Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adoption Agencies

I am going to start off by saying, I am sure there is one or two agencies out there that do NOT fit this mold. Otherwise, I stand on my opinion that most domestic adoption agencies are nothing but legalized baby brokers. (After reading this if you know of an agency that doesn't charge huge fees, please let me know.)

Our adoption of little Troy cost us less than $8,000. That was with counseling for the birthmother, our homestudy, legal fees, everything. We have several friends who have adopted for less than $2,000. SEVERAL. So why is it that the cheapest I have found an agency adoption for was $10,000? Wait, I must digress. They were not up front about the $10,000. Let me tell you the story of our last failed adoption.

Chris & I had done training to be foster parents, in hopes of adopting Troy's little brother who was in the foster care system. We did not finish prior to him being placed, but decided we still wanted to be foster parents to help out and be a light in some little people's lives. So, when we moved here I called a local agency to ask them about signing up to foster through them. After talking, and them finding out about my medical training, they asked me to consider a little boy they had available for adoption who had spina bifida.  He was born to a teenage couple, and had been available but they had not found him a family yet. He was 5 months old. Chris and I talked about it, prayed about it, and decided we would love to take him. We were concerned with the money the agency charged, and were assured that if anything, we would only pay the legal fees. We agreed to a fully open adoption, just like with our Troy. We went through the steps to bring him home.  We were to get him on a Saturday 3 weeks after we learned of him. The Monday prior to bringing him home, after we had already gotten his room ready, I turned in the last of our financial paperwork, to prove to the judge that we could afford another child. The adoption facilitator forwarded the information to the powers that be within the agency.  That afternoon we were contacted stating that the adoption would cost us $25,000.  They let us know they needed $10,000 before he could be places with us and that the balance would have to be paid before we could finalize. After many tears and protests, they finally agreed to take "just the $10,000" for the adoption. They expected us to go into debt in order to add to our family. We said no. What was their answer? "Well, one day the 'right' family for this child will come along". The right family was not a family, but a sum. This child needed medical care his birth family was unable to provide. He had been waiting at that point 6 months for a family who welcomed him with open arms. We were that family. We did not ever see his face, but we loved him. To this day we still pray for him. I wonder what they told the birth-family of this baby who already knew they had a match that was happy to take on his medical needs and still involve them? Did they tell them "Sorry, they backed out" or were they honest and told them "sorry, once we saw their income we decided they needed to pay us for the baby".

I know how much adoption costs. I know we are an excellent adoptive family. We have kept our word about honoring an open adoption commitment, and we want to raise our children to honor the Lord. Yet, this Christian Agency, and many others, base everything on a bottom line that is all related to money. Yeah yeah yeah, some have a "sliding scale". Guess what? It is still a lot of money. Especially when that sliding scale does not take anything into consideration outside of your income and family size. I know we are not the only family that feels like this. It doesn't just upset me for us, it upsets me for all of those people out there with aching arms and unpadded bank accounts.

There needs to be a revamping of the way adoption works. Birth mothers need to be made aware that agencies are using them to profit. They are taking advantage of adoptive parents. Would a birthmother rather you spend $25,000 on her child, and the expenses of that child, or are they better served by you spending that money to an agency just to add the child to your home?

I am seriously considering getting another degree in social work so I can run an adoption ministry. I believe adoptive families need to be financially stable to adopt, but I do not believe they should have to go into debt or spend their savings. There is a better way to go about building amazing families without tons of money changing hands. There are very few expenses beyond legal fees. Our adoption of Troy would not have cost as much if we had shopped around for a lawyer. He was about 3x what a typical lawyer charges, but we were in a hurry and didn't interview others.



  1. I absolutely agree with you Heather. I would love to adopt,but we could not begin to afford the legal fees and agency fees involved. We could afford another child, no problem, but those high fees make it hard, especially on a one income family. What is so sad though is that there are so many kids that would love to have a home, but are never adopted because very few family's can afford the fees to adopt them. You would think that the most important thing would be that they found these children good, stable homes...not the agency fees. These agencies are more concerned with the bottom line than they are with finding children homes.

  2. the one agency we thought of using was PACT in ca, they were reasonable and seemed good. we got a call from the atty we used for Katrina's adoption about our son. PACT does only special needs or non caucasian adoptions last I knew. we did also volunteer for a group, and were a rescue family for them. they are in ca I can't think of their name right now. they help so babies arent abandoned.

  3. This is a sad commentary of our times. It's all about $$$ nowadays. A close friend just lost a foster child that she was hoping to adopt. I suspect money played a part in that situation as well.

    We cannot afford another international adoption, even if we wanted to. I wouldn't mind adding to our family - but the foster system in this nation is very messed up. I'd be afraid to get involved.

  4. I may be speaking out of turn, seeing as I know NOTHING about adoption, but that is INSANE! I know that our local news station does something once a week called *Finding a Family* (I think?) where they feature children in the foster system that need to be adopted - and they mention on there that there is NO charge for these adoptions... which makes me wonder, how can it sometime be no charge, yet others think it needs to cost thousands of dollars? Prayers to you, as I know that has to hurt your momma heart... and prayers for the little one who was taken from the chance with a family that would love him.

  5. I feel your pain, Heather. My husband and I were hoping to adopt a little boy two years ago, but the cost was much more than we could handle. You are absolutely correct in saying that “most adoption agencies are nothing but legalized baby brokers.” It’s sickening to know there are so many children that need homes, but those of us that want to open our homes up and adopt simply can’t afford it :(
    On a positive note, welcome to the crew!! I hope you have as much fun and are as blessed as I was last year! I’m looking forward to another amazing voyage.
    I’m now following you.
    ~ Nanette

  6. Hi-I'm from the crew. I'm so sorry you have had such a rough time. We were very fortunate to adopt our first foster child, and here in Utah you pay legal fees (total about $800), and they reimburse you immediately! Along with that, our child has free medical, dental, orthodontics, and extra money each year if he needs it for special things like tutoring, etc. We were blessed, and I think it would be great if you could start your own agency and make some changes in the private sector!

  7. I'm Nikki from the Crew and just stopping by to "meet" you. My husband and I would like to adopt domestically as well, but money is holding us back. Although what you shared is true, it is heartbreaking and discouraging to read and hear firsthand experience.

  8. I so agree with you about agencies being brokers! Wow you are a strong person! You have been through so much and even just now getting to know you, you are an inspiration to me. I am not sure if you have thought about foster to adopt through the state... And just a little bit of info, they didn't follow the rules, because if you adopted Troy and his little brother was in state custody, you are suppose to have the first option for placement. That is how we keep growing our family. The girls are biological half sisters. I think you would be a very positive change in the adoption world... And also it's true about the agencies making money. My niece was a social worker, and moved to the private section for a big adoption agency. But hated it, as money was the root of who got the baby. And babies adoption price scale was based on gender and race of the baby. It was horrible...... If you ever have questions or anything, hit me on facebook or something.
    Hugs and Blessings,


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