Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why So Much?

It's the inevitable question. That $35,000 total is SO much. What could it all possibly go for? Now over a year and a half into an international adoption, we have a good idea...and it's all pretty understandable. 

Before we started our adoption Jason and I often talked about the amount of money it would require. It was money we didn't have and being a couple committed to stay away from debt if at all possible, we had a lot to consider. I always loved Jason's responses. Do you know how much people pay for cars and boats and vacations and ... ? And then he'd remind me of the dented, hand-me-down minivan we've chosen to drive. If there might ever be a reason for debt, the welfare of a child, I'd say, would be one of them. And so we were prepared, if it came to it, that we would borrow a small amount of money from family to bring our daughter of promise home. We were asked how we planned to make it happen. Our plan began and ended with God providing. Sounds like a crazy plan, huh?! That in no way means our knees didn't knock or that our sleep wasn't broken up with the struggles to trust and not worry and with the constant calculating wondering how we could help it all happen.

At the beginning of the year we found out we'd been awarded a matching grant from Family Christian Bookstore's The James Fund. (Thank you James Fund and Cousin Bekah for recommending us!) Every dollar up to $3000 would be matched. We were amazed when a family showed up a day or so after we found out (we hadn't even told them) and brought us a check for $1,000. The other two families had already shared that they wanted to each give us $1000 so just as the grant was given so were the matching funds! Between extra work for both of us, generous donations and larger-than-we-have-ever-received tax returns, we arrived at May 2013 with a miracle. In one year and one month, small provisions totaled to a big one when we realized we were totally funded with not one penny borrowed. Still, we are in awe. 

But, what do all of those funds go for, exactly? Could it really cost $35,000 to bring one child into a family? Good questions! One of the top reasons we chose our agency, America World, was because of their clear, calculated spreadsheet of financial expectations. And really, the money goes for exactly what you might think it would. A lot of hands touching a LOT of papers and getting paid a lot, in some cases, to do so. Here's the breakdown:

Application Fee
1st Installment of Program Fee
Home Study (varies by state)
$1,200 - $2,500
Home Study Visit Travel Fees (these fees, if any, are assesed by home study agency)
$0 - $150
Adoptive Parent Hague Training (2 adults)
$140 - $200
Documents/Background Checks/Misc (Varies by state and number of states previously lived in.)
$100 - $1,000
USCIS Application + Fingerprinting Fees (2 adults)
Notarization & Apostille (varies by state)
$150 - $250
2nd Installment of Program Fee
Post Adoption Report Deposit (Fully refundable if all post adoption reports are submitted on time.)
Adopting An Older Child - Online Training (2 adults; required for families adopting children age four and older)
Dossier Service Fee
1st Installment of International Program Fee
3rd Installment of Program Fee
Airfare (2 adults; prices vary by season of travel and departure location.)
$2,400 - $4,000
Airfare (1 child; prices will vary by season, location, and ticket type [lap pass or child seat])
$250 - $1,000
Visa (2 adults)
2nd Installment of International Program Fee (1 child)
Visa/Embassy Fee
In-Country Travel (2 adults; varies by season of travel) ••
$3,800 - $5,100
International Specialist Consultation
$100 - $400
Post Adoption Administration Fee
Post Adoption Visits (Varies by state; cost determined by home study agency.)
$800 - $1,600
Post Adoption Visit Travel Fees (These fees, if any, are determined by home study agency.)
$0 - $400
Post Adoption Report Refund
(Refunded in installments if, and only if, each report is submitted on time.)
In-State Adoption (Process and cost varies by state.)
$300 - $1,200
$27,807 - $36,367


                         {source }

The beauty of these numbers is that expenses are broken up over the course of a family's one to two, and sometimes three, year adoption process. The only large sum we encountered was at the time of referral acceptance. And...we didn't have it. Then, our daughter's official papers were delayed a whole month before arriving stateside allowing us an additional month to pray in the funding. And, just as the papers came, so had the funding! In November 2012 through God's provision we wrote the largest check to date. 

I recently wrote in my journal that coincidence is a great thief of God's glory in believers' lives. So often we pray for things and the answers come so ordinarily that we dismiss them instead of calling them for what they are. Haven't we learned from history that God's greatest works often come without much fanfare? In a year and a half Jason and I watched the $15,000+ we had to put on the table grow by $20,000. I'm still flabbergasted by that number and can't put my finger on how everything came in just when we needed it, where we needed it. So I'm calling it for what I know it is-- a total miracle. What we lacked and couldn't produce on our own, He provided. 

Perhaps it seems like too much for one child? We come back often to where we started. Of all the things we spend money on - the gadgets, entertainment, and conveniences - some are large purchases, many are smaller...but few are even close to being as significant and purposeful as investing in a child's life and future. We're honored actually to let God's money flow through our hands in this great calling.

1 comment:

Peter and Nancy said...

So true -- it is a big total, but it's amazing how God shows up at just the right time through grants, generous people, tax refunds, and more! And our children are totally worth it!