“How much did you have to pay?”
“How much did I cost?” (My daughter’s question addressed to me.)
“How much did you pay for me?” (My son’s question.)
Ouch. This cuts deep, yes?
We have profound emotional ties to our children and the journey that brought us together. It’s painful to be asked what it cost you to adopt your child. Being asked infers that you purchased them, like a loaf of bread. I was asked this question a number of times, in establishments run by newly immigrated Chinese who were unaware that their question was highly inappropriate, when my girls were still babies. (I’ve never returned to these businesses.)
Yes, adoption can be very expensive. So expensive that many people who wish they could adopt can’t. Some adoptive parents are fortunate enough to have some expenses reimbursed by employers, the military, or qualify for adoption tax credit. Some are not. Many adoptive parents have sacrificed to save, borrow, and fund-raise money to cover adoption expenses. And often the sacrifice and accumulation follows uncovered, unsuccessful and deeply heart-wrenching infertility experiences.
In answer to my kids’ questions I have responded honestly: We did not buy any of you. Regardless of whether I carried you inside of me or we adopted you, all four of you had expenses relating to your care, before and after you were born. We had expenses to visit you and to bring you home. We had expenses to legalize our relationships. We also had similar expenses with your brother who was born to us. Many of his expenses, because he was born to us, were covered by insurance. We have ongoing expenses of feeding, clothing, educating, and providing the care you need, for all of you. We willingly do what we can to provide these things for all of you because we love you.
Parents: How do you address the question of adoption expenses with your child? How do you handle the question when you are asked by someone other than your child?