrogacy can range from $90,000 to $130,000.
On top of this, there are a host of other considerations, including legal ones. Again — when thinking through the financials and all of the other risks- this didn’t seem like a good option for us.
“Why not adopt privately – domestic or internationally?”
International adoption and private adoption are totally valid options. There is an international orphan crisis, and millions of families are built meaningfully through private and international adoptions. All adoptions — no matter what kind they are — require lots of:
There’s a key addition though when you go the private route — domestic or international — and that is money.
Many not so helpful people will talk about the fact that private domestic and international adoption is the best because, well, then you can ensure that the child you get “isn’t as damaged” — and that the best way to ensure that you have an easier path in parenting is to get a baby.
I want to be respectful to those that feel this way but also educate everyone on the fact that all adoption is predicated on loss. Families are being built through another family being broken. This is never NOT the case in adoption.
Entering into any adoption with the impression that it will be “easier” seems folly. Doing a quick Google search will yield no shortage of families detailing the pain, grief, and challenge that accompanies ALL adoption.
This is true for any path to parenthood! When you are having biological children, you do not know what you’re going to get. This is part of the magic and mystery of life. The same is true for adoption.
The other very real fact about private adoption is that IT IS EXPENSIVE. The average domestic private adoption costs $40,000. And the process is gut-wrenching.
CJ and I started thinking about the process of waiting to be picked by a pregnant mom or a social worker and hoping and praying the adoption doesn’t fall through…..
And we decided it was not for us.
Especially when we knew that there were THOUSANDS of children just waiting for great homes that are available free of charge to families like ours.
“So – why did you choose adoption through the state? And why through foster care?”
Quick note: We are looking to adopt children who are of legal risk.-We are getting certified as a foster family so we can foster children who are of legal risk- meaning that their biological parent(s) are highly likely to have their parental rights terminated. We are doing this because we believe we can provide a safe, loving home for kids who haven’t necessarily had one consistently and we believe this is what we are being called to do. When and if these children become legally free- we will adopt them. If they are to be reunited with their family- they will do so and we will be matched with other children.
So why are we doing it this way?
- Adopting children from the foster care system in Texas is 100% free– There are no charges or fees to do so. Instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars, we’d rather not pay and serve kids and families who need it most.
- We feel uniquely suited to provide a loving home- Foster care is a calling. We may receive kids who will be ours forever, or we may just be providing them a loving home for a finite amount of time. We know it will break our hearts, but we believe all children deserve a loving, stable home. As a community, we have to step up for kids whether it’s forever or for a moment. It’s not about us- it’s about the kids!
- There are too many children with nowhere to sleep tonight because there is a foster parent shortage in Texas — Because there aren’t enough people stepping up to provide this important service to our children, there are too many kids sleeping on floors offices. This is unacceptable. We have a 2700 square foot home and a lot of love and humor in our home- we can share what we have.
- The state of Texas provides financial assistance to families who adopt from the foster care system-In Texas, any family that adopts a child deemed “special needs” is available for adoption assistance. Included in this adoption assistance is a monthly financial subsidy until the child is 18 (typically $400 per child), free college tuition at any in-state public Texas university after the child graduates from high school, and free medical care (in the form of Medicaid) for the child until they are 18. Special needs don’t just mean severe medical need. In Texas, it means any kids that are harder to place or over-represented in the foster care system. Children meet this definition ALSO if they are:
- Six years old
- Two years old or older and a member of a racial/ethnic minority group (which is most kids in foster care in Texas)
- The child is being adopted with a sibling or joining a sibling.
- Children in the foster care system have experienced abuse and/or neglect – Unlike private adoption, there is not a long line of people waiting to adopt kids from foster care. Most are scared off because of the impression that the kids are “too damaged” and “too difficult”. While we aren’t kidding ourselves that this will be challenging beyond measure, we also refuse to accept that children are unworthy of being loved due to circumstances they had nothing to do with. We commit to doing the work with our children to help them heal and find love, safety, and comfort in their lives.
But what I DO KNOW is that there is beauty in the brokenness — and that in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances grows the most beautiful hope. And we have chosen to embrace it.
May is National Foster Care month – support a foster care family today!