Looking at the fees and expenses associated with adoption can be overwhelming. How can anyone afford to adopt? The dollar sign is big, but make no mistake, that is not what adoption costs.
Adoption costs more than what money can buy, because adoption is an all or nothing.
Adoption costs your time. From the moment you decide to adopt till the day you die. It’s not only the paperwork, and the waiting. Not even the traveling to a foreign country and being away from family and your support system. It is a lifetime commitment to another human being whom you chose to make your very own.
Adoption costs your tears. Lots of tears. You will cry during the adoption process, and that is only the beginning. You will cry because adjusting to a new child is difficult for everyone in your family, and you might see your biological kids struggle and you will question if you did the right thing bringing another child home. You will cry because you might feel like you are not getting anywhere, and adoption is hard! And when you begin to communicate with your child and language is less of a barrier, you will cry at the stories told of what your child had to go through, and the helplessness that you will feel. You will cry because of the injustice and the loss your child will carry in her heart for the rest of her life. Your heart will break for her.
Adoption costs rejection. We all like to imagine a fairytale, where God shines His light and love on your child and he loves you back. But his past has taught him that other people can hurt him. He knows what it is like to be abandoned, and it takes a long time to trust someone that you don’t know. So you might want to provide comfort, to hold him, to rock him, but he will reject you because he doesn’t know how to receive love. But keep loving, for as long as it takes. He will one day smile at you, throw his arms around you, and you will know you have broken through the hard shell. You’ll finally be allowed in.
Adoption costs you emotional distress. Adoption is a brutal emotional journey. It begins during the paperwork process, and by the time you travel to get your child, emotions are already running high. Coming home, many of us are already emotionally spent. During the adjustment time, when you first bring your child home, you might wonder where the love went, or why you feel anger, or resentment, or fear. Through the challenges of adoption you will come face to face with your own brokenness. Difficult situations have a way to bring out the worse in us. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your child needs healing, but perhaps so do you.
Adoption costs you the easy life. Bringing a hurting child into your home will change how you do life. There will be challenges, there is no way around it. But your child will open your eyes to so much more than just adoption. You will understand poverty, abuse, loss, abandonment, loneliness, fear, and the reality of our broken world in a more intimate way. Once you know, you can never look back. You will cover your child with as much love as you can, and you will try to do the best you can to heal his heart. You will put your foot down and say, “No more, today is the day his new life begins” and it will become your mission, a new purpose, and you will expand that passion beyond just your family, because you know that there is more than you can do.
Adoption costs who you are. You can never go back, adoption stretches you, it molds you, it pushes you to be someone different. Someone who learns the significance of choosing love every day, and in doing so learns to love deeply, fiercely. Someone who can no longer look away from social injustice. Someone who will go down fighting for a child that was denied so much for too long.
Adoption costs your heart to expand. You take a stranger and make that child your very own. You look at him in the eyes and say, “No matter what comes our way, we are doing this together, and I got your back.” And you take the good and you take the bad, you take it all in, all of it. You let it stretch you, and change you, and challenge you. And you know she was worth everything you had to go through to make it work, and you know that more challenges will come but you are going to tackle them head on. You are ready for forever. And you cannot believe how lucky you are to call this precious child your very own. She is a part of you, like the blood pumping through your veins. And she fills you with joy, and pride, and love, and you want to scream so loud to let the world know, “She is mine!”
I might not be an expert on adoption, but I do know what it is like to adopt a child who spent her first four years of life in a Ukrainian orphanage. Adoption is not about the money. There were expenses before we traveled, and arriving in the country we handed over the stack of crisp dollar bills to our facilitator. $15,000 gone in seconds.
The money will come, through fundraisers, through generous gifts, matching grants, scholarships, or a bank loan (after all, we take loans for new cars, surely a life is worth a monthly payment if it comes down to that). How much you pay, is only a fraction of the cost of adoption.
Adoption costs all of you, every single thread weaved in the pattern of your being.