McKenzie S. North Dakota

The Price for Love

A closer look at the Adoption process within the United States.

Dear Future President

A few years ago, my third Cousin and her Husband started talking about how they couldn’t have kids, and if the two of them should do anything about it. My cousin’s husband, because of a previous relationship, had two kids which he partially raised along with his former wife. Already having two grown sons, he did not find it a major issue if the two of them couldn’t have a child, my cousin however was almost heartbroken at the thought of not being able to care for and raise a baby of her own. They took some time to think the situation over and ponder the wishes of one another, then both decided would gladly be willing to adopt one, little did they know however, the struggles to go through in order to make that a reality.

Searching for a few months and finding a satisfactory adoption company, they waited earnestly until they were cleared by a home inspection process, which was hard at the time because they weren’t living on their own property, but with the husband's mother on her’s in order to take care of and watch over her. After they passed the major inspections and filed most of all the needed paperwork, they had to wait until the agency could find a child for them. They waited for about a year and a half to two years before they were contacted by the adoption workers about a potential child, an unborn baby boy from a couple out of state. They were lined up to be the adopters up until the baby was born, when the parents decided they wanted to keep him. My cousin and her husband then had to wait for about another half year before they had another potential baby to adopt, this time a little baby girl from a couple in state. So they waited until the little girl was born, and when she was, they were able to take her home, but they weren't considered the actual guardians of her until a few months later, in which time in-between she could have been taken away due to the fact that my cousin and her husband cleared out literally the whole of their life savings in order to find and attempt to adopt her, and had nothing to financially fall back on should things take a turn for the worst. After everything was finally finished, they ended up paying a total of a little over thirty-eight thousand dollars for her, and now a year later, after getting an apartment, my cousin taking on more work hours, and her husband switching to a harder job in order to make more money, they are struggling to find a babysitter as they don't have any savings to help pay for one, all of their money is going to health care, rent pay, and other necessities. My cousin might have to quit her job in order to watch the little one, which will end up putting them in an even worse financial position then they are currently. They wouldn't be in this position if adopting was made less expensive and more efficient.

The Process and cost of adopting needs to be changed, so that orphaned children may find homes faster, and so that more couples would be willing to adopt them. If things are not changed, many children will continue to end up growing and transitioning into their adult lives without any family to care for and support them. Certain states have laws saying that for people to be eligible to adopt, that they must be a resident of that particular state, specifically the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Montana, Texas, and Wisconsin. Not only does this highly limit the amount of families that are able to and willing to adopt, but it also robs the child of the the potential chance of finding a family that is well suited for them, while Iowa has a law that states a child must reside with the potential adopters for a minimum of one-hundred eighty days, in which time the birth parents of a baby can decide they actually want to keep the child, the baby then could be taken away from the families that had raised them all that time, which can result in the triggering of separation anxiety in the child. On top of restricting laws such as these, the actual process of adopting a child can add up to be very costly, sometimes up to over forty-thousand dollars. Adopting parents have to pay for home study and inspection fees, which at a public agency can cost a minimum of five-hundred dollars, and a private agency may charge one-thousand to two-thousand dollars. When adopters have to finalize their adoption in court, the document preparation fees can cost up to over two-thousand five-hundred dollars, not including attorney fees. The actual adoption itself in the public agencies can cost from zero to two-thousand five-hundred dollars, and in the private agencies can cost from five-thousand up to forty-thousand dollars; independent adoptions by an attorney approximately costs from eight-thousand to forty-thousand dollars, with an average ranging from ten-thousand to fifteen-thousand dollars.

Children all across the United States are growing up without any family to love, cherish, guide, and care for them. Couples are ending up living their lives without the much wanted privilege of being parents, without getting to see kids of their own grow up and make good lives for themselves. Both sides are losing the chance to experience the amazing and beautiful loving relationships that bond a family together, and many of those who eventually do get the experience have to pay for it with a high price, will you do anything to improve the lives of the unfortunate, unloved, uncherished children of our country?