The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

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The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 13:22

Hallo everyone,

Well, John and I did the final reconciliation of our adoption costs and I am shocked to say the least!

Here's a broad overview of the cost of Sam's adoption:

  • Social worker & court fees R25,000.00
    Birthmother misc. (gifts, vitamins, hospital pack etc) R 5,000.00
    Birthparents airtime R 1,700.00
    Birthparents monthly payment for rent & food R15,000.00
    Birthmom doctor's visits, blood tests & meds R 4,500.00
    Hospital fees C-section + private room R20,000.00
    Delivery: Doctor's fee R 6,000.00
    Anesthetist R 3,000.00
    Pediatrician R 1,500.00
    Total cost for Adoption: R 81,700.00

I think it's IMPERATIVE that prospective adoptive parents, especially with private adoptions, know what they are in for financially.

Of course our little boy's presence in our lives can never be 'paid for' but the fact of the matter is that private adoption is NOT a cheap option.

I'm not complaining, just sharing facts!


Last edited by Hannah's Hope on Thu 24 Jun 2010 - 14:16; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : wrong choice of words)
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by TarrynT on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 13:32

Wow that is really scary hey. Cannot believe it. Does your MA not cover any costs?
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 13:49

Nope, unfortunately not! Sam is on our medical aid as soon as the 60 days are up, which is middle January next year. Until then it's pay up and smile!
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Adele on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 13:52

MA's doesnt do anything! Nothing
Sjoe Hannah it is rather expensive.
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Nix1407 on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 13:55

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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by DJMommy on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 14:24

Wow Hannah! Scary!

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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Ilze on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 15:50

Censored I think this is very unfair to expect from the adoptive parents to pay things like airtime and food and rent. I know its the adoptive parents right to say if they are willing to pay that but it was made clear to us, the more we are willing to pay the sooner we will be chosen.

So thats why we didn't go the private route.

and then they say you don't buy a child. Sorry I know some might not agree with me, but my eyes opened during our process.
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Pandora on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 18:12

Hi Hannah,

Why do you specifically say this is for a caucasian baby? Just curious. You may remember we adopted our daughter after 60 days were up, so we were not liable for birth costs etc, just social worker fees and her care for the 60 days. But as you say, the costs add up quickly, and people do need to be warned. I am also surprised, Ilze, that you were told that! Don't blame you for not going down that route. We were never told this by our social worker, luckily. Unfortunately, there are some people out there very willing to take advantage of the situation. In any case, I thought it was not legal to pay the birthmother? Or is this just something they say?

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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Ilze on Wed 9 Dec 2009 - 18:33

Pandora, it was almost said in so much words to us, if you have money and is willing to pay then it is ovious your'e the one getting the next baby.

Unfortanatly we didn't have a great experions with our SW, so it scared us big time.
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 10:25

Hi Ladies!

I want to emphatically state that our social worker is 100 % above board. She is the most ethical, professional and honest SW we have ever dealt with (believe you me, we have dealt with a few of them) and I will recommend her in a heartbeat. It was also never said to us that we would get the baby if we had the money! She told us right from the start that she doesn’t source babies for parents, she finds parents for babies and as such she will match a baby with parents that are suitable for the baby, not the other way around.

The bottom line is: Private adoptions are expensive! And they are even more expensive if you deal with the birthparents for a prolonged length of time, like we had to. We were responsible for all their legitimate expenses for a period of five months. Every single expense paid by us was legitimate and above board. The Children’s Act definitely makes provision for the payment of certain expenses of the birthparents. It was our choice for the birthmom to have the baby in a private hospital. The provincial hospital in her area is absolutely atrocious and I don’t care if we have to pay off our debt for the rest of our lives, but our baby was NOT going to be born in that dump!!!

We had to keep track of every single expense and I still have every receipt for all the things we paid for the birthparents. I also had to keep a spreadsheet detailing every expense and I had to send this through to the social worker on a weekly basis. We did the last reconciliation together with our SW last Friday.

Our adoption was done ethically, legally and morally correct and every single expense was checked, double-checked and approved by the commissioner of child welfare as well as the magistrate of the family court. We wouldn’t dream to pay for something that we were not allowed to pay for. That would jeopardize the adoption and that would be stupid.

Pandora, the unfortunate reality is that White and Indian babies are very, very scarce and every single government institution will tell you that a) they don’t have any White babies available whatsoever or b) their waiting lists for White babies are closed. Heck, there are even some private agencies that will tell you that!! Believe me; I have spoken to them all! With state adoptions (read, the adoption of Black and Mixed Race babies) there are seldom costs involved with regards to the birthparents. Also, a lot of agencies only place a child for adoption after the 60 day waiting period which again means that there are no expenses for the birthparents that need to be paid by the adoptive parents.

I never wanted to sound negative about adoption, because I certainly am not. Our son is the best thing that has EVER happened to us and he has changed our lives for the good. If I have to, I will do it all over again!! I just feel that it is only fare to prospective adoptive parents to be informed about the possible costs they may incur. Our social worker did tell us to keep the financial sacrifices in mind; we just never thought that it would turn out to be this expensive. I wrote this thread to open prospective adoptive parents’ eyes to the costs they may incur. I wish somebody did this for me, even if it was only to soften the blow once it came!

I want to reiterate that our private social worker has been extremely professional and honest from the get go. She never made promises she couldn’t keep and she was brutally honest about the journey we were about to embark on. She had and still has loads of compassion for the birthmom - she phones her once a week, sometimes twice. She keeps in touch with us and she is doing a home visit again in January to make sure that we are coping with our little bundle of joy and that everything is still in order. She is extremely dedicated and John and I sat down and worked out that she earned a little over R36 per hour for our adoption in total. That is NOTHING if you think about all the work she has done - especially if you take the travelling time into regard. Social work, even for private social workers, is definitely not a money making business!!

If you take the fact that they had to place their baby for adoption and all the medical costs involved out of the equation, the people that benefited the most from this adoption moneywise are the birthparents. And let’s be realistic, how much is R20 000 really if you have to live off of it for 5 months??!!! That’s R4 000 per month for them to be able to make a living. We certainly wouldn’t make it with that little money!

I know we are not supposed to ‘support’ them but the sad reality is that these people are in dire financial difficulty and that except for the little money the birthmom earned waitressing, ours were the only money they had (the birthfather is unemployed). I wanted my baby to have the best nutrition, so I had to make sure his mom ate well. I wanted him to be safe, so I had to contribute to her rent. I wanted to make sure the birthmom could phone the social worker for support or the doctor for medical advice at any time, so I bought her airtime.

It can hardly be equated to ‘buying a baby’. Friends of ours in the United States adopted a little girl about 2 years ago. Their situation could definitely be considered as buying a baby - in total they spend over R250 000 on the adoption! Now that’s a lot of money!!

Our whole adoption journey was a wonderful experience and I realize that we are blessed beyond words for everything to have gone so well. As I’ve said, I only wanted to create awareness of what private adoptions may cost.

Hope everything’s a bit clearer now!

Love,
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Ilze on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 10:53

Hannah, please don't understand me wrong, I knew it was your choise to support the birthparents and I do believe you when you say your SW did everything by the book.

Unfortanatly there is alot of sw's that don't work according to the book, things where said to us and later when we asked about it she would just said she never said that or we misunderstood. Her intentions was not clear from the beginning.

We where more than willing to pay the medical expenses but it was also said to us that we have to support the birthmom for the whole time she was at the "tehuis", they set an amount that must be paid to her and then also an amount that go for the house itself and then after the adoption was finalised they also asked for a donation and if your not willing to pay then sorry you don't get a baby. It is everyone choice to pay what they want, but we didn't have that kind of money and even if we had we would rather did a IVF or two.

I asked our sw directly would the church we attend be a problem as the company was establish through a sertain church, which she asure me as long as we are christens and attend church regularly there would not be a problem. In the end that was a problem for her. Also she told us we where to much overweight although we are healthy and we might have a problem in 10 years time. But in the mean time they place a baby to another couple who is also in our church but when they adopt there first child they where in the other church that they worked with and the woman is bigger than me and her husband was over the cutting age.

So yah, I'm glad everything worked out for you, but all these things still let me feel some people is in it to 'sell" babies. Now I know she is not private so she get a monthly salary from her company but she is definatly not honest with us.
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 11:57

It's absolutely awful - I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience Ilze! big hug
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Kim on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 12:07

Oh my that is alot of money, but so worth it ...
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Guest on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 12:10

That is unbelievably expensive and breaks my heart.

Thing is, I was at one point in my pregnancy where I seriously thought about giving Z up (I had a specific OPM member in mind I wanted to contact about this) but luckily my parents stepped in an helped me out. I think white and indian babies are less available because its no longer really a shame to have a baby out of wedlock (although I deal with the stigma enough in every day life)?

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Medical Aid

Post by Guest on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 15:04

Hi there

While we were in the 60 days our son was placed on our medical aid. ( Discovery ) I did hear someone else was declined but then after enquiring further was accepted. Don't let your medical aid get away with this. Your child is your dependent so should legally be allowed on your medical aid. We had to go through a lot to get the same baby benefits as babies born to parents, but eventually after a lot of mails and communication and explaining to them that often adoptions take place after 60 days, that it was not a fair requirement.

Thanks for sharing your costs. It is a lot. But compared to going for an overseas (say Russia) adoption for a caucasian baby its not that bad. We decided we'd love to have a mixed race baby and he is now the joy of our lives.

Congratulations again on your son.

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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 15:22

Hi Vanessa, thanks for sharing!

I wrote an email to our medical aid explaining like you said, that more often than not the adoptions go through after 60 days. Hopefully it will help.

Thanks for your advice and congratulations on your baba! May he continue to be a joy and a delight to you guys!!

Warm regards
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Pandora on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 16:50

Hi Hannah,

I should have explained my reason for asking why you specifically mentioned caucasian babies. We adopted a coloured baby through a private social worker, and if we add up the costs, we come to about the same amount as you, minus the birth related costs. Our SW set out the expected costs of a private adoption from the start, and she was not far off. But this was for the cost of adopting any baby through her, which was why I wondered why you were specific. But I did since realise that it is because realistically, private adoption is the only option for people wanting to adopt a white baby. But the cost actually applies to all private adoptions. As for my comment about paying the birth mom, this was more related to Ilze's story. I meant paying her to influence her to choose you. Pregnancy and birthrelated expenses after you have been chosen are a different matter. If we had met the birthmother, we would have done exactly the same as you.
Sadly, though, there are always people that are trying to exploit these situations. As you said, there are much higher costs elsewhere, such as the eastern country adoptions mentioned by Vanessa. I thank God he led us to our SW, who sounds a lot like yours!
But even a debate like this is good, as others can then compare all our stories, and know they do not have to put up with SWs like Ilze met. A lot of us have had very positive experiences, and like you, we would do it again in a flash! And there are many state SW's that are wonderful, and would never consider doing anything illegal, specially if it could jeopardise the adoption process.

Ilze, I am also sorry you were treated in that way. Are you still persuing adoption?

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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Ilze on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 17:14

Pandora, not at the moment. I'm back at a new gynea who start with a lot of new blood tests after the AFwitch2 decided it was so nice she is staying, so after 3 months of bleeding I found a doctor that it seems is willing to help and not just looking at my weight.
So we will see what happen after the tests came back and then will decide from there what we gonna do.
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by michmac on Thu 10 Dec 2009 - 17:39

Pandora you are right, all private adoptions cost the same regardless of colour. As far as i know all private social workers that belong to SAASWIPP have set rates that they charge.

Pandora how old is your little one?
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Fri 11 Dec 2009 - 8:16

Sorry Pandora & Michmac, I meant to say that because there are so many babies of other races that are available for adoption a lot of people go the government route and therefore pay as little as R6K for an adoption - many opt to go that route. You do not have that option if you want to adopt a White or Indian child.

Of course the private social workers charge the same as SAASWIPP has set rates (by the way, SAASWIPP has set rates but the private social worker can charge the base rate plus whatever extra expenses she can warrant). BUT there are SO many variables e.g. the amount of counselling sessions, whether there is travelling involved (our SW had to be flown from Cape Town and back 4 times - she stayed in guesthouses, she stayed 8 days with J's birth and we had to rent a car for her), the amount of counselling that is offered to the birthparent(s), amount of court appearances etc. etc. And the birth costs can be astronomical!

Sometimes you can get away with paying as little as R20K for a private adoption and sometimes it costs as much as R80K like we had to pay. What I'm saying is that there is no 'one size fits all' - private adoptions do not all cost the same. Each and every situation, whether it's a private or state adoption, is unique.

All that I was trying to bring across is that people that go the private route should be informed of all the possible costs beforehand and also that you are probably not going to get a White or Indian baby as fast as a Black or mixed race baby. Come to think of it, people adopting through the state should also be informed precisely what they are going to pay for the adoption.

What happened with friends of my sister is that they thought that a private adoption would cost more or less the same as a government adoption. As the service they received from the government social worker was appalling (I'm not surprised the state SW's case loads are ridiculous), they met with a private SW and they were astonished about the difference in cost.

This debate is exactly why I'm writing a book about the topic. There are so many conflicting messages out there and prospective adoptive parents are thrown into the deep end and expected to be olympic swimmers!!

Please let us know if you're reading this and you had a similar/different experience and whether you had a state or private adoption and what you paid for it if you're willing to disclose that information.

Thanks ladies!!

Love,
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Fri 11 Dec 2009 - 8:24

By the way Michmac, I absolutely LOVE Rebecca's little outfit!!! She looks ADORABLE!!! Flower smile
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by michmac on Fri 11 Dec 2009 - 9:27

Thanks Hannah, how is Sam doing?
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Fri 11 Dec 2009 - 10:00

He's doing great! I'm almost too scared to say it out loud, but he has been sleeping from 10pm to 5.30am for 5 nights in a row now...... Touch wood!!!! He also picked up a lot of weight, he weighs 3.6 kg already!!
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by michmac on Fri 11 Dec 2009 - 10:06

WOW Hannah that is FANTASTIC!!! both the sleeping and the weight he is doing really well. Please tell him to send R a message and tell her to PLEASE SLEEP LOL i have been up alot the last few nights don't know why she's gone back to night bottles but she has. Last night was two full bottles and this from a baby that would hardly drink!! I'm hoping it's some sort of growth spurt and that tonight is better!

Are you on maternity leave?
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Re: The astonishing cost of private adoption (not for the fainthearted!)

Post by Hannah's Hope on Fri 11 Dec 2009 - 10:31

I will make sure Sam and Becca visit in their dreams so that he can give her some tips ;o)

I'm incredibly blessed to be a stay at home mom. Maybe I'll work again after a while, but at the moment I am just enjoying Sam!! We did wait 7 years for him you know wink
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