How much did your adoption cost?
I’ll be honest, we didn’t keep very good track, and I’m not sad about it. My very good friend who adopted at the same time as us, posted a great breakdown on her blog, which you can find here: heartofgraceadoption.com/funds/
All in all I’m sure ours was slightly more expensive than hers, because we had different homestudy agencies, and our second trip was longer. By my guesstimate it was between $40 – $45,ooo CAD.
How did you afford it?
What most people will not tell you when they give the numbers is that for the most part the size of each payment is fairly manageable. One notable exception is an international adoption from the US. They typically require most of the payment all at once. With most other programs you need only have the first fees saved for the homestudy. When we started we had only about $3,000. We were able to make many of the first payments as they came. We took out a line of credit once the bigger payments came up, and at the end when things moved quickly a friend threw a fundraiser for us to cover the rest. I would say now that I have more experience, typically people save about half and fundraise the rest. I will try to post more about fundraising in the future!
I often say that Bulgaria chose us. We love Eastern Europe from our experience travelling, it has a grit and raw beauty that you don’t find in many other places. In 2011 we honeymooned in Croatia so we looked there first, but they didn’t have an international program. We opened up the whole world and one by one the programs fell. We were under 30, married less than 5 years, didn’t want to wait forever because we were unsure on our biological plans, and we thought we weren’t open to special needs (we were uneducated about it, a conversation for another time.) With these restrictions our options were extremely limited. I can’t even remember if there WAS another option. Here in Canada we don’t have as many agencies as the US so we are limited in our country options.
Basically Bulgaria has very few requirements for adoptive families, so its a good choice.
Are you infertile? (Or – “What’s wrong with you that you can’t have kids” As it was lovingly phrased to me once)
As far as we know, we are capable of having biological children. This does not make us heroes. Typically we don’t advertise that we haven’t had fertility struggles because 1.) it could potentially be hurtful for people that have, 2.) adoption is always a personal choice, and 3.) it really doesn’t matter. Adoption as a means to build a family regardless of fertility is not as rare as people think. I would say among adoptive families that I know, at least 50% are not infertile, and of those many chose adoption as first time parents. Sadly I sometimes see misplaced pride amongst our demographic, thinking that it’s better that they are fertile, but I don’t think that’s very fair. Adopting is always a choice, people with fertility struggles are always welcome to do IVF, surrogacy, or choose not to be parents. No adoption is better than another.
We are still undecided on the biological front.
Why not adopt here?
See above: No adoption is better than another. All children deserve loving homes. We chose not to do a private domestic adoption because we just weren’t at a point in our lives where we needed a baby, and the need is great in the world for parents who want older children. (Sadly this is defined as 3+)
Foster care adoption is an unpredictable business that we didn’t feel ready for.
How long did the process take?
It was approx. 18 months from starting our homestudy to home! We did our workshop in June of 2014. We then applied to the agency and began our homestudy at the end of August. Our homestudy was done and government approved in January. We filed the paperwork for Siobhan at the end of January 2015. Bulgaria requested a homestudy addendum which we did and then we received her official referral June 4, 2015. We travelled July 19-25th for meetcha trip and signed the official papers on July 22. Our court date was September 25th but was postponed to October 2. We picked up November 30th, but there was an immigration delay in there. We arrived back in Canada December 14th 2015, just in time for Christmas.