Monday, July 23, 2012

Buying a Baby

I had an incredibly awkward conversation with someone at the pool today. Someone was talking to me about adoption and all of a sudden they are telling me that it really is just buying babies.

I wasn't even sure how to respond. And this was another adoptive parent, actually.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how domestic adoption works. I do know that birth mothers often have their prenatal care paid for, but I'm not really sure what else. I'm convinced, however, that it is not buying babies.

Adoption is quite expensive. It is expensive in some ways where it doesn't have to be (I still can't figure out why it costs $700 to ask the US government for permission to adopt internationally) but I also believe it is expensive in areas where it should be too.

My fear is that when we balk at the expense of adding children to our lives through adoption, we make a statement that orphaned children aren't worth the cost of the process. As far as I can tell, Jesus loves the orphaned children just as much as he loves children in families.

For my biological kiddos, we paid our OB and midwife, we paid our doulas, and we paid the hospital where they were born. We paid for a childbirth class and a hypnobabies class. We paid for access to a pediatrician. And a lot of those costs were deferred to insurance. Without insurance, I'm certain the cost of adding my biological children to my family is much higher than our adoption.

My children are valuable to me and I never considered not paying for the services they needed in order to safely join our family.

For my youngest, we paid an adoption agency to provide us with a caseworker and a paperwork assistant and wonderful training to guide us through the process and prepare us to parent an adopted child. Some of those fees also paid for the care my child was receiving in Ethiopia. We paid for him to have access to a pediatrician. Those fees kept him out of the government orphanage (if you aren't sure what a blessing that is, read about them here.) We paid for background checks, homestudies, and documentation so that we could prove to our son's birth country that we would be fit and loving parents for him. We paid for plane tickets so that we could meet him, attend court, and tell a judge how much we wanted to have him in our family. And we thank God every day for the people who partnered with us to help us pay those costs, because without them, we could never have been able to finalize our adoption.

My child is valuable to me and I never considered not paying for the services he needed in order to safely join our family.

Yes, it takes a bigger "team" to bring a child home through adoption. Instead of midwives, nurses, and pediatricians, you need social workers, judges, foster parents/nannies, government officials, birth parents, doctors, and sometimes airplane pilots. But children are worth it. Would you expect your OB-GYN or midwife to work for free to bring your child safely into your arms? Of course not. In the same way, I wouldn't expect my social worker, child care provider, or judge to work for free to bring my child safely into my arms either.

So in case you were wondering... I'm confident that I did not, in fact, purchase any of my children.
And now I will gracefully step down off my soapbox. :)


  1. Weird... What would make an adoptive parent believe they bought their kids?!

  2. My 4th kid was in the NICU. Had we not had insurance, we would have paid a LOT to buy him!

    I was adopted and I remember as a kid saying to my mom once, "It's like you bought me, isn't it?" I was just thinking out loud but she was very offended, just like you!

    I think the problem with the word 'buy' is that it implies that I OWN my kids. I don't own them. And, if we did have to actually 'buy' them, they would cost far, far more than we could pay.

    But on the whole, the term doesn't bother me only because I was 'bought with a price' by Christ. And that's all good.


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