How much did you cost? The literal price of adoption.

Now that the crowdfunding craze has caught up with adoption, it is normal within adoption mediation to talk about “sticker shock” concerning the price of adopting children. I realize that just once I would like to see an article that discusses our shock at how much we set our adoptive parents back.

In my case, outside of airfare between Iran and Lebanon (where my adoptive father was working at the time), I have a cancelled check for $300 in among my paperwork. This was a “gift donation” to the orphanage, though everyone I talk to was basically shaken down in a similar way, and these “gifts” were expected to continue beyond the date of adoption, and were often a yearly contribution at Christmas or our birthdays.

$300 in 1963, adjusted for inflation [inflation calculator] is $2,283.77. I think I was pretty much a bargain, compared to today’s adoptions.

So I would like to ask: How much did you cost? Have you reflected on this before? How does this make you feel?

13 thoughts on “How much did you cost? The literal price of adoption.

  1. What a timely question. I was just calculating the cost of my adoption earlier this week. Adjusted for inflation from 1979 (from Korea) I cost ~$9,000 (my original price tag was listed in a newspaper article alerting families to the”motherlode of Korean children” available to the agency for adopting out). My a/fam had to take a second mortgage out on their home; my documents show they had $300.00 in savings with equity barely outweighing the mortgage on their home (hence the funds to pay for my adoption). And this was considered financially stable via the home study. They also had two biological sons. In comparison, I assume, to the poverty of my Korean family $300 seemed like a lot.

    I was always reminded about the cost of my adoption & the financial contracts designed to make my adoption occur. I have literally felt indebted against this “loan on my childhood” and fear I shall never fulfill my debts. The loan for a “better, Western Life” can never be repaid or maybe I will never be worthy of that amount. I didn’t live up to the “product description” so I was not a bargain. I cost a fortune for my a/fam, at much sacrifice to my a-parents biological sons’ futures (which I have never been allowed to forget).

    This price, this cost, this quantification of a life haunts me. I wear the stigma of it like a label sticking out of my shirt. I feel like it would be akin to telling my own child she should feel grateful to be alive because our hospital bills alone to birth her were $….. It’s disgusting. It is undoubtedly perverse.

    Seeing “sliding scales” and “adoption fee lists” makes me sick. I see profits and ledgers and debits and credits. I do not see the needs of children inside these numbers. I have viewed myself as an “investment in love with a guaranteed return”—but it was one I could never and have never come close to meeting.

    • I feel exactly the same way…. It is unconscionable and appalling….having been recently a privy to a foreign adoption by a relative I have become increasingly aware of how the “adoption” arena is really a trafficking and abuse of children and their human rights, by taking them away from their biological mothers and their culture, just to fulfill the inadequacy of not being able to procreate.

  2. Apparently, around $8K. In today’s dollars, around $60K. It’s no wonder they felt so so so cheated when I ended up not looking (or being) anything like them, right?

  3. Adjusted for inflation, $4000 approx. This was the amount my a/mom said it would take to “go around” my b/mom because b/mom refused to sign.
    However this wasn’t the final cost. I had been living with my a/family for 8 years when they decided to make it legal. What prompted them to do so? My dad retired that year and they found out they would get more money from social security by claiming me.
    So in reality, they made their money back.
    To them, I meant money. To me, I felt worthless.

  4. Adopted in 1981. Cost nothing except for some medical expenses. My Korean birthparents didn’t know much about adoption and didn’t ask for any kind of monetary compensation — I was a premie and they didn’t have health insurance, so they wanted my parents to take responsibility for some (not all) of the accumulated medical bills. I think it all came to less than $1000, and I imagine my adoptive parents’ insurance took care of the lion’s share.

    …I don’t feel much of anything about my “cost” or lack thereof. It’s not one of the things about my adoption that bother me, I guess.

  5. I have a receipt for myself from Social Services. Baby Girl Sanchez $250.
    I was a bargain really. They had another Baby Girl Sanchez for a year, who mysteriously developed hydro anencephaly. After a year? So they were not allowed a cash refund because I guess they lost the receipt, so they got a store credit for Social Services. Voila! One Crazy Female!

  6. After reading this post, I feel thankful that my adopted parents were very open about adoption, the process, including cost. They never made me feel like i was a burden because of it. I do feel at times, feel some of that guilt, and given some of the areas that i lived in, i wonder where my parents would be if they had not adopted me. But that’s more of an internal struggle that ever anything that came from them. it would be interesting to see what the breakdown of everything is nowadays with adoption fees etc. I hear it’s now can be over $10,000 to adopt an international child, depending on the country i’m assuming.

    • I’m pretty sure I must have started that thread over at AAAFC, because after starting it here, I was dogged with the feeling that somewhere on TRE I had already posted it. Depressing, that purge of our history over there.

      • Very depressing. A massive amount of valuable information was lost.

        I also found it depressing when ALL posts got locked down as well, since I’d posted deliberately differently within the public threads because I knew that they could be shared. *sigh*

        And to answer the question, since I didn’t; I didn’t cost a penny, as far as I’m aware. Complete freebie giveaway me – kinda like you get in a box of cereal.

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