1/19/10

Why Does It Cost So Much!?

Lately, a lot of traffic has been coming through my email inbox about the high costs of adoption.  The specific situation being complained about was a sibling group and the fees were approximately $55,000.
Many people in the email forum were very upset about this number.  I have to say, I am not surprised nor particularly offended by it.  Here's why...

I can only speak for the agency from which we adopted our children.  I have no other experience with any other agency and/or facility.  That being said, the agency we used is a not for profit adoption agency.  I have personally visited their offices in Tulsa, San Antonio and El Paso.  The three office locations which I visited are older buildings, with out dated furnishings and aged office equipment.  I can state from my personal observations that any money collected from adoption fees is not spent on buying the latest in technology to keep the offices on the cutting edge.

Let's do some math, it might help explain it a little more.  Our agency has four office locations, again three of which we have been too, I am going to guesstimate each location employs a minimum of four employees.  The agency does an average of twenty adoptions a year.  Our adoptions cost on average $26,000.  $26,000 x 20 = $520,000.  The total amount $520,000 a year maintains four offices, pays the salaries of approximately 16 people (if they made $20,000 a year that would be $320,000), covers the travel expenses of those employees (I should mention when our sons were born in Dallas and El Paso, our social worker from the San Antonio agency was present until we were able to take the babies home), I would also assume any additional costs for the birth of the children that is incurred also comes from these funds.

I have to say looking at that simple equation above, it does not make us question where the money went.  It is obvious that the agency cannot survive on adoption fees alone it relies on private donations as well.

So when someone is appalled by the amount we paid in adoption fees or someone makes an ignorant statement like we bought our children they in my opinion have not examined it very closely.  All of that being said, I like everyone else wish it could be more affordable, but as I explained the costs are necessary.  I would like to see more funding available for adoptive families to make it easier for them to pay the fees.

That's my soapbox for today.

9 comments:

Mandy @ The Party of 3 said...

I love this post. Thanks so much for posting about this subject. Our adoption fees for Mist was super high and not anywhere near what our lawyer first stated it would but hey I would do it again in a heartbeat!!!

Margaret said...

Thanks for explaining:) Did you do private adoptions?

Anna said...

We worked with a private agency.

Elizabeth said...

our agency is non-profit & small as well. They do not waste funds on non-essentials as well. I wish there were more ways to help with the costs as well. Would do it again as well - so worth it! A wise friend once told me my adoption costs were the equivalent of hospital costs (if she didn't have insurance) for a child's birth, actually a little less. Makes a different way of looking at things.

Margaret said...

Do you know much about adopting through foster care or the state? And isn't the cost a bit different?

Anna said...

I know nothing about foster care, we looked into it briefly and the social worker actually suggested we not pursue foster care as a means to adopt. I have heard it is much cheaper.

Anonymous said...

We're going to go private adoption route. In fostering the goal generally is not adoption, but rather to get the children back to the parents/bio-family.

The costs are for sure intimidating, but I do know where the funds are going. Still...

Anonymous said...

Per this agency's IRS 990 form for 2009 their total income is $705K. (http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/742/466/2009-742466525-05671748-Z.pdf)

So according to your equation for 20 placements/adoptions the average cost would be $35,520. That a hugely expensive for potential adoptive families.

You fail to address how failed adoptions are figured into this amount. Potential adoptive families NEVER receive any of these monies back and this further increases the cost of adoption to potential adoptive families.

This is especially painful for my family as we had three failed adoption without any refunds from agencies/birth-mothers/attorneys. Even with the IRS failed adoption credit, my family can no longer afford adoption.

My family wishes you nothing but happiness since you were successful with adoption. I just want to say/vent that not everyone is successful with adoption and the cost of these adoptions is a major part of failed adoptions!

Criticizing folks for questioning these high fees just pours salt into already painful wounds.

Adoptive Momma said...

Of course your comment was left anonymously so I am unable to respond to you directly. Perhaps you missed my statement above where I said, "I can only speak for the agency from which we adopted our children. I have no other experience with any other agency and/or facility. That being said, the agency we used is a not for profit adoption agency."

Our agency does NOT charge for failed placements.

I am so sorry and sympathetic for your failed placements and the costs you have incurred. Perhaps you could qualify for a grant or adoption loan. I've provided the links for those opportunities in several posts as well.