The Price of a Child

Over at, Amy Adair reflects on an interesting phenomenon that happens when you adopt a child: people ask you how much the kid cost you.

Here’s an excerpt from her post:

The first week Evie was home, my dentist, a neighbor, and a stranger at the park all wanted to know: How much?

It is true, adoption isn’t cheap. There are a lot of fees that add up quickly. We paid for a home study, visas, passports, immigration papers, plane tickets, and hotels. Quite honestly, it is a financial sacrifice. But so are other things that people don’t question, like sending your child to college. People find a way to do it. Much like financing a college education, there are grants, loans, and federal tax credits available to adoptive parents.

I wonder, though, what’s the cost of not adopting? It was never God’s intention for children to grow up in an orphanage without the love of a mother or father. Clearly God weeps for those who suffer, especially the fatherless. In fact, in Matthew 19:14, Jesus berates his disciples for turning children away from him. Jesus invites the children to stay and declares that the kingdom of Heaven belongs not to the grown-ups but to the kids. It is one of the many beautiful pictures in the Bible that illustrates God as our Abba or Father…

Read all of The Price of Adoption.

Amy wonders aloud about what the world would look like if more Christians cared for orphans. In fact, she goes so far as to wonder what price we’re paying by not caring for the orphans. Even if we’re not called to adopt ourselves, shouldn’t we at least be actively praying for those that have?

The pastor at the church where I grew up was a foster parent. It definitely changed what kind of sermons he preached. He had a deep understanding of family and parenting that I’ve rarely encountered elsewhere. There’s something about caring for a child that’s not your own that teaches you some deep spiritual lessons about love and family.

Do you have any adopted children? Have you faced similar questions about the “price” of the child?

9 Responses to “The Price of a Child”

  • jim says:

    We have two children by birth and one by adoption. When people ask how much my daughter cost, I just smile and say “she’s priceless”.

    But the truth about the actual costs are:

    -Tax credits covered the majority of our expenses

    -Many couples we met were infertile and had spent equally large amounts of money on doctors, in vitro fertilization, etc.

    -Use of a reputable adoption agency kept the price down – no bribes or outlandish fees.

    -I have spent many times the cost of the adoption on my daughter in the past 12 years (she’s not even to High School yet…)

    -We have a moderate middle class income – we don’t pinch pennies, but we also don’t drive new cars or carry debt. We could afford adoption. College – we’re hoping for scholarships…!

    We are not big crusaders for adoption, but to us it just makes sense. There a children without families, and we were a family that wanted another child. And God in His grace has blessed us tremendously with and through our daughter.

  • Jess says:

    Thank you for posting this.

  • DEE says:

    My husband and i are experiencing secondary infertillity. Meaning i have a son from a previous relationship and no longer been able to have another child. We have foster his great neice for the last 2 years( she was 16 months when we got her)About half a year into her being here i told him i can not bond with the child and began to resent her presence. I have prayed for this to change but it has not. I have become some resentful of the child that i cant stand her. I have asked him repeatly to allow her to go to another family memeber . I don’t feel it is good for a child to be in and environment where she is not wanted. But he refuses. Can somone help me with this i have prayed and my action would change for a moment. But the feeling has never change. I just don’t want the child. People make me feel worst because they don’t understand how you just can’t love a child. It is not i don’t love the child i don’t want to parent the child. I say adotions is great but it is not the answer for ever one.
    Please help.

    • Cam says:

      I wish I had advise and help for you. I’m sorry. I’m praying for you. As a mother of two, I can only imagine both how awful it must feel to not want the child that badly to resentment; and equally my heart goes to the child who NEEDs the love from her mother/father–the love of Christ.

      Their little hearts are so tender, even when at times they can even seem a terror. They absolutely do need a parents love. You are correct in how detrimental the resentment towards her could be. There are several people’s children that I can imagine not wanting to parent. How tearing this is for you I’m sure.

      I will pray for the three of you. Do you have a good support group like a mom’s group? I think it would be wise if you haven’t already, to try to take breaks from her… finding a trustworthy babysitter and taking some time for yourself. I would hope your husband would be supportive and realize the importance of this in the least.

      You both need to be cared for… and I’m sure it is as equally difficult for him given the situation.

      I’m praying for you friend… I just wish there was more that I could do.

    • abbie says:

      Feelings are just that feelings. You aren’t wrong or bad for how you feel. Just put into perspective that love is a verb, it is something that you do. Love her with what you can right now, love is amazing in the fact that it can continue to grow indefinetly. Don’t place expectations on your relationship with her. Give yourself permission to grieve the loss of the child that you desire to carry with your husband, she is not ever going to replace that loss, but she is also not responsible for that loss. Just love her, the way you would want to be loved if you were completely vulnerable.

  • Christi says:

    Love comes from God, not from us. If God has given you the child, he has done so for a reason in his infinate wisdom. So let your desire to parent come from the Holy Spirit not from yourself in the flesh. We have no capacity to love at all without this.

  • SC says:

    I don’t normally respond to things like this and it just so happened that I just came across this page, so I’m thinking it must have been meant for me to reply to how you are feeling. The way you feel about her has nothing to do with her, but yourself. There must be other issues going on that are causing you to feel this way toward her. You need to figure out what they are. Jealousy or resentment of the attention she gets from your husband, etc? You need to figure out where it’s coming from. You are just refusing to accept and love her for some reason. Take a good look at yourself and get totally honest about yourself and pray about it. Ask God to reveal to you whatever it is that is blocking your ability have a loving relationship with her. Pray for His help. I have two stepkids and I must admit it has been a struggle for me at times, especially after having a child of my own. However, I have prayed about it and my eyes have been opened to what it means to be a family. As a mother figure in their life, I know that they look up to me and that they need my love. God is so awesome in how He changes things and can change our hearts. We just have to have the commitment and pray for his help. I pray that you can overcome the obstacles that stand in your way and you can begin to show her the love she needs.

  • Kim says:

    Hi. Tough one. I am not in your situation but I remember when I was first told I was pregnant & resented it beyond belief. Eventually accepted the pregnancy & when my first son was born I had to address the issue of not wanting “the child”. This I think in a way is something similar to your not wanting the great neice. My issues came from my childhood. My parents provided for me in worldly terms but there was no real connection. Once realising this I decided that I WOULD love him, that I would be to him what my parents weren’t for me. Maybe you have an underlying issue that is blocking you from accepting this little girl. Maybe don’t TRY to love her as such but allow God to permeate you with love for her. Love can’t be forced, relax and enjoy her, watch her, encourage her in the little things she does, laugh with her, relax. Continue to pray & I’d suggest that you don’t pray that God MAKES you love her but that he softens your heart so that love can flow naturally. I hope & pray that you haven’t given up yet. My son is now 22 & is one of the 3 delights of my life. Much love & prayers

  • As somebody who is both an adoptive parent, has lived in an orphanage, and now works in Haiti to PREVENT child relinquishment, let me affirm that adoption is a good thing, but that it can also be a very evil thing if it is fostering a system that separates living family members. IN haiti, where I live and work, for example, the vast majority of “orphans” are not true orphans, but children of impoverished (and very alive and loving) parents. These parents usually give up their children to orphanages because of economic forces and a desire to preserve their children, not because they don’t want to care for their children. If the church put 1/25th of the money they put into adoptions into job creation for the poor, there would be very few orphans left in Haiti. But the adoption market, and corrupt orphanages are separating families, creating reactive attachment disorder in children, and thus making very difficult situations for well meaning adoptive families as well. If you are concerned that your adoption might create a wound rather than heal one, please feel free to email me and I can tell you how to ensure that your international adoption is ethical and helpful.