Monday, August 20, 2012

Sad Reality

During this adoption wait, I've spent my fair share of time on the adoption boards trying to glean any tidbit of information about how long it is taking between LID and LOA or whether TA's are following fast after the NVC is cabled and you get your Article 5.

Now that we are nearing the end of our process, I finally understand most of what is being said.  One recurring theme in the adoption community is the cost of adoption.  There are fees for all sorts of things:  fingerprinting, immigration, passports, background checks, homestudies, post-placement reports for 5 years, agency fees, translation fees, orphanage fees, document authentication fees, travel costs.  The list could continue, but I think I've made my point.

Lifeline currently places the estimate for the total cost of adopting a child from China at $30,000.  Of course, if you have children over 18 at home, there are extra costs for their background checks, fingerprinting, and other details.  If you have lived in lots of places, there are also all those additional fees to every state you have ever lived in to run background checks.  It gets complicated and expensive.

And, I suppose, I have whined about the costs almost as much as other folks on the adoption boards.  Coming up with all that money can be a big worry when you are trying to navigate adoption processes.  

But my perspective has changed a little since reading an article in the August 11, 2012 edition of World Magazine.  The article, entitled An underground railroad caught my eye because of the Chinese flag pictured on the page.  The article explained that more than 30 years of China's one-child policy has lead to the formation of something similar to the Underground Railroad to aid women who are trying to outrun one-child policy enforcers.

Here are a few heartbreaking facts from the article:

       China's one-child policy, "at first meant to last 20 – 30 years in order to curb China's population growth, has entered its fourth decade—having 'prevented,' according to the communist government's own statistics, the birth of over 400 million babies."

      "Many of the millions result from forced abortions, forced sterilizations, and infanticide."

        "Nearly one-third of Chinese women in their 20s have already had an abortion, and likely they will have more than one."

       "Feng Jinmei … forced to abort a baby she'd carried for seven months because her family was unable to pay the …$6, 300 fine the government imposed on her for an additional child."

     "Cao Ruyi…escaped officers who tried to force her to abort her baby and now faces a $25,000 fine—called 'a social compensation fee'"

    "In Shanghai a pastor and his wife face this month an outrageous fine—$30,000—to keep their second baby."

(You can read this article at to learn more about organizations working to help in this new version of the Underground Railroad.)

The average annual income in China is around 89,040 CNY (14,000 USD), according to 2011/2012 salary survey (

Think about that.  These aren't wealthy people.   Yet, they are being forced to pay large amounts of money to keep their own children.  And not just keep them, but to keep them alive.  Without being able to find this money, these families will be forced to have their children killed. 

It is a horrible reality.

It changes the way I look at the costs of adoption.  So what if our cars have more than 150,000 miles on them.  So what if my furniture is worn, or I don't have curtains.  Who cares if we have rice and beans for supper one more night this week.  These silly things don't even count as a sacrifice once I get my nose past the abundance that surrounds me every day of my life and look at the reality that is real in so much of the world.

$30,000 still seems like a lot of money to me.  But it seems like nothing when it is compared to the measureless value of the life of a child.  Nothing I could ever buy with that money will last.  But the soul of a child is eternal.

I am so thankful that God has protected Claire from a forced abortion. I'm so grateful to her birth mother for having the courage to leave her baby in a place where she knew care would be available.  God has protected and blessed this little girl in ways I will never know.  And now God is giving me the precious gift of getting to be Claire's mama.  I may have fewer coins in my purse, but the real treasure can't even be measured.
One of our treasures!

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…"  Matthew 6:20

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