“How much did she cost?” the cashier at the grocery store asked, pointing to my daughter.
I nervously shifted Evie, on my hip and swiped my credit card. My husband and I had just gotten home from Beijing, China, with our new daughter and I wasn’t prepared for prying questions from strangers.
“How much did you pay for your car?” I shot back.
She wrinkled her forehead, frowned, and was obviously offended by my question.
“I’d just heard that it was $100,000 to adopt from a China,” she hissed.
“It’s not $100,000,” I sighed. “She didn’t cost a penny. We did, however, pay a social worker and an agency to help facilitate the adoption.”
As I headed back to my car, I had a sinking feeling that more people would ask the same question. I was right. The first week Evie was home, my dentist, a neighbor, and a stranger at the park all wanted to know: How much?
It is true, adoption isn’t cheap. There are a lot of fees that add up quickly. We paid for a home study, visas, passports, immigration papers, plane tickets, and hotels. Quite honestly, it is a financial sacrifice. But so are other things that people don’t question, like sending your child to college. People find a way to do it. Much like financing a college education, there are grants, loans, and federal tax credits available to adoptive parents.
I wonder, though, what’s the cost of not adopting? It was never God’s intention for children to grow up in an orphanage without the love of a mother or father. Clearly God weeps for those who suffer, especially the fatherless. In fact, in Matthew 19:14, Jesus berates his disciples for turning children away from him. Jesus invites the children to stay and declares that the kingdom of Heaven belongs not to the grown-ups but to the kids. It is one of the many beautiful pictures in the Bible that illustrates God as our Abba or Father.
It is also a call to action. Just as Jesus welcomed the children, he asks us to reach out to the neediest to the least of these.
Imagine what would happen if every Christian world-wide cared for orphans? I know not every Christian is called to parent an orphaned child. But I do believe that Christ calls every Christian to care for and support the fatherless. That could be praying for an adoptive family, supporting an adoption cause, or sponsoring a waiting child.
Financing an adoption isn’t the price tag that should shock people. It’s the cost of standing by and doing nothing that should leave Christ-followers speechless.
(Amy has written children’s books, a teen magazine column, interviews, and adoption applications. She is the proud mother to two boys who are 7 and 4. Her latest adventure led her to Beijing, China, with her husband Jonathan where they met their newest addition to the family, a two year old little girl. You can read about her life, faith, and the ups, downs, and joys of motherhood at www.1001tears.blogspot.com.)