Many people want orphans to find families. But, not everyone thinks families should ask others to help them out. After all, we don’t ask our friends and family to pay for our hospital bill when we have a baby. And that’s what adoption is all about, isn’t it? Bringing a new child into your home.
More succinctly, your family wants this; your family should pay for it.
So, let’s look at this assertion a little more closely. First off, we have to acknowledge that adoption, in some ways, is different from a birth. There is an associated cost to file paperwork to make the transfer of custody legal that is not covered by any insurance plan. This is NOT the same as “buying a child.” When we buy something, we are exchanging cash that is understood to be equal to the value of the item…even if it’s a great deal, ownership is transferred. In adoption, unlike buying, the child’s value is never being weighed against a cash system. The cash is to tackle the massive amounts of legal paperwork associated with transferring custody, and in some cases national citizenship, to the child’s adoptive family.
Secondly, unlike the birth of a biological child, the adoptive child has no claim on its biological or adoptive parents. That means that NO ONE, except a compassionate state, is required to care for a child given up for adoption. While the state generally meets all of the child’s physical needs, the state is incapable of creating a care system that mimics a parent-to-child bond, particularly in an orphanage setting. Thus, a child without parents, even domestically, even as a newborn, is at risk.
Think of one of your precious children, or even pets, being cared for by the postal service. Every town gets the mail delivered in a timely manner. But, some postal workers smile and talk to your kids. Some put your junk mail on the bottom of the good mail. Some put an extra $0.02 stamp on for no additional charge. And some are just plain mean. Like in the postal service, in an institution (or even foster care system), the quality of physical care is mandated and regulated, but the psychological care of the child is wholly dependent on the training and compassion of the caretaker. Many safeguards are in place, but a child who does not have invested, devoted caretakers is widely acknowledged to be a child at risk. Most people instinctively know that no child will reach his or her full potential outside of a loving family home.
Next, let’s consider parents who choose to adopt, either domestically or internationally. What is their motivation to adopt? Some would say if they are adopting to grow their own family, only they should cover all the costs. But, let me offer you this: any child who was not born into a family will in some way require more care. A child with special needs, or who has been institutionalized for any time will almost certainly require special care. Parents who adopt are fully informed and are still choosing to accept this child. That means that every person who is adopting a child is at least in some ways prepared that their child will have more special care needs than a biological child. This makes choosing adoption, at least in one way, more taxing on parents than birthing a biological child.
So now, there are levels of acceptance of asking others to contribute financially to bring a child home;
1) Absolutely no one should ask for anything to adopt a child ever. If you don’t have the money, you are not meant to adopt. You are enhancing your family.
2) Only special needs, international adoptions should receive any “charity” money because those kids will never be chosen first otherwise.
3) Only international adoptions should ask for money, because they are rescuing a child from life in an institution.
4) Only domestic and international special needs adoptions should be considered charitable causes, because the parents are getting less than they are giving by providing a home for this child.
5) Only older, foster adoptions should be considered for domestic fundraising (though this is rarely a concern, as most foster adoptions are subsidized by the state) because those kids need a lot of care to overcome previous abuse.
6) All adoptions should be considered for charitable donations, because all children need homes and this will make it more attainable for prospective parents.
All of these options are based on logical assessments of who is benefitting from the adoption more: the adoptive parents or the adopted child. Now, let me tell you what I think about all of this.
People are generally compassionate, but that inclination is easily overcome by worry that they are being snookered and some adoptive parents are just fundraising for the free ride.
And now, I need you to trust me.
Because I am going to ask you to press the “brain, don’t try to protect me from looking like a fool” button, and offer you this:
People believe orphans are better off outside of institutions. They grow stronger, learn more, and reach their full potential only when they have a loving caregiver who is fully responsible for them, who they can call their own.
Are you ready?
The path to reach all of these benefits, which we wish in our heart of hearts for every child on earth
…looks just the same as a couple who can’t have children, so they look to adopt.
…looks just the same as a missionary going overseas to build houses for grandmothers to become primary caretakers for AIDS orphans.
…looks just the same as a family of empty-nesters who can’t bear to think there is a child who they have the resources and skills to parent, apparently surrendering their retirement.
…looks just the same as a couple pursuing a cousin’s child who, unbeknownst to them, has been living in a group home on the other side of the country for three years.
…looks just the same as the couple who went this year to rescue a severely disabled 14 year-old who only weighs 14 lbs. from one of the worst human rights violating orphanages ever uncovered.
…looks just the same as a family who has four healthy kids and could easily have more but choose to adopt a baby from Eastern Europe with Down syndrome.
Who on this list is worthy? Who on this list could ask for financial support without you judging them? Who is doing it for themselves? Who can afford it? Why are they doing this? Who do they think they are?
But wait…didn’t we just say that we want these orphans to be rescued from being, well, orphans?
We did, and we do.
This part may be hard to accept, but it is the truth. The only way out of being an orphan is to make them part of a family. Families that already exist. Families who are already covering the bulk of the fees. Families who didn’t plan on this. Families who don’t have the excess money even if they had planned on it.
So, if you ask me if I think giving money to help orphans have a lifetime of access to clean water and food, loving parents who will embrace them fully as their own, access to world-class medical care, acceptance of syndromes that are shunned and unacceptable in their country, access to quality education, is acceptable…the answer is, internationally and domestically, YES! There is no CHEAPER way to do this than placing them into the arms of parents who will do all of these things for their adopted children.
Demanding that a family be financially prepared to pay cash to process the paperwork to transfer the orphaned child into this situation is condemning a whole generation of children to a lifetime of institutionalization or transient foster care.
If more people knew how much our world benefits from simply placing orphaned children into the homes of forever families, who from that moment on don’t ask for another penny, more people would be able to see themselves adopting.
I am not ashamed that my husband and I do not have access to $35,000 in cash.
Ask yourself if you are ashamed of needing to take out a mortgage to buy your home. Your family benefits, so your family pays.
Now ask yourself if you are ashamed for us that we are asking others to help fund the freedom of a little boy from life as an orphan. That is the only step we are asking for help with. The cost of adoption is not about the family who is adopting. It is entirely for the benefit of the child who will no longer be an orphan. He cannot pay. Cannot even take out a loan. But we can stand at his side, and pay on his behalf. We believe that there are people who want to be a part of that. We believe that our Thadius *needs* more than just his future parents to be a part of that.
Orphans are children who have been done a great harm, even if it was done out of necessity or love. They have been denied the un-earned love of parents that the majority of us have been given as a gift. When they are adopted they have a deficit to fill. Hearing a thousand little voices saying, “we prayed for you before we knew you, we gave for you because you had worth, we advocated for you because you are so valuable,” creates the loving cushion to help fill the void. We do all this in the hope that the sweetest words of a parent as she whispers “I love you. You are mine,” can land in fertile soil. Because adoptive parents become “real” parents awfully fast…and kids will need more one day. Proof that they aren’t flawed, and their adopted parents aren’t just kindhearted or worse, selfish. A thousand little voices will speak the truth these children need so desperately to hear from us all. We saw you, we gave for you, you are valuable.
When we stop freaking out about making the process of adoption all about who should pay for what, and instead about “child becomes orphan no more,” our hearts can see clearly what a noble cause we are pursuing. And what a worthy recipient of our prayers, tithes, and love.
If you are moved to action, please join our efforts to bring Thadius out of an orphanage. We are working with an incredible organization that allows us to receive Tax-deductible donations(proof that it ain’t for us!), Reece’s Rainbow. We are also accepting Chip-in donations for our immediate expenses, but please know that such donations are NOT tax deductible.
Click this picture to donate to our ChipIn
For those wondering, we are asking for tithes for our little boy with the goal amount of what we believe we will need for our first trip in the fall ($15,000). We have a solid financial roadmap to take care of the rest. We trust, like ourselves, that all prospective adoptive parents give sacrificially for their own child, and believe the majority already plan and expect to do so, as minimum income requirements, and homestudy evaluations of financial qualifications are required to be approved.
The reason we are doing incentive-based fundraising giveaways is to engage a larger population of people who might not be actively pursuing ways to help an orphaned child get adopted. In a perfect world, we would have the opportunity to present our child’s need to a wide audience without incentives, but that is just unrealistic, and time is of the essence. Giving our donors a fun giveaway allows for a “reason” to share our story with a wider audience than asking for donations alone would garner. We believe people who are inspired by our story may be moved to action by our incentives. That’s how we started, and now we give just for the joy of it!
Also, please understand that I know I am generalizing about “good” home situations. In the interest of brevity and clarity of this important point, I am speaking specifically to the kinds of homes that do nurture and protect children and give them appropriate care and support so that they can thrive. My heart is always with children who are victims of abuse, and these words are in no way intended to ignore the pain of those situations. This information is based on the low death rates of children adopted internationally compared to those adopted in their home country. Wider, easier access to funding of all adoptions could change those statistics, but that’s a risk I am willing to take.
I am in no way insinuating that this is a call for government action. This post is meant to ease the fears of individuals who are undecided about whether financially supporting an adoption is appropriate or not.