7 Ways Adoption Costs Us Everything.

This is a guest post by Ellen Stumbo who is the founder of Disability Matters. She is a writer and speaker who focuses on sharing the real, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes ugly, aspects of faith, church, disability, parenting, and adoption. Ellen’s writing has appeared on Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, Mamapedia and the Huffington Post. Ellen blogs at ellenstumbo.com,​ you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook

Looking at the fees and expenses associated with adoption can be overwhelming. How can anyone afford to adopt? The dollar sign is big, but make no mistake, that is not what adoption costs.


Adoption costs more than money can buy, because adoption is an all or nothing choice.

Adoption costs your time.

From the moment you decide to adopt, till the day you die! It’s not only the paperwork, and the waiting. It’s not dealing with the foster care system. Not even the traveling to a foreign country and being away from family and your support system. It is a lifetime commitment to another human being whom you choose to make your very own.

Adoption costs your tears.

Lots of tears. You will cry during the adoption process, and that is only the beginning. You will cry because adjusting to a new child is difficult for everyone in your family, and you might see your biological kids struggle, and you will question if you did the right thing by bringing another child home. You will cry because you might feel like you are not getting anywhere, and adoption is hard! And when you begin to communicate with your child and language is less of a barrier, you will cry at the injustice of what your child had to go through, and the helplessness that you feel. You will cry because of the loss your child will carry in her heart for the rest of her life. Your heart will break for her.

Adoption costs rejection.

We all like to imagine a fairytale, where God shines His light and love on your child and he loves you back. But his past has taught him that other people can hurt him. He knows what it’s like to be abandoned, and it takes a long time to trust someone that you don’t know. so you might want to provide comfort, to hold him, to rock him, but he will reject you because he doesn’t know how to receive love. But keep loving, for as long as it takes. He will one day smile at you, throw his arms around you, and you will know you’ve broken through the hard shell. You’ll finally be allowed in, and yet it will still be a process to learn how to love.

Adoption costs you emotional distress.

Adoption is a brutal emotional journey. If your child came from the foster care system, you might have a detailed description of the life your child was forced to live, and it will break you. If you adopt internationally, it begins during the paperwork process. By the time you travel to get your child, emotions are already running high. Coming home, many of us are already emotionally spent. During the adjustment time, when you first bring your child home, you might wonder where the love went, or why you feel anger, or resentment, or fear. Through the challenges of adoption you will come face to face with your own brokenness. Difficult situations have a way of bringing out the worst in us. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your child needs healing, but perhaps you do to.

Adoption costs you the easy life.

Bringing a hurting child into your home will change how you do life. There will be challenges, and there is no way around it. But your child will open your eyes to so much more than just adoption. You will understand poverty, abuse, loss, abandonment, loneliness, fear, and the reality of our broken world in a more intimate way. Once you know, you can never look back. You will cover your child with as much love as you can, and you will try to do the best you can to heal his heart. You will put your foot down and say, “No more, today is the day his new life begins” and it will become your mission, and a new purpose. You will expand that passion beyond just your family, because you know there is more that you can do.

Adoption costs who you are.

You can never go back. Adoption stretches you, molds you, and pushes you to be someone different. Someone who learns the significance of choosing love every day. Someone who learns to love deeply and fiercely. Someone who can no longer look away from social injustice. Someone who will go down fighting for a child that was denied so much, for too long.

Adoption costs your once small heart.

You take a stranger and make that child your very own. You look at him in the eyes and say, “No matter what comes our way, we are doing this together, and I’ve got your back.” You take the good and the bad, you take it all in…all of it. You let it stretch you, and change you, and challenge you. And you know she was worth everything you had to go through to make it work. You know that more challenges will come, but you are going to tackle them head on. You are ready for forever. You cannot believe how lucky you are to call this precious child your very own. She is a part of you, forever, and you cannot imagine your life without her. She fills you with joy, and pride, and love, and you want to scream so loud to let the world know, “She is mine!”

I might not be an expert on adoption, but I do know what it is like to adopt a child who spent her first four years of life in a Ukrainian orphanage. Adoption is not about the money. There were expenses before we traveled, and then, arriving in the country, we handed over a stack of crisp dollar bills to our facilitator. Fifteen thousand dollars gone in seconds!

The money will come, through fundraisers, through generous gifts, matching grants, scholarships, or a bank loan (after all, we take loans for new cars, surely a life is worth a monthly payment if it comes down to that). How much you pay, is only a fraction of the cost of adoption.

Adoption costs all of you, every single thread weaved in the pattern of your being!

Question: Have you felt the cost of adoption personally? Share your story with us! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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