Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don't you worry about: "Buying your child"

I've been noticing a theme lately in some of the blogs/fourms regarding adoption... maybe it is triggered by the tough finical times that people are going though - but the topic of money and adoption is coming up a LOT lately.  And although these discussions MAY be spurred on by peoples individual finical troubles, I think it is more likely caused by peoples individual ignorance.

Oh... spoiler alert, this is another SOAP BOX type post.  You've been warned.  :-)

Is this better...
... than this?

Someone recently posted a question about how other adoptive parents have responded to the comment that they are "buying" their children:
The other day I was talking to a friend who wanted to know where we were with our adoption and as I was telling her ... and [they] just blurted out, "Ya but you are buying her." was mortified. I could not believe [they] had said that to me. I have never felt so bad before in my whole life. I was sick to my stomach. I really did not know what to say to [them] or the other people that were sitting there.

Now, I've blogged about this before... adoptive parents are not "buying children".  There is a legal process which has to be adhered to - legal processes costs money, mostly for services rendered.  At best, I'm paying for my Lawyer's new Yacht, or AirCanada to re-paint one of their aging A320s.  But to say we adoptive parents are "buying children" is just ignorant!  The amount of money which goes towards China (in our case) is so small in the overall costs that it is the LEAST of our expenses.
NOTE:  More info about can be found here, here, here and here using the TAGs feature of the blog for finances, money, ontario internation adoption procses and adoption process.
NOTE:  For the cynics out there, yes, child trafficking is a reality.  But it is not an 'adoption issue' - that is a global injustice issue, something perpetuated by bad people doing bad things.
 Do these same people realize that having bio-logical children costs money?!  Do they think that DOCTORS deliver babies for free?!

I've been told before that (in our case) China should just GIVE us the child.  That adopting a child should not cost anything.  In a perfect world, this should be the case.  In a fallen and broken world, maybe AirCanada doesn't have to charge us FULL FARE for our child to fly home.  Maybe my lawyer or social worker can provide services for free, or a reduced rate.  What about the hotels we stay at in China?  Or the restaurants we eat at... it should *all* be free!  Because, after all... we are "giving a child a home right!"

*siiiigh*  Welcome to the world of ignorance comments.

Would anyone expect their US Doctors to deliver their babies for free?!  No.  People are not that ignorant!  You go to a US hospital to have a baby, and you walk out with a new born bundle of joy AND a 20,000$* Medical BILL!  You have fees for staying in the hotel, er Hospital room.  You have transportation costs (hey Ambulances are NOT free), you have Doctor fees, Anastegolists fees, registration fees, fees, fees, fees!  Don't forget the meals at the hospital cafe, or the coffees from Tim Hortons!  Oh, and if you want  NEED a C-Section?!  Well, add another 5,000$ to that cost then!  I mean c'mon, you are "giving a child a home right!"

So... in response to this lady who has asked in her email "have other adoptive parents had to answer hurtful comments?" and "what did you say or do?", here is my answer...

  • Smile (I know it is hard to do)
  • Calmly explain that you did not buy a child
  • Explain that it is expensive to adopt, but that the money is going to lawyers and government offices to ensure that children are safe and NOT being "sold"
    • If you are the sarcastic type, you could ADD that if you were to BUY a child that you could have found a child for cheaper than 20,000$
  • If they are still listening, I point out the fact that in North America it costs approximately 20,000$ to have a baby at your local hospital
    • If you are feeling especially ornery, you could then accuse them of BUYing their child.  If they claim that they didn't have to pay (because of medicare, or health insurance) then point out that they have then "STOLEN THEIR CHILD FROM THEIR RIGHTFUL OWNER" ... after all, they didn't pay for the child to be born.  ;-)
  • Then, if they are still listening, I would ask them (and provide them with information) to read up on adoption so they could maybe better understand the process**
  • THEN, if they are still listening, I call them a flaming moron and slash their car tires

But hey, each time it is different - depending on who you are talking to and how willing they are to listen.
You will get better at deflecting these type of comments and questions.
Each time you answer, it will get easier.
No, it will never stop hurting.
No, you can not say what you "want" to - at least I can't, because I want to say many horrible things to these people... but we have to be bigger than that.  We have to educate people, not berate them... no matter how ignorant and hurtful they may be.

But that's just me... and yes, sometimes I'm sarcastic and ornery.  But mostly, I'm in love with my children, bio-logical or adopted, and I will not stand idly by while people hurt their feelings.

* == Source information on costs of having a baby:  http://www.costhelper.com/cost/child/baby-delivery.html
** == It is normally around this point where they realize that they don't have an informed decision and that they don't WANT an informed decision and walk away


  1. Nice soap box! I suppose we as Canadians are too used to our government-funded healthcare to realize the true cost of giving birth to a child. And, if we are fortunate, we have private health care on top of that to cushion the blow even more. Certainly, we never see anything like the $20k bills around here, and we are fortunate.

  2. I say ignorance comes from stupidity. Ignorant people are not smart enough to be polite. That's my theory. And having a battle of wits with someone who doesn't have many, even if you win, it doesn't feel good at the end, or change their opinion. So why waste my time?

    I know when I did IVF, it cost me $15 000 for that including my frozen transfer. That didn't even include the travel expenses. But would anyone ask me if I bought them if it worked? Probably not. Although it didn't stop people from their rude comments and questions.

    I expect to have those same rude comments asked of me when we finish the process. Everything has a cost involved. Nothing in life is free. Did we buy a child, no. I agree with you about the costs associated with picking up your child. Anyone who would ask that just isn't educated about the process or smart enough to know it was rude.

    Now my husband is better at the comebacks than I am. He was asked, during a polygraph interview for work "Have you ever paid for $ex?"...and he held up his ring hand and said "I pay for it everyday." lol. I am sure he will come up with something even better than that for such a rude comment.

    I really enjoy your posts. You guys are awesome! :)

  3. Nat: Yea, we kinda forget that doctors make a lot of money here. :-) Someone somewhere is paying for it.

    Alicia: I so want to laugh at your husbands comment... but I would get in so much trouble! :-) But I'm laughing (hard and loud) on the inside...

  4. I often get the, "They shouldn't charge you anything" line and 'blah blah blah' about how corrupt countries are. They have no idea what they're talking about! It'd be nice if the people who didn't know were the quiet sort.

  5. Isn't that so true though. I know in our case for China, the actual money ending up in China is like 10~15% of the total cost... so where is the other 85~90% of the money going? To the so very "corrupt" Canadian government and such.

    It's just infuriating how people "expect" the "other country" to be the problem, or to be the
    "corrupt one, making adoption to expensive".

    I of course don't expect the Adoption Agencies to work for free, nor the Adoption Practicers - they all have a right to make a living and to earn money. I just want people to be more informed as to where the money goes for adoption and stop blaming the wrong people.

    And even with that, the money spent on our Ontario PRIDE course (which the government makes us attend, and spend 2000$ on), and the home studies (which cost $2500 more), are all in place to help ensure adoptions don't "go wrong" ... so they are all good causes.

    *siiiiigh* Oh well. What are you gonna do right?

  6. Joe and I have fun poking at each other like that. Laugh if you like. Us wives pay everyday too :) hahaha

    I think people say rude comments about the money sometimes because they know it does cost a fair amount, and sometimes people say things out of jealousy. Because all people know that it is illegal to buy children. The same people who would ask about the cost are the same jerks that ask how much you make or what your mortgage payment is. Just rude people.

    I care about what people say and think, especially if they say it in front of ANY of my children. No child would like to wonder or hear if they were "bought". I think how lucky our family is to be given the opportunity to be able to adopt from China. How lucky are we to be allowed to do that. I would gladly pay for a lawyer, gladly pay for travel, paperwork, adoption services. I would lay down my life for my kids. So to have to legal and admin fees (all in Canada, to Canadians) to be able to be the very lucky parents of William.....priceless. China gets almost nothing. A donation. If it wasn't for us donating money to help the orphanage run, how would anyone we able to even care for these children?? Children are innocent. How much does it cost, in Canada to raise 1 child for 1 year??

    Anyway, that is my rant. I think all the way around, this is a good thing. For families. Whether they come from the womb or the heart, there is always a cost associated. I don't feel like I bought my 2 from the womb. I paid for them to come. I pay tax $$ to pay for my hospital bill. I lose a lot of pay. Everytime I pay 15% sales tax, I pay. I paid when I did IVF and it didn't result in a baby.That was out of pocket and I still paid sales tax, that didn't go towards it, as well as tax deducted from payroll. I get to travel, see a beautiful country with my family, experience a culture, and meet some really great people along the way, plus we have a new child from this experience. A beautiful, wonderful child. And you can never put a price on that.

  7. Love it!!! Domestic adoption costs about the same but people don't seem say hurtful things to people who adopt domestically.... At least not in my experience with the many parents I know who have adopted domestically which leads me to feel like it's also a bit of a racism issue but maybe that's just ME being ornery now!

    We had friends who had a baby in Canada before they were eligible to be covered by our LOVELY "FREE"
    health care and YES it us THAT expensive!!!!

    Oh and to add to that "free" healthcare ... We pay for it out of our Taxes people.

    Oh dear I better stop now, Adrian as I feel like I'm about to push you off your soap box and steal it!! Great post .... Today I might choose the last option :-) evil grin !!!

  8. I'm still waiting for all the bills from our most recent birth. But the one before that cost us $14,500. Details here, if you want.

  9. We have (so far) not encountered this particular bit of idiocy with the Pipsqueak -- but I honestly hope that I am *NOT* around when(if) that comment is made, because I don't think I'll be entirely successful at staying out of trouble (or the commenter's face). We were talking just this evening and AJ pointed out that the basic adoption costs for the Pipsqueak were about $50K in U.S. Dollars... with a pretty big chunk of additional money for "assorted" fees, charges, and costs.

    Funny thing is, I know families with bio kids whose complicated births and/or IVF procedures and other assorted medical miracles came out with similar (or larger) numbers... But noooo, no one "bought" those kids... they're the bio kids, so it's just fees and bills and charges.

    I swear, I can't possibly be from this planet... that mothership's waaay overdue, yaknowwutimean?

    Bravo, Adrian... I think I'll be addressing this issue soon in my blog as well (and promise to give credit where credit's due).

  10. Lukas was born in Washington State, and out of pocket we probably paid about $5k. But that was with *great* insurance. The bills that came in were crazy! The anesthesiologist's bill is the one I remember: originally $4300, insurance negotiated final bill $1700, our responsibility $170. Can you imagine for people with no insurance? I'm just so thankful the clomid finally worked, because when I looked into the next stage of fertility treatments the cost was shocking, and not covered by insurance!

    I think no matter how you add to your family there are expenses. So sad that people don't realize that their ignorance can be so hurtful. Love you guys!


  11. BRAVO! for tackling this tough topic and doing it so well. I may re-post if you don't mind. Thank you!

  12. McKays: :-) There is plenty of room on my soap box for more to join.

    SomeGuy: Thanks for your cost break down and making it available for others to see.

    Jiu Jiu: Well, I can't take the credit for getting this topic started. There was a poster Kim on our Zhongshan group who was looking for advice on how to handle rude comments. And do keep me posted for when the mother ship is to come... I'm getting tired of this, "earth". :-)

    Tracy: Crazy eh?! I recent met a family who went through IVF to have their second child, and the stories she told me about the stupid things people say... it is crazy how much hurt people can cause without thinking. Love the last picture of Lukas BTW. I'll scour my archives to see if I have any to pass back your way. :-)

    DebM: As always, feel free to re-post the stuff you find here - please just include a link back so people can find us again if they are interested. :-)