This project started with a debate that I facilitated for the Open Adoption Examiner about potential adoptive parents using billboards to connect with expectant parents considering adoption. One of the viewpoints came from first mother Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy, who wrote:
I have too many adult adoptee friends that scoff and joke at their adoption paperwork where they see how much their folks “paid” and speak about what they “cost”. But beneath the joking, there is pain that they were looked at as a product and used in transactions.
Her comment led Baby Smiling In Back Seat to ask me some follow-up questions about the “cost” of different methods of family building. Our discussion grew into an idea to invite other bloggers to join the conversation. What does it mean that money has to change hands in order to bring a child into your family? What role can finances play in determining which path people take and how far that path goes?
Baby Smiling and I have put together a panel of adoption and infertility bloggers with a wide range of experiences. There are participants who have followed strict budgets, those who have spared no expense (and gone broke in the process), and those whose lack of funds have prevented them from pursuing their goals. There are adoptive parents who have used international, domestic, and foster routes. From the infertility side, there are participants whose treatments have been covered in part or in whole by insurance or their government, and many who have had no coverage whatsoever. There are also infertility bloggers who can speak to pursuing treatments internationally, shared risk plans, donor gametes, donor embryos, and surrogacy. In short, we have tried to include the full gamut of experiences regarding “cost.”
We have asked each participant to give some background on their own family building history and then to answer any number of the following questions (we don’t expect you to answer all questions — just the ones that grab you).
- Consider your now or future children as adults, and consider the fact that you had to spend money to either conceive them or make them part of your family. What effect do you think the latter will have on the former one day? What, do you think, your grown children might feel about the funds it took to create your family?
- How did/would you handle it if your child asks you, “Mom, how much did I cost?” How would you answer at age 7? At age 18?
- When calculating the costs of your family building, what do you include? The direct costs are easy (such as RE fees for a cycle or homestudy fees), but what about fees that didn’t directly lead to your child’s existence in your life, such as cycles that didn’t work, adoption outreach avenues that didn’t work, failed adoptions, avenues that were explored (and that cost something) but not pursued, etc.?
- If two children in a family “cost” different amounts, should that have any significance?
- To what extent have finances determined the family-building decisions you have made? How have you able to balance financial considerations against other factors such as medical, ethical, emotional…?
- Has institutional and governmental support for certain family-building paths impacted your choices? For example, ART being covered by insurance, tax deductions for adoption expenses, etc.
- Have you considered having ART treatments abroad, either due to lower cost or due to certain methods being unavailable or illegal in your own country? In your decision-making, how did you balance the financial savings against issues like the unknowns of the country, perhaps not speaking the language, and medical practices that may differ from those of your home country? If you did travel abroad for treatments, what was your experience? Would you do it again?
The discussion is now open to all of you. Please take the opportunity to write your own blog post addressing these issues and add your link below by June 21 [extended]. We ask that you direct people back here to find other links with this sentence:
Visit Write Mind Open Heart for more perspectives on the Dollars and $ense of Family Building and to add your own link to the blog hop by June 21 [extended], should you want to contribute your thoughts.
Family-building may not be free, but blog hopping is, so enjoy!