I Still do the Math

Adoption can be expensive. Adoption costs are driven (primarily) by the adoption industry. The adoption industry is, indeed, a big business. I find it concerning that the relinquishment and placement of children is a business at all. But it is, and that’s the reality from which I write.

My (adoptive) parents paid approximately 10% of their 1975 income to adopt me. I didn’t know that until several years ago. I would have been okay never finding out.

I’ve done the math over and over in my head. Trying to determine if my brother (who is my parents’ natural/biological child) has a ledger that started around the same number.

I know it doesn’t matter to my parents. But I still do the math.

Wondering if 1967/1968 pregnancy costs would have totaled around 10% of their income at that point. Hoping that, if not, my brother racked up more expenses during the course of his 17 years in their household than I did in the same number of years.

I know it doesn’t matter to my parents. But I still do the math.

Thinking that it might be appropriate to offer that money back to them now that I’m in reunion with my natural parents because…well, because my adoptive parents were guaranteed a life with me that didn’t include them.

I know it doesn’t matter to my parents. But I still do the math.

I share this because I have recently seen several sets of soon-to-be adoptive parents write about the costs associated with their adoption process. I don’t know these prospective adoptive parents, but I assume they are going to be wonderful parents to their children. I anticipate they will love their children with all of their being.

But I hope their children never find the blog posts they’ve written, because I think it will make them do the math.

I think they will research what a brand new car cost in 2016 because the costs associated with their adoption were compared to that cost in a fundraising appeal.

I think they will read the exhaustive list of adoption-related expenses and add them all up.

I think they will explore the tax incentives referenced to see how much they can take off the associated expenses, hoping it will balance out to zero.

I think they will know it doesn’t matter to their parents. But I think they will still do the math.

While some may conclude that their parents must have loved them a ton to pay that price, and walk away from the calculator content. Others may conclude that they owe their parents something they can never repay in cash, and may look for other ways to repay that debt (e.g. always trying to be perfect, never talking about the pain they feel about their adoption, ignoring their strong desire to find their birth parents, etc.).

Adoption can be expensive. Adoption costs are driven (primarily) by the adoption industry. I just wish we could hide all of that from adoptees. Because they shouldn’t have to do the math.

2 thoughts on “I Still do the Math”

  1. This really caught me off guard. I have never wanted biological children, and have had abortions to avoid pregnancy and birth, though I’ve always wanted to raise children. We adopted two children from foster care so both adoptions were free but this post still makes me wonder what they might wonder about. They are toddlers now but there will come a time … thank you for mentioning something I probably wouldn’t have thought about.

  2. Funny you should talk about Math when I met my natural mother she passed me a dollar note over the coffee table and told me that is what was asked of her at the hospital for administration to give me away. So she gave it back to me, I have never got over the feeling of being worth a dollar and how she must have felt the humiliation and the rage of that horrid transaction still to this day makes me sick to my stomach and the feeling I carry of being only worth $1.00 is disgusting. I am now writing my book the one dollar baby. Thanks for chatting about this as it does make you feel like you were traded.

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