Why Can’t We Talk About The Money? – Adoption Edition

A few days ago, I was in the car with my older girls. I was driving and trying to make conversation. If you have a teen at home, you know these opportunities to talk are precious. Conversation veered to how old they would be twenty years from now and what life would be like then. I quipped “I might be a grandmother. Wow!”

The kids ran with it and two minutes later, I was the hypothetical adoptive grandmother of twins. What was light hearted banter suddenly turned serious when one of my daughters asked me pointedly how much it cost me to adopt them. I tried to make sense of how the question was worded and what my response should be. I have been very open with my children and we have talked about the process and what it was like from the moment we heard about them. This was the first time money entered the conversation.

After a significant pause, I qualified my answer with “remember that the money we are talking about here is a fee that people wanting to adopt pay the agency…” Both girls digested the answer and remarked that it was a lot. Before they could ask more and I could elaborate, we were at our destination and I drove back home.

Honesty is hard. Shying away from these questions is harder.

I think about how in most conversations surrounding adoption, we never talk about the money in dollars and cents. We round off. We evade. We deflect.

Money is at the core of all that is wrong with the way adoption works in this country. My experience with the agency we worked with left a bitter taste in my mouth when the dust settled. They held our paperwork ransom and extorted additional money as we dealt with overwhelming emotions on the day we were to meet our children. Before we met our children, we lost many thousands of dollars to scams because of the desperation that is inherent in the dynamic of the adoption process.

In the decade I have had to process everything, it mostly comes back to this. If I had a chance to go back and start over, I might never choose to parent. Having done the work in understanding what is ethical in adoption, there is no easy way to adopt while being ethical and ensuring that adoption is the absolute last resort in the situation. The issues are systemic. They run deep. They are still being perpetuated. Collectively, the government, the brokers, the prospective adoptive parents, the expectant parents all choose to bury our heads in the metaphorical sand claiming we cannot see anything.

There is no point to the post other than to acknowledge the sadness I feel and regrets I have to the universe.

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Laksh View All →

Author. Parent.

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