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A Handle on your Health: The benefits of adoption

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

You have to ask yourself where are our priorities in this country when adoption is as expensive as it is. Remember when international calls were outrageously expensive? Now with technology you can make a video call to the other side of the world for free. Why isn’t there a Match.com for adoptions that brings people together for little to no money? There are so many parents out there struggling to conceive on their own who desire to adopt a beautiful baby or child. There is solid research into the outcomes of adopted children that indicate they not only do well but thrive compared to the general population.  

There are several types of adoption: Open adoption, closed-adoption, state adoption of foster children, agency adoptions, private adoptions and international adoptions. All of these have their pros and cons. If you adopt out of the foster system then the state offers you incentives that make it the cheapest option for adoption.  

International adoption is the most expensive for obvious reasons as it involves lots of travel abroad and legal fees between countries. There are international treaties that provide some safeguards for international adoption but, still, it can be tricky.  

Adoption agencies are going to charge you between $30,000 and possibly $100,000.  I have to ask why? Why does it need to be that expensive? If you do a private adoption you will need a lawyer to represent you and a lawyer to represent the pregnant mother and baby which will cost around $3,000-$10,000. You will also need a home study which will be around $1,000 and there are some court fees which might add up to a few hundred more dollars. You may also pay the pregnant mother a little money for healthcare costs and expenses — each state has their own rules about this. You cannot “buy a baby.”  For the most part you can privately adopt a baby for less than $10,000. 

As you can probably imagine the health benefits for the adopted parents is the unbelievably great joy that has just come into their life when they provide a loving home to a child in need. Typically adopted parents are a two-parent household with above average income. This is important because the studies are clear on this issue, children do better in a two-parent household — though marriage isn’t the reason why. Adoptive parents are less likely to divorce. They are also less likely to struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. 

While having children can be stressful, for most adoptive parents, especially the ones struggling to conceive on their own, adopting a baby fills a void in their life.  They felt incomplete and the ability to connect with their new child in a loving home they provide gives them a sense of completeness. These parents craved adopting their child and typically provide safe, nurturing environments.

There are benefits for the birth mother as well. Mothers who place their child up for adoption typically go on to graduate from school. They are less likely to fall into poverty. They are more likely to go on to get married and more likely to retain gainful employment than their single mother counterparts.  

Now for the adopted children. What can they expect to gain from being adopted?  First is a set of loving committed parents. As opposed to old and out-dated views of adopted children these kids are usually as well adjusted as their traditional peers.  The new “Chosen Child” mentality instills in these children the view that they are so loved that they were “chosen” as opposed to children of traditional parents. Studies show that adopted children are usually more involved in extracurricular activities in school. They graduate at higher rates and go on to college at higher rates. Adopted children only repeat a grade 7 percent of the time versus 12 percent for children living with both biological parents. Their health is superior to the single parent children but is on par with traditional children. Adolescents from adopted families score better than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence, feelings of security and having positive views of others. They are also more likely to be involved in volunteerism. Compared to children of single-parent families, they are less likely to be involved with drugs, alcohol, fighting or criminal activity. Adopted children also typically grow up to be better off economically.  

In full disclosure, I am the father of two adopted babies. My wife and I have struggled for years with difficulties conceiving a baby of our own and we were fortunate enough to have two babies come into our lives over the last couple of years.

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Dr. John Turner is a family medicine and emergency medicine doctor with 25 years of experience. He is also the owner of My Primary Care Clinic and My Emergency Room 24/7 here in Hays County. Dr. Turner may be reached at 512-667-6087.

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