As Lori and I have entered into the process of international adoption we have often been asked two questions – 1. How much does that cost? and 2. Is there not a better use for that money? As we began to feel called to adopt internationally, we must confess that we had no idea how much it cost. When we discovered that the total expenses including travel to Ethiopia (twice) would be between $25 – $30 K we were floored. It is hard to explain all the fees that are involved, but the plane tickets alone range from $1800 – $5000 depending on the time of year you go. Going twice and buying an extra one way ticket home for our son (who by the way is not pictured above- this is a picture of an Ethiopian boy however) would add up to anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. At first, we began to doubt if this is what God wanted. “Lord, we make approximately that amount in a year. How can we afford this?” So we prayed. God reminded us that we had just felt called to raise our support to do college ministry full time and God provided our full salary for the year! If God can provide our salary, He can certainly provide for this adoption! So we stepped out in faith. Today we have paid for all our fees except for our final travel costs and are not in debt at all from the adoption expenses! We have done fundraisers (which many of you have participated in) and have saved and used tax money (thank you uncle sam) to pay our adoption bills! This last chunk of money is significant, yet we are still praying for God’s provision and trust that it will come. On a humorous note – our case worker when doing our home study said she had looked at our income and savings and was wondering how we were going to pay for the adoption? We just smiled and said, “we don’t know… but we believe God will provide.” At first I thought this might be a set back; however, our case worker is a believer and said, “Yes, I believe He will!”
We have some friends who recently adopted two beautiful girls from Russia. Their adoption would cost far more as they had to travel to Russia 3 times. An old friend of theirs called them one day and said she believed in what they were doing and wanted to deposit some money directly into their account and her boyfriend was going to match it. So they gave them their info and the next day they discovered $20,000 in their bank account! It was enough to cover the rest of their expenses! God is good! It is my understanding that as God calls, He provides. So as expensive as it looks, let me encourage you to never let money keep you from following the Lord. If God is calling you to adopt internationally, please know that no matter how expensive we can trust in His grace and provision! The second question (though it may sound a little harsh) is a valid question. Could we build an orphanage in Ethiopia for this amount? Could we provide medical care or food for many children with this money? I would think the answer to these questions is yes. And it would be a worthy cause to gather with friends and do what one could to raise funds for these very things. However, we must not underestimate the value of family. Knowing the love of a family, the support, security and care of loving parents can make a huge difference in the life of a child. Jesus once told a parable of a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One of the sheep wondered off and could have been in danger. The shepherd left the 99 to go look for the 1 and bring him back. This parable reveals to us the heart of God. That the 1 has value and is worth searching for and bringing home. There are literally millions of orphans in Ethiopia, and though we cannot impact a great number of them we can make a huge difference in the life of 1.
I don’t know if you have ever looked at the cost of adoption and been swayed away from taking that step. Let me encourage you with our story. God has provided every step of the way and we continue to look forward to seeing how He provides the rest of our need!
Some of you may not feel called to adopt at this point, so let me share with you a few ways that you can help those who do feel that calling. You can pray! This is not cliche’. Prayer makes a huge difference not only in the fundraising and waiting process but also after a child has come into someone’s home. Imagine losing your parents and then moving across the world to a new culture, language, and set of foods. Pray for that child’s transition and the grace a family needs to patiently work with him or her in that process. Second, you can give. Whether a small amount or large, your gift communicates to the a family adopting that you believe in what they are doing, plus the obvious help of offsetting the cost. Host a small fundraiser at your church or small group and get people involved. Third, you can ask the adopting family if they have a miles program and can if you are able to donate miles – this can be extremely helpful! Helping offset even one ticket can save a family several thousands of dollars!
Thank you for reading this blog and I pray it is an encouragement to you. May we continue to live generously for the sake of our Savior and His kingdom work!