Saturday, May 27, 2006

What Else You Get When You Adopt

Any adoptive parent would tell you that whatever financial costs they
incurred in the process of adopting their child were well worth it.
But most adoptive parents would also tell you that money doesn't grow
on trees, and that money therefore does become a factor when it comes
to questions of how, where, and how many. China is by far one of the
least expensive places for non-US adoptions, but the total still runs
easily into five figures. That's a lot of money, especially when you
consider that the biological alternative is free. And not just money
but time and hassle: the sheer amount of paperwork and authentications
you have to plow through is enough to turn away all but the most
determined couple.

Not that this should change anyone's mind about whether or not to
adopt, but as a numbers-oriented kind of guy, this is how I think, so
bear with me. If you really want to compare the tens of thousands of
dollars and hundreds of hours you have to spend on an adoption vs. the
free, biological way of having kids, you have to throw in two other
considerations:

* There are a lot of costs you don't bear that biological parents do:
lamaze class, maternity clothes, the hospital visit for the delivery
itself, and the infinite number of diapers you go through from ages
0-6 months, just to name a few.

* There are a lot of benefits you get from adopting that biological
parents don't, like the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to
and through another country for a week or two, and the ongoing
opportunity to identify with and learn about that country and its
culture. And don't forget the $10,390 adoption tax credit.

We didn't much think of these considerations when we adopted Jada, nor
are we factoring them into wanting to do it all over again. But they
do make a difference.

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