Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Some people have asked, "How much does it cost to adopt?" and others want to know but won't ask! I know, when we were first embarking on our journey, I would scour other's blogs for information about the costs of this process looking for any sign that there were hidden cost that I needed to prepare for. We were told to estimate $20,000-$24,000 by our agency and honestly, that is what it is coming down to. Here is a break down of what we have paid and what we have yet to cover.

  • $3300 paid to Children's Hope International Adoption Agency for application and dossier fees. Our dossier fee includes the cost of counseling, review, translation and delivery of our dossier to China.

  • $ 685 paid to US Citizens & Immigration Services to process our application for advance processing of an orphan petition. This includes FBI fingerprinting.

  • $2000 paid to Child of the Heart, a local agency that did our home study in place of our agency which is not licensed to do home studies in SC. This includes the 3 post-placement visits required by the CCAA.

  • $30 paid to Adoption Learning Partners for required adoption education.

  • $393 paid for various documents. These fees covered the costs of acquiring required documents for our dossier and having them certified by the states they came from as well as authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in DC. It also includes my passport fees and our local background checks as well as all the Fed-Ex fees for transporting all the documents here and there. All of this was required for our dossier to be complete.

  • $165 paid to Dependable Adoption Courier Service for taking all our documents to the US State Department for an additional certification required for documents coming from certain states, like SC, and for taking our documents to the Chinese Embassy and for getting our Visas for us.

  • $510 paid to the CCAA to process our dossier.

  • $466 paid to Child of the Heart to update our home study after our documents began to expire from the long wait! This includes a fee for a background check needed in SC.

  • $2400 paid to Children's Hope once we found Claire. This is the International Program fee paid to Children's Hope's office in Beijing and covers liaison with government and agency authorities, social services, development fee, facilitation and adoption travel coordination. This fee is discounted $1000 because we chose a waiting child and otherwise would have been $3400.

  • $25 paid to CHI to ship a care package to Claire.

  • $268 paid for vaccinations (we aren't done yet).

  • $260 paid to the Chinese Embassy for our visas

  • $ 30 paid to Walgreen's for extra passport sized pictures that are required for the process in China

If I did my math right, that comes to a total of $10,532 that has been paid over the last two years since we started this process.

Yet to be paid:

  • $4400 paid for international flights to and from China. This is approximate, based on flights I looked up recently. Our tickets are round trip but we must also purchase a one way child's ticket for Claire (because she is over 2 she does not qualify for the $100 "lap ticket") which we have been told is about 75% of the cost of our tickets.

  • $3000-3700 paid for travel inside China. This is $500-$700 higher for us because Claire is over 2 years old. It includes hotels w/breakfasts, flights in China, ground transportation, sightseeing, coordinator expenses, service fees and tips for local guides and drivers.

  • $2000 paid in China for various notary and legal fees. This is approximate and the actual fees add up to $1700 but you are STONGLY ADVISED to bring $2000 with you (break down: $200 for registration, $550 for notaries, $200 for passport fees for Claire, $65 for her medical exam, $15 for Civil Affairs fees, $380 for US Consulate fees, $300 for Service fees specific to her orphanage)

  • $3000 paid to Tianjin Children's Welfare Institute, her orphanage. This is a required "donation" that is supposed to compensate them for the care they gave her. Lets be honest, we all know it costs more than $3000 to take care of a child for 2 1/2 years! Provinces are in discussions now about raising that fee to $5000, but as of now, her SWI has not.

  • $1000-$1500 for food and incidentals. This is approximate but is what is recommended that we carry with us.

  • $100 for gifts brought to China. It is customary (required) that you give gifts to important people while you are in China. This includes the orphanage director, the notary, the registrar, the aunties and the child's foster mother. These gifts should be simple tokens of appreciation from America and preferably things not readily available in China. The nannies like to get deodorant, room freshing packets, pretty post cards, make-up kits, and Jelly Bellies! These are all things they can not get over there.

According to my calculations we still have $13,500-$14,700 to go! This may seem like a lot of money, and it is. But what is that in relation to the life of a child. Claire Hope Kangtong, like all of our children, is PRICELESS.

Did you know that if just 7% of all Christians adopted one orphan, there would not be any orphans!

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