After the feel-good series It’s Not About You we turn to even more fun topics – money. December brings a lot of holidays which brings a lot of expensive presents. For some of you it will bring an awesome new present – a new family member. But that can be a huge budget buster this month particularly. Of course you know what I would say; kids are expensive so get used to it! Fortunately this Dec series features some help on the subject from adoption funding expert Cherri Walrod, founder of Resources 4 Adoption. Cherri started her site after diligent research on available aid to offset adoption expenses. She will be our guest expert this month and I encourage you to check out her site as it has a lot of good information
Want to know a dirty secret? We know adoption is expensive. That’s right, agencies know they are charging average people a lot of money. We also know that some may not be able to afford us even though they would make excellent parents. We don’t like it any more than you do, actually. We want the best parents for the child, but the reality is (can you tell I like reality checks?) this is our job. We have to get paid to make a living. If we don’t make a living at this then we can’t continue to provide a service that we feel called to provide. Does this mean that all agencies are being ethical in their fees? No of course not, there are bad apples in every group – agencies, attorneys, facilitators, birth moms and even adoptive parents. But it does mean that particularly for agencies who do primarily infant adoption, which features high demand and ever decreasing supply, fees are only going to go up. This does NOT mean you should blindly accept fees and not know what they are going towards – by all means
- ask questions!
- read the contract!
- discuss what you can handle as a family!
However, just because you disagree with an agency fee or how they charge them (for example all up front, sliding scale, everything is due at placement, etc) does not mean they will change them, and sometimes you will have to choose between accepting and declining a particular situation because of what or how the agency charges. It also means that if you take a situation from a particular agency you are then bound by their rules, fees and scale, whether the placement works or not. You don't get to conveniently change your mind about the fees just because birth mom changed her mind or you the situation did not go as you assumed it would. Your best bet is to find an agency you trust and take their advice on situations outside the agency. Hopefully they will be honest with you; as you can tell we at AGOHA are brutally honest about what we think is ethical, appropriate and worth the risk, and this extends to our own situations as well.
There is some help available in the form of grants and loans, and fundraisers for adoption are becoming more popular as well. Next week Cherri will give you some advice about how to start the process and what types of adoptions and families are most likely to get help.