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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The High Cost of Adoption

It seems that whenever the topic of adoption comes up, the topic of the expense also appears.  These are our (yes, I consulted with my husband and he read this before it was published) thoughts after one adoption two years ago.  

It is very expensive to adopt.  It costs a lot of hard-earned dollars, a lot of mental stress and a lot of physical energy to adopt.  

About five years ago, we had a tree in our backyard to wither up and die.  Our yard is pretty small so the tree is very close to our home and our neighbor's home.  We hired a very reputable tree company to come extract it so that we could be sure it would not fall on any one or any thing.  It cost $2,000.  That's really expensive to be left with just a hole in the ground.  I watched the men work and they probably had at least 4-5 men involved with getting that tree down.  One even had the risky job of climbing up in the rotten tree to cut limbs off.  I prayed for them the whole time.  It took two entire days.  For two days, five men working all day long and we paid them $400 each (perhaps... I hope they got that much) to risk their lives so that the tree would not fall on my house.  I'm sure these men did not get $400 each.  If someone asked me if I'd do that kind of back-breaking work to just cut down a tree for that amount of money, I would say no.  

Living is expensive.  We just had a new floor put in our home.  Again, we paid several thousand dollars for the floor.  Again, back-breaking, crawl on your knees all day kind of work that takes real skill - much like the tree trimmers.  We had exactly 11 different men in here and it took them two and a half weeks to finish the job.  They were not here every day, but they worked very hard.  If I divide the total we paid by 11, it's not very much money for each man that was here.  Not to mention there was the cost of materials and the contracting company took a large cut, I'm sure.  

What I'm saying is:  money is hard to hold onto.  The older this house gets, the more money we'll have to throw at it to keep it functioning.  That's just the way home ownership goes.  

Kids are expensive.  Just this week, we've had a nice little cold front come through.  When I put last year's pants on the kids, the hems had risen above their ankles.  I had to buy more.  (I am thrilled to say that I got the big kids some really great jeans at Walmart.  I was truly shocked at how great these little jeans look.  I could have paid about 3x as much at the Gap.)  Health insurance to keep the kiddos healthy is expensive, cars to haul them around are expensive and schools are always wanting just $10 for this or that.  We know nothing, yet, about the expense of feeding teenage boys, helping them buy cars, college, weddings, etc.

Adoption is expensive.  After we wrote the big check when we adopted our little boy, I started thinking about all the time our social worker and the director had spent with us.  Then, I thought about the time the birth mother counselor spent with her.  Again, if I divide out the money we paid with the time and effort they put forth, our fee did not cover what we received.  Our fee would not even cover the salary of those three professionals who helped us to adopt our son.  And our son's birthmother paid nothing.  She found herself in a very hard position and did not pay a dime for the counseling and compassion that was offered to her.  

It's hard to write checks for thousands of dollars.  I don't think it's ever easy.  

Everything is expensive.  Truly, though, nothing is cheap.  We like to go to the local big box store and get "deals".  Most of those items are made in countries where people stand all day in factories to make them. They get paid very little.  If you think about the widget that you bought at the $ store, it had to be made by a real person with a family.  A real person who was tired after making it.  Then, the widget had to travel to get to our store.  Then, someone here got paid very little to put it on the shelf and then check you out when you want to pay - but his or her salary is probably a lot more than the person who made it.  

Salvation is expensive.  Jesus humbled Himself.  He curled Himself up inside Mary's womb and stayed there for 9 whole months and was born.  He learned to talk, to sit up, to eat, to take care of his own body just like our children do, yet the whole time He was God.  It took a long time for all of that to happen.  He was thirty or so before He performed the first miracle yet He could have done them all along.  Had the people around Him known what was coming, they would have thought His life up to that point was a waste of time.  It wasn't.  They would have been impatient for His ministry to begin.  2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  

Adoption is not quick.  I was very impatient when we were adopting.  I wanted the homestudy done quickly and I wanted that baby in my arms.  From start to finish, it took a year.  There was a lot of waiting.  Waiting for the next meeting, waiting for the FBI or whoever to say that our fingerprints were not those of criminals, waiting for a baby to be born.  Waiting for "the call".  But I know it's true that "the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise".  God has to tell us that because He knows we think it's slow sometimes.  He's got it under control. He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  

When I go to a store, I want what I want, when I want it and I want it as cheaply as possible.  Simply put, adoption is just about the opposite of that sentiment.  When we signed up to adopt our son, we did not get to pick the baby or his birth family circumstances, it did take longer than we had anticipated and we did not get him from the bargain bin.  Adoption cost us a lot of money, mental stress and energy.  

But I cannot tell you the joy he has brought to our family!  We could have easily backed out at any point before finalization, but we loved him even before he came to our family.  How in the world did we live our daily lives without him??

In every activity we do during the day people are involved.  We run into people at the store or at work, we buy goods and services provided or made by people.  Real people with families who need the Lord. People are more costly than anything we could buy because Jesus paid for them. He died for the sins of the whole world.  The fees are paid.  All we need do is accept that He paid them, we cannot earn right standing. It comes only through Him.  

Jesus came, humbled Himself and died on the cross.  

Isaiah 53  "Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.  By oppression and judgment He was taken away.  And who can speak of his descendants?  For He was cut off from the land of the living' for the transgression of my people He was stricken.  He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.  Yet it was the Lord's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see his offspring (that's us - who are adopted) and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.  After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and  He will bear thier iniquities.  Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.  For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." 

He bled and died and was beaten until He was unrecognizable and then hung on the cross to die the most horrendous death the world could think of.  Those are the fees He paid with His sinless body for our adoption.  

In light of Jesus' suffering, how can I lament over writing a check to be able to adopt my precious child? 

Adoption is always costly, but it's worth it.  

If you have children, which one would you give up if you could have back all the money spent on that one?  The truth is, our families are more important than our money.  Much more than the satisfaction I get from my new floor or the peace of mind from knowing that our rotten tree will not fall on a house in relation to the dollars we paid for them, is Jesus' payment for our sins so that we can have right standing with the Father.  He has now become our Father because of Jesus.  If Jesus had not died for our sins, we would be forever separated, forever orphans, never knowing family, never knowing love.  

Jesus is not sad that He paid so much for our adoption.   "The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty" Haggai 2:8.  He's just let us hold it for a minute.  Spending it on adoption fees is better than any purchase we may want to make.  

When you go to the store, think about the person who made what you are buying and pray for them to know Jesus.  And just maybe, when the subject of adoption comes up, put a positive spin on the high cost.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You have said it so thoroughly. There are some things worth paying a lot for and only the things that really cost the us are of greatest worth. Yes, God rescued us at no charge to us, but He paid a huge price. Thanks for the reminder.

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