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Local couple turns to social media to help with cost of adoption

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- In 2017, about 80 kids were adopted in Wisconsin from overseas. That number is about 100 fewer kids adopted than just five years earlier in 2012.

Part of the reason for fewer adoptions could be the increasing costs, but Briana and Chris Lambrecht, are not letting the high costs crush their dream of becoming parents.

“It’s been something we’ve been wanting for years,” Briana said.

The Pewaukee couple struggled with infertility, but with the help of their faith, they decided that adoption was the answer to their prayers.

“We always knew we wanted to adopt,” Chris said. “I think regardless of whether we were able to have biological children or not.”

The adoption process can be complicated, can take several years, and requires a substantial amount of paperwork, background checks, and waiting. It is also expensive, especially for the Lambrechts who are in the process of adopting a child from South Korea.

“We’re estimating a total from $35-52 thousand and that’s for everything that’s home studies, evaluations, travel,” Chris said.

Domestic adoptions are cheaper.

“With the agency fee and the legal fees I would range between 25 and 28 thousand,” Jennifer Schmeichel, Bethany Christian Services Executive Branch Director in Waukesha, said.

Bethany Christian Services is an adoption agency that offers a wide range of services, even for expecting mothers.

Schmeichel adopted two girls from China and says adoption prices are on the rise, especially with a new federal fee increase for international adoptions.

“It catches many couples off guard,” Schmeichel said. “We want to make sure that they are financially prepared for this process.”

The cost of adoption varies depending on the country but for many, costs are up. For example, someone who adopted a child in China in 2017 paid about a $1,000 more to their adoption agency than they would have five years earlier in 2012, according to numbers from the U.S. Department of State.

However, there are options available to help ease the financial burden.

“You don’t need to be rich to adopt,” Schmiechel said.

Schmiechel and her husband took out a loan to help pay for their adoptions. There are also grants and a tax credit available after the adoption is complete, but Schmeichel said they are now seeing more and more couples turn to social media to help fund their adoptions like the Lambrechts who created a GoFundMe.

“We certainly didn’t want the money to prevent us from having a family,” Briana said.

In addition to a fundraising page, the Lambrechts are getting creative like selling pieces to a custom made puzzle and writing the name of the donor on the back.

“We’ll put the puzzle together and then put it in a frame so we can see the back of it so we can show our child the full puzzle,” Briana said.

Their fundraising efforts all part of their adoption story.

“It gives us something else to talk to our child about,” Chris said. “When they come home the community, people we know, family, friends came together to help bring you home.”




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