The Cost Of Adoption
Raising a child comes with a great cost, regardless of the way they come to your family. When it comes to adoption, one of the many presumptions people have is that it’s much more expensive than natural birth. This mindset creates a barrier further comparing kids who are adopted from those who are not.
While this concern is perfectly valid, we have observed that it would actually cost just as much to adopt and raise a child as it would to have one naturally, if not less. Based on our observations and conversations with many families who have gone through the process of adoption (some of them having gone through natural birth too!), the costs we perceive are not necessarily attributed to adoption in particular, but merely attributed to parenting in general. After all, love is costly! Physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and financially.
Once a family considers adoption, endless questions come to mind. Is our home ready for one more member? Are we ready for the sleepless nights? How do we tell our family and friends? Needless to say, we want to be prepared to give the child the best life we could possibly give. Just as we gear ourselves up for all the other aspects of adoption, financial preparedness is something that we highly advise interested families to strengthen as well.
The expected expenses
The great news is that the application for adoption is actually FREE, should one apply through the government. In the case of applying through child-placing agencies, fees apply for their administrative services, which include getting the required documents and assistance throughout the process.
Other expenses during this application stage would mostly be in gathering the necessary requirements such as police clearances, psychological and medical tests, and other paperwork that need to be acquired. It’s almost as if you’re applying for a job, but with the added cost of a psychological test for an individual that would typically range from P5,000-P30,000, depending on the psychologist of your choice and the tests required.
After application, this administrative stage would involve a screening done by a social worker to determine an applicant’s capacity to take care of a child and make sure that the child will be welcomed by a family that is medically, mentally, and financially stable.
Once all the administrative steps are done, you may proceed with the judicial phase, which would now involve a lawyer to represent you in court hearings. The rates for these services would vary per lawyer, taking into consideration a retainer’s fee, court appearance rates, and other applicable fees. The DSWD or agency would also usually have a list of lawyers willing to take on the case with adjusted rates for adoption, or even pro bono.
With all of that being covered, it is also important to take note that one should prepare financially just as you would for a biological birth. For those adopting newborns, there are costs for vaccines, check-ups, etc. For those adopting older children, school fees would be an immediate need as soon as they’re placed under your custody.
This is why we encourage families to estimate long-term costs such as food, medicine, clothes, and education, and accordingly set aside a certain amount towards their goal. Guidance from social workers, adoption communities, and financial advisors would also be a great help to prepare for the amazing journey ahead.
Some practical tips
On gathering the right information
While adoption entails many costs, gathering the right information is actually free and will in fact be one of the most valuable resources you’ll have throughout the journey. There is great benefit in knowing and being informed as you pursue this lifelong decision. Consulting, reading, and educating yourself (and even those around you!) about adoption will not only save you time and money but will also create a healthy environment for the child you will be welcoming home.
On gathering requirements
To save time and resources during the application period, we highly recommend that you only get the documents immediately or urgently needed. Some requirements such as the NBI and/or police clearance as well as medical documents would typically have limited validity. To avoid having to get these and pay multiple times, be in constant communication with your social worker to know which requirements need to be submitted, and which ones you can submit later on. This will spare you from unnecessary expenses and help you strategize your steps better.
On gathering a network
Build the best team for your adoption process who would not only be skilled but also reliable for you and your family. We suggest getting in touch with lawyers, psychologists, doctors, and financial advisors you know and trust personally, and share with them your intention to adopt. Aside from these key people, you can also begin having conversations start about your adoption plans with people who can support you in prayer, encouragement, and many other ways. Establishing these strong connections early on will help make the adoption process lighter and easier to navigate.
Raising a child is no easy task but can surely be a very joyful one. It takes dedication, hard work, and a lot of love. There are things you can anticipate, but other things you can’t prepare for. That being said, it is best to have a mindset that is set to make adjustments in priorities, lifestyle, and expenses. At the end of the day, adoption is not about counting the sacrifices you have to make, but about the value of the life of one child.
“Stop asking, “What will this cost me to love like this?”
and begin asking “What will it cost them if I don’t love like this?”
Love is costly. Worth it? Absolutely.”
—Brad Raby, Life Lessons From Adoption: Love Is Costly
About The Author
Seve is an AB Communication Arts graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. He is a volunteer for ROHEI Foundation, a part-time Financial Advisor in Philam Life, and a full-time advocate for adoption.
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