re-framing how we see the expense of adoption

Consider this: Adopting a child internationally costs about the same as BIRTHING a child locally, if you don't have medical coverage. Kristen @ Rage Against the Minivan blogs about adoption and parenting and she has a couple kids from her and her hubby and through adoption. She recently broke down the costs of one of her adoptions (they adopted two boys, both from Haiti, at different times) in answering the common question "why does adoption cost SO much?" You can read it here. What I found fascinating is that her adoption of Kembe from Haiti cost slightly more than her c-section birth of Karis. Both were "out-of-pocket expenses", which I interpret to mean they had to pay for it themselves (though I could be wrong).

Now, I'm Canadian and have free health care as a Canadian citizen. I thank God for this regularly, and though I pay a lot of it out in taxes, I'm thankful that my government values making this free. To birth Lily and stay in the hospital 2 nights after the birth, it cost $354. That fee would have been free, but Brad and I opted (and were so glad we did) for a private room, which was $177/night. I don't take this lightly, especially after reading of an average American woman paying $26,000 "out-of-pocket" to birth her child. But it does get me thinking. Why are we so hung up on how expensive adoption costs? In most countries, there are high fees to stay in a hospital and see as many nurses and doctors and specialists as one does when they have a baby and we never say "how do you justify having a BABY?" though people are asked every day how they financially justify adoption or even considering adoption. As Canadians, it's easy to be put off by $26k for a baby, because for us it's free to birth a child, but the concern and general distaste for the fees of adoption are worldwide, not just in Canada. I'm sure in the USA, people grumble just as much about how expensive adoption is, and they pay the same amount to have their children (if they aren't covered 100% by a health insurance company).

In my heart of hearts, I believe adoption is for more people than we think. It's easy to say "adoption is too expensive" and shrug it off because it's a great excuse. $26k IS A LOT OF MONEY. Don't get me wrong. I don't have that sitting in the bank and I don't think everyone should spend that amount today on adoption. But I do think more people would consider adoption if they could get past the cost. While the cost is not likely to drop any time soon, maybe re-framing our thoughts around the issue are more urgent. 

Considering that birthing a child costs the same amount, that adoption fees add up over time (it's not a wam-bam-thank-you-ma'am payment all at once), and that ultimately a human being is worth far more than $26k is a good place to start.


  1. Sarah Bokhout5.5.11

    Hey Emily - interesting post, especially from a U.S. point of view. I think though, when people say that adoption is so expensive, they are referring to international adoption. Local adoption is, as far as I know, much less costly, especially if done through the public sector (ie. Department of Youth Protection). AND there are tons of kids in Canada, heck, even in Montreal that need to be adopted. I also have a heart for adoption, and am excited about exploring this option over the next few years (I just need to discuss this matter further with my hubby!)

  2. Sarah, not sure about the States, but local adoption in Canada is literally FREE, not just "cheaper", so it's absolutely an
    Interesting and valid option aswell for those who say it's too expensive to adopt overseas. In my experience, though, ppl who say international adoption is too expensive don't go on to adopt locally either, so really it's an all-too-common excuse :(
    Something I'm working on my hubby for too :D

  3. Sarah Bokhout5.5.11

    Ok, good to know! Really, I should know these things cause I have a couple adopted siblings, but I never asked the $$ questions.

  4. funny!! times may have changes too, I just now that now it's cost-less if you go the public route (which takes longer, but hey!)