Friday, March 14, 2014

Sometimes, You Need More Than Love

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love, love
Love is all you need.  

Fun song and a sentiment that has caught on in the adoption world.  If you just have enough love, everything will be ok.  You fell in love with a picture and God calls us to take care of the orphans so you have to adopt this child immediately.

I see all the time that people say:  "I have enough money to raise a(nother) child.  I just don't have any money at all to contribute to my adoption."  "I can't get a loan and I don't have a credit card."  "I have no other way to get the money.  No one that will support me and no one I can borrow from."  "I don't have the time or energy to fund raise."   I have seen people literally "fund-raise" (usually beg) the entire $30,000 for their adoption.  I've seen it more than once.  It happens.

Now, before you lump me in with people that are against fund raising at all.  That isn't true.  I wrote a whole post about my fund raising philosophy.  I fund raised for my own adoption.  BUT, I also contributed about a third of the cost myself and only fund raised a third of the cost.  (The other third came from grants.)  

I'm not saying you have to have ten thousand in the bank to adopt.  I'm not saying you have to pay for the entire adoption yourself.  I am saying, that if your budget is so incredibly tight that you don't have ANY extra money from week to week, you probably don't have the money to raise an adopted child---especially one with special needs.  (And pretty much any child over the age of 2 that has been living in an orphanage is going to have some sort of special need--whether physical or emotional.)

Kids with special needs are expensive.  My daughter is very healthy.  She has Down syndrome but she does not have any of the physical ailments that go along with it (except for cataracts).  Even as a healthy child, I have spent hundreds if not over a thousand on her health care in the year she's been home (and I have pretty good insurance).  She has been to the cardiologist, the Down syndrome clinic, the dentist, the eye doctor numerous times, the hearing specialist, the eye surgeon, the pediatrician.  She has had x-rays, blood work, a karyotype, physicals, eye exams, hearing tests.  I have bought glasses for her.  I'm not listing those things to complain.  I am so grateful she's healthy.  I'm just trying to give you an idea of how quickly appointments and copays pile up.  (I also intentionally choose a child that did not have a heart defect and that seemed healthy.  I knew that as a single mother, I would be unable to take time off of work for open heart surgery and wasn't sure I'd be able to handle it emotionally either.)  

Most kids that are adopted internationally (with special needs) are not so healthy--especially if they have come from a neglectful orphanage or an institution.  Chances are good they have never had their teeth brushed.  They haven't had good nutrition.  They may be dehydrated.  Parasites are incredibly common.  The list goes on and on.  

Before you adopt that adorable child that so "needs to be rescued", you need to make sure that you have a plan in place to pay for that rescue and the redemption that follows.  You may see the adoption as the rescue but the years that follow are the redemption.  You will have to make up for years of neglect and lack of medical care.  Chances are very good that they will need to have dental work (and most dental insurances don't cover much).  It's almost a guarantee that they will need to see some sort of specialist at least for check ups if not regularly.  They may need therapies--physical and/or emotional.  All of these things cost money.  It's just the way our country works.  Medical care is expensive. And internationally adopted kids--especially those with special needs---need a lot of it!

So, if you don't have ANY money to contribute to your adoption, where in the world are you going to get the money for copays, surgeries, equipment and medicines? 

**I know that I probably have offended people at this point.  I'm not targeting any one family or situation.  I've just seen too many families come home and not have the money for the basic care that their children need.  It's the kids that suffer in this case and that just isn't right.  I thought the point of adoption ("rescue") was to give them what they couldn't get in their birth country?  

**There may not really be a correlation between people who "fund raise" for their entire adoption and those that don't have the money for basic care when their kids get home.  I haven't done a scientific study but it seems that way to me.  How frustrating for those that donated to your adoption to find out that you don't have enough money to care for your kids?