HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — November is National Adoption Month, which brings awareness to adoption challenges and the need for more adoptive families.
There are nearly 6,000 children in foster care in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Human Resources. Sam McLure, president of The Adoption Law Firm in Montgomery, said the need for adoption is great, but the process can look different for each family based on avenue of choice.
He said a word-of-mouth adoption directly through birth parents is generally under $5,000. An embryo adoption, where another family carries the child to term, can cost between $8,000 and $12,000. There is no cost for an adoption through foster care, but a domestic agency adoption costs about $28,000.
He added that an international agency adoption can range roughly between $30,000 and $40,000 depending on the country.
“I think it’s important for families to know that there are entities and organizations out there that want to make sure that the right families, the good families, solid families are not going to have a problem with finances as they pursue adoption,” McLure said. “There are people with more money than capacity to take care of kids. And so, one of the things we try to help our families do is connect with those fundraising opportunities so that finances aren’t an obstacle.”
As an adoptive and foster parent himself, McLure encourages families to keep an open mind with adoption.
Allie Hudson, who lives in Hoover with her husband Blake and 3-year-old daughter Lane, said adoption has always been in the plans for her family, but learning how to navigate the costs has been challenging in their journey.
Hudson said she and her husband, who is currently deployed overseas for several months, could face a total cost of $30,000 or $40,000 with initial fees costing around $5,000.
She also noted the waiting period to match with a birth mother can be lengthy. There is also a risk that the mother could change her mind when the child is born. There is a whole new set of hurdles they expect once their child is home, as the birth family is no longer involved.
“So just holding the adoption process in both hands with the joy that comes with it and the hope that comes with it of giving a child that doesn’t have a family a family, but also recognizing that there is loss there for that child,” Hudson said.
While her husband is deployed, Hudson said they are currently participating in the “Adopt with Fund the Nations” campaign. They hope this will help offset the costs of their adoption. “Adopt with FTN” is a national adoption campaign that fully funds at least one family’s adoption each year.
“We believe that the Lord calls us all as believers to care for children, and one way we can do that is through supporting adoptions,” said Courtney Pinkston, project director for Fund the Nations.
The Hudsons are one of two Birmingham area families in the top 10. The family who raises the most money through t-shirt sales wins.
“These stories are full of hope and paint such a beautiful picture of the different kinds of adoptions and the different ways the Lord brings families together, and we are so excited to share them every year,” Pinkston said.
Hudson said the support they’ve seen through this campaign means the world to them on their journey to welcoming a child who needs a loving home into their family.
“Especially while Blake is gone, seeing that we have people supporting us, especially people who I never ever would have thought would want to,” said Hudson. “Or maybe I haven’t talked to them in years, and they’ll be like ‘Hey, we bought a shirt’ or ‘Hey, can we donate to you guys?’ and it’s just really, really cool to see.”
Hudson said if they are not the top selling family for Fund the Nation’s adoption campaign, any extra money raised through the campaign could be shared with other finalists like their family to assist with costs. She also noted there are still several grants available they plan to apply for to make their adoption possible if needed.
Pinkston said every adoption is different, but on average they see families each year who need between $15,000 and $70,000 to be fully funded.
“The financial burden that is often associated with the process can be a massive hurdle,” Pinkston said. “That’s one of the reasons we started this campaign, and it’s been such a joy to see individuals and communities respond with faith and excitement to help alleviate that burden for these families.”
The top selling family for the “Adopt with FTN” campaign will be revealed on Fund the Nation’s Instagram page Wednesday.