Thursday, September 28, 2017

The $35,000 question: Part 1

Do you usually bring up the issue of money in polite conversation? Like your income, or your spouse's income, or how much your car payments are? I don't. With close friends I might mention how the shoes I'm wearing only cost me a quarter at the Thrift Store, but other than that, it just doesn't come up.

At least, it never did until we adopted.

We began our adoption journey in February of 2011 - a lifetime ago. Our first tenuous steps involved research. How do you adopt? What agencies are the best? What age of child might fit best in our family?

And, of course, how much will it cost?

We did our due diligence. Researched online, interviewed adoptive families, scheduled meetings with adoption workers, read books. We prayed about it, discussed the implications with our bio kids, and started setting money aside. Then...we started talking about it publicly.

To our surprise, 9 out of 10 times the first question or comment someone would make when we brought up adoption had to do with money. Isn't it really expensive? We could never afford to adopt. We would adopt too, if it wasn't for the cost. How are you going to pay for that?

Some people asked if we were going to get a loan or just go into debt. Some compared the cost to the cost of a new boat or RV and said it'd be easier to just get an RV. Some said that unless we had the cash on hand, we were being financially irresponsible to consider adoption. And some said, "For one child? With $35,000, you could build a school or dig a well in a third-world country and help many more than just one child."

That question really messed me up. It poked at my insides with its bony fingers and scraped against my brain at night when I tried to sleep. Was it true that I could help more, do a greater good, by using all that money for something else? Was it really possible to put a price on helping one child?

The question haunted me. Then, my son approached me one day with his piggy bank in hand.

"You can use my money for the adoption if you need it," he said.

I swallowed hard. "That's very kind of you, buddy, but that's your special stash. I could never take that from you."

"It's okay." He shrugged. "It's for my sister."

And that's when I realized the truth. The answer to the question. Adopting one child was not only going to change one life. Adopting was going to affect my whole family, my friends, my community. It was going to impact my heart, my kids' hearts, our future. The ripples moving outward from the point of adoption would be countless. Immeasurable.


So could I put a price on helping just "one" child?

The answer to the $35,000 question was a resounding NO. No, no, no.

But there was another question...

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