As we were praying about which country to adopt from, we were also looking into adoption agencies to partner with. My thinking is that any company or agency can pay to have a great looking website so I put the most stock in personal recommendations when making a decision. As I said, we know several families adopting from Africa so I have spent time talking to others about their experience with different agencies.
One agency stood out from the beginning . . . All God's Children International. We have a few friends using them and all gave very positive feedback. I filled out a form on their website to get more info and got a call the next day to see if we had any questions . . . I am all about some good customer service!! After praying, we had pretty much decided that this was the agency we would use. I was so pumped and anxious to get the process started. Then God changed MY plans.
I was told that we have wait until Grayson is one year old to start the adoption process. WHAT??? It already takes 18-24 months so the thought of adding 6 months to the process felt like I was being punched in the gut. I was pretty disheartened . . . to the point that I was ready to find another agency that would let us start now (Martha, is that you again?). Thankfully Chad helped me slow down and seek the Lord.
And God spoke. Do you really trust that I have a plan for you and that I am in control of every detail of this process? Are you going to be so quick to change courses when things get hard or don't go your way? Are you really saying that you can't wait another 6 months for the precious child I have already picked out to be a part of your family?
Ouch. So that was a turning point. I let go of my plan, my anxieties (I'm sure I'll have to do it again, but it was a start!). I felt Peace overwhelm me. If I am following Him, every turn takes me one step closer to my son, whether it was on my map or not. I WILL trust in Christ!
Now I look forward to what God has in store for us in the next 6 months! We have 6 months to continue to pray for our son, to ask God to prepare our hearts for the road that lies ahead, and to raise funds for the adoption process.
Speaking of raising funds . . . I wanted to give some info about the cost of adoption. It is insanely expensive, to be honest, but it can't be a reason to not adopt. If we see the cost as being too great and don't obey, then there are still millions of orphans with no family. Their plight doesn't change unless we trust God to provide for what He is calling us to do. As my dear friend, Amy Hobson, pointed out to me . . . "What if God had considered the cost of our adoption too great? God went through the unimaginable with His Son to make us part of His family. It makes sense that bringing an adopted child into our family would mirror that in some ways."
Here is a breakdown of the cost given by our agency. I'll be writing in a few days about how you can partner with us. Let me be clear . . . we are trusting in God to provide. He can rain down the money if He chooses. However, we know that He often uses His children as an avenue of provision because then the growing process isn't just about our family. He has an opportunity to do a work in the lives of many others as well. I pray that the adoption of our son will have an impact far greater than we could every know . . . all for the glory of God!
Application & Paperwork
Application Fee $300
Home Study Service Fee $1,975 (*$1,750)
Home Study Review Fee $350 (non-AGCI HS)
Adoptive Parent Education $200 (approximate)
Agency Service Fee $6,000
Program Fee $1,000
USCIS Fees $720
USCIS Related Fees $85 (per adult)
County Certification $70 (if applicable)
State Certification $140 (if applicable)
FBI Fingerprints for Dossier $18 (per adult)
International Service Fee $4,500
Dossier Translation $200
Acceptance of Referral
Care of the Child In-Country $2,500 (per child)
HIV/PCR Testing $350 (per child)
Medical Checkup $100 (per child)
Airfare to/from Ethiopia $1,500-$2,000 (per person, per trip)
Travel Visa $20 (per person, per trip)
Food $20-$35 (per person, per trip)
Immigrant Visa $404 (per child)
Lodging $100 (per night)
Translation of Final Documents $100
and Administration Fee $1,500
Post-Adoption Reports $350 per report (3 required)
Medical Insurance Varies
Re-Adoption Fee $200-$300 (varies)
TOTAL AVERAGE EXPENSES $30,000 and up