You may notice we have changed up our right sidebar a little bit. We have added a fundraising "thermometer" that shows how far we have gotten in these last few months, and also how much more we have to raise yet. I am so encouraged every time I look at it and see that we are almost halfway there! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: God is so good to us!
As you can see, we set our fundraising goal at $28,990. I often get asked questions about this, such as "Why does it cost SO much to adopt internationally?" "What does all that money go for?" Etc., etc. These are valid questions, and since so many people have generously donated to us, we feel it's wise to be transparent about our costs. So I thought I'd write up a brief breakdown of where all the money goes. It is definitely not as simple as paying for airfare to go pick up your child! (If only it could be that simple!)
Agency fees: We have an agency here in the U.S. that does the work of making all the adoption arrangements. They work with attorneys, agencies, and the government of Mikah's country to ensure the adoption is approved, and also that we get to the right places at the right times, with the right documentation. They also "hold our hand" as we fill out all the adoption paperwork and provide us with our required educational hours.
Our agency costs are:
- $4000 paid at our commitment to adopt Mikah
- $5700 at submission of our completed paperwork to Mikah's country (our dossier)
- $5700 between our first and second trips
Homestudy fees: Normally, the adoption agency also handles the homestudy, but our agency is based in Iowa, so we had to find a Michigan agency to do our homestudy. Our homestudy agency will also be responsible for our postplacement reports (after the adoption is complete, Mikah's country requires four bi-yearly reports on how Mikah is doing in our home). We had to pay for these reports at the same time as the homestudy, since apparently otherwise people tend to not get around to completing them. :)
- Homestudy cost: $1700
- Postplacement reports cost: $1000
The U.S. government requires an application in order to give parents approval to adopt.
Our application cost: $890
Misc. "Administrative" fees:
This includes fees for things like passports, background checks, fingerprints, apostilles, postage, etc. It all adds up!
Estimated fees: $1000
First Trip travel costs: This includes airfare for Jordan and me, lodging and meals for 7 days, and Mikah's visa fee.
Estimated costs: $4000 (airfare costs vary depending on what time of year you travel, so it's hard to give an accurate number until the time gets closer!)
Second (Pickup) Trip travel costs: This includes airfare for me, and a one-way fare home for Mikah, lodging and meals for 14 days, and Mikah's medical clearance fees.
Estimated costs: $5000 (again, depends on the cost of airfare, and also if we determine I can go alone on this trip, or if we need a second person to help. We plan to decide that after we meet Mikah on trip 1.)
So there you have it! The costs add up quickly and sometimes it seems ridiculous that the fees are so high. However, now that I understand where the money was going to, it makes a lot more sense. The adoptive process involves a lot of steps that are there for the protection of the child, and also the parents. All of these hoops we are jumping through (while costly), help Mikah's country know that we are capable parents for him and have the right motives in adopting him. In turn, our agency does a lot of work ensuring that our rights are protected as well, especially when it comes to our time spent in Mikah's country.
So yes, we are starting to get a handle on the financial side of adoption, for the most part! We're still working on the "waiting with patience" part. You probably don't want me to get started on that, so we'll save that for another day.... :)