We Are the Perfect Example of People Who "Couldn't" Adopt
It is true. We could have said very honestly, “We would love to adopt, but we just can’t afford it.”
We felt that way, for sure, the whole way through, but also knew that we are children of a God who has said He owns, “the cattle on a thousand hills.” We thought if we truly believed that, we’d not be doubtful one moment that He would be faithful to sell a few of those cows for us to bring our kids home! He also says He is the God who "sets the lonely in families." We believed Him on these two matters and asked Him humbly to prove it to us. It was still very hard.
Here is the deal with us. We are your standard domestic missionaries, we work, live and serve at a camp for low income and underprivileged youth at a seasonal camp that only charges $40 per camper, per session of camp. We teach the Gospel and share Christ’s love with kids who come from hard places, many of whom are foster kids (but any child may attend our camp, we just reserve first for those with the most need). Our camp provides us a very nice house to live in, benefits and retirement. We raise our salary through support raising. We just entered our 10th year of raising support. We have had ups and we have had downs.
We make plenty of money to live in a relatively comfortable way, and with an ability to provide for more children, but also we make so little on paper that we could theoretically apply for public assistance… not joking!
We LOVE our life and would never want to do anything else... even for more money!
But, when we decided that adoption was a way we wanted and felt God asking us to grow our family, our first thought was, “How? This looks impossible, God. We ALREADY raise support just to put food on our table... How God?"
The Varying Ways or Avenues of Adoption
We knew that it was important to go where we felt God leading us, but also make good choices based on what we could financial "hack". The process of figuring out the method and avenue through which we'd adopt took a long time for us (we are talking nearly years).
Not all forms of adoption are equally costly… but they are ALL costly.
What I mean is that adoption (or each form of it) can be costly in one, several or all of these ways:
Time and Requirements
But, since we are just talking money we’ll stick with that (cause describing the others could make this really long.)
The seemingly least expensive (financially costly) would be through your State or County Foster Program, or via Waiting Child lists in the US. This is low-cost, high need and at times emotionally costly form of adoption it is one of the best options out there, for those who truly feel "we would love to adopt, but can't afford it."
International adoption ranges widely in cost and requirements, as does domestic infant adoption (via birth mothers) … but both are sort of equivalent in this range of cost and requirement (most ranging from $16-40k).
We made our decision based on several factors, primarily we felt like we wanted to adopt a child that would normally have NO chance at having a family and in a forum that kids were waiting for families and not the reverse. That led us to international adoption. Which I will admit was costly for us in all three areas, and had the added burden (and eye opening blessing) of the struggle of ethics... though I think when you get down to it, all three forms of adoption should always be very carefully evaluated ethically, given a child's particular case.
We were able to be approved on our financial situation by the Federal Gov, because they looked at our TOTAL financial situation… our salary, savings, investments, credit, and our ability to live on what we make in relationship to what we have provided for us. We were approved!!! That in itself was a huge provision from God!
So when people say, “I would love to adopt, but there is just NO way we could afford it…” I internally laugh.
Not because I doubt them, quite the contrary, but because I know that if ANYONE could say that; it was us!