My next-door neighbors are adopting a child from Ethiopia. The people across the street are about to bring home a new daughter from Columbia. And then there's Angelina, Madonna, and Meg Ryan. It seems like everybody's doing it. You know, adopting third-world orphans.
I am not angry or indignant that these well-meaning people are adopting internationally as opposed to saving the poor kids in our own over-crowded foster care system. In fact, I even went online myself and investigated the possibility of adopting a child after seeing my fifth article/Oprah episode/PBS special on AIDS orphans in Africa. I'd convinced myself that it was my duty and obligation to save a child from the horrors of such a life. I even got my husband to consider the possibility...Until I saw the price tag attached to saving such a life.
Almost every website I checked out estimated the cost of an international adoption to be between $15,000-$22,000! I know the price tag on human life should be in the multi-millions, but how in the world can a person with good intentions but empty pockets be expected to come up with that kind of money? On one website, they actually addressed that issue and suggested such possibilities as "Ask friends or family for a loan." And " Take a second mortgage out on your house." Gee thanks. And then what? Bring your new child home to live in First World poverty because you just spent your whole life savings just to get them in the country? Some websites offer suggestions for coming up with the cash, but the underlying message is that if you want a child badly enough, you will come up with some way to pay for it and ultimately the sacrifice is worth it.
I might be the only person though who thinks that the cost of international adoption is insane. Indeed the number of international adoptions in Ethiopia is skyrocketing, so much so that some agencies are warning of an increased wait time to be assigned a child because of the demand. But who is doing the adopting? Even though Ethiopian social servants claim to prefer placing their orphans with Black families, the number of Black families looking to adopt is small. Is that because of the financial burden or are Black people just not as interested in international adoptions? I'm going to hazard a guess and assume that money has something to do with it. But maybe not.
I'd love to hear from someone who has some experience with international adoptions. How do people pay for a child? Should there be financial aid for colored folks to adopt colored babies? Would that be like Affirmative Action? Let's hear it?