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Adoption cost leads to uncomfortable questions

When prospective parents in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and beyond consider adoption, they anticipate just what they will need for their new child, like a crib, clothing, diapers and some toys.

And while these to-be parents understand that the cost of raising a little one will add up to a considerable sum by the time that child is out of college, they might not anticipate just what the up-front costs of the adoption will be and the questions they will have to answer about money from family and friends.

The cost of adopting internationally includes paying agencies both locally and abroad, as well as travel expenses and fees charged by the child's country of birth. Adopting a baby locally also requires fees for agencies and other paperwork.

Some agencies will charge a sliding scale based on what parents can afford, but the price still is not cheap. A domestic adoption can cost anywhere between $18,000 and $35,000, with an international adoption ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.

The rash of celebrities who have adopted, including Sandra Bullock's domestic adoption of her son and Angelina Jolie's three adoptions from foreign lands, has kept the topic in the limelight. Maybe it is because of the familiarity Americans have with adoption through these well-publicized cases that they do not have any trepidation about engaging adoptive parents in conversation.

The talk can turn uncomfortable when strangers, friends or family ask how much a baby cost. Just as new parents are prepared with diapers and bottles, they also should be prepared with quick answers to the lingering questions about cost.

One mother's response to the question she was asked by a stranger on train about the expenses of adopting a little girl from China?

"She's priceless."

Source: Forbes, "The One Question Never To Ask An Adoptive Parent," Diane Clehane, May 15, 2012

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