The first has to do with cost. Lauren writes that the cost of adoption “is incredibly prohibitive.” Adoption.com states, “Adopting from the U.S. foster care system is generally the least expensive type of adoption, usually involving little or no cost, and states often provide subsidies to adoptive parents…Agency and private adoptions can range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more depending on a variety of factors including services provided, travel expenses, birthmother expenses, requirements in the state, and other factors. International adoptions can range from $7,000 to $30,000. This can be especially prohibitive considering many insurance carriers cover fertility treatments as well as doctors appointments leading up to and including the birth of the child.”
Hope for Orphans also has indicated that the cost can range “nothing upwards of $30,000.” Now, that is a lot of money. However, what many people don’t realize is how much assistance is available for parents who adopt. There are federal adoption tax credits and grants for sizeable amounts to assist families wanting to adopt. There are also fee reductions for special needs children, and financial assistance is often offered through churches. The way Hope for Orphans sees it, adoption can be made “affordable for almost anyone willing to pursue the options available.”
Other issues have to do with wait time and legalities. Lauren writes that “with tighter restrictions, hopeful parents often have to wait years before they can bring their child home.” While it has been common to believe that it takes a long time to complete the adoption process, recent polls indicate otherwise; according to adoption expert and founder of Lifetime Adoption Center Mardie Caldwell, the process generally takes about a year.
But the biggest reason why more people don’t adopt has to do with wanting newborns. Lauren writes, “Many partners who want children want newborn babies so they can experience those cute baby years, but oftentimes the heartbreak associated with trying to adopt a newborn is too much to bear as birth mothers can, and do, change their minds about adoptions when they see their babies.”
Caldwell might very well disagree – that in reality, there are tens of thousands of families each year that adopt healthy, newborn babies through adoption. Many of them are through open adoption, where the biological mother, often called the birth mother, may have chosen the family herself. And today’s adoption laws protect against birth parents being able to take the child back. Hope for Orphans suggests that adoptive parents work with attorneys who have expertise in this area and can make sure all legal papers are signed. This will “nearly eliminate this possibility.”
Beyond the myths and true reasons, there is a deeper reason why more people who want children do not adopt. It boils down to the pronatalist assumption that “biology is best.” Pronatalist dogma has stressed that having your own child is the way to have a child. Somehow you are not a “real” woman, a true mother, if you don’t have your own biological child.
What if we dumped this thinking, and instead valued adoption as the first choice, not as the last resort? Women who are having a hard time conceiving not feel something is “wrong” and that the only solution is an expensive procedure like in vitro fertilization, and they could more readily decide to put that money toward adopting a child. Children in need of loving homes would clearly greatly benefit. Foster homes could decrease, and the adoption process would become even more effective-because we more highly value it. Want-to-be-parents would get to have the experience of parenting. The world would not bring another person onto an already crowded planet. With each adopted child, the world would be saved from the carbon wake that comes with every new biological child.
So many benefits would come from changing mindsets away from having to feel the need to have a biological child in order to fulfill one’s desire to be a parent!