We're plugging along in the paperwork process! In fact, we're trying to schedule our home visit with our social worker next week, so that's pretty exciting (and a bit scary). Thankfully, we know a few other couples in our small group who've had the same gal and they all loved her. Having advice and comfort in that area is a huge deal. The home visit will basically be a time for her to "interview us" and make sure we have an environment suitable for a baby. We'll also be able to turn over our paper work to her and await approval!
One of the things I find most people are curious about is the cost of adoption. I know it was something I have been very curious about, as it seemed the biggest hurdle to bringing a baby home. When we started looking, we saw a range from $20,000-$50,000 for a domestic adoption. A lot of the cost depends on the type of agency (think a birth-mom centered organziation where babies are placed to adoptive families through that smaller group of birth-moms to a larger agency or consulting group that is networked across the country). Several other factors also contribue, such as the amount of care the birthmother will need during the pregnancy--housing, medical care, cell phone, etc. We expect our adoption to cost somewhere around $40,000. Roughly the cost of this---if you are a visual learner:
When you really start to think about it, people take out loans every day to pay for luxury cars. Heck, $40,000 isn't even close to the high end of some luxury cars! Now, if you are gasping a bit for air (as I was at that price), remember that this number doesn't include travel/hotel stay (which could be up to 3-4 weeeks) or finalization. So, instead of getting extremely overwhelmed and having a panic attack, I pray, of course, and then remember the great resources that are available to us!
* $13,000 tax credit
* $5,000 (employeer benefits, most companies offer something)
* Interest free loans for adoption
There are so many more, like home equity loans too. The good thing about getting our home study approved will be that we can start to apply for those loans and grants. We will also hopefully (pending approval), be able to set up a page with Adopttogether.org. This is a crowd-funding organzation that will allow us to offer friends and family the ability to make a tax-free donation. We will have to turn in reciepts/documentation to request the funds, so I love the transparency of it. You can be sure that your donation is indeed being used to support the adoption.
God has been so gracious to us already. Just a few weeks ago, our house that we rent had some maintence issues and we received a bill. Then, a few days later we got a random refund from our old dentist, saying we had overpaid for almost the exact same amount! So many kind friends and family members have supported our first fundraiser and have made donations. It's made a huge difference. We will be able to pay our homestudy fee entirely and by mid-February, we should be able to pay the entire agency fee--with some left over for the next step! Starting from zero--that's huge leap that we can't take any credit for!
Now things will still creep up, like this clumsy moment I had this weekend:
Yep, that's our glass stove top. I dropped a lid to a dish I was trying to sit on top of the cabinets (for decoration. Yes, it was Pyrex :) The lid survived. The stove did not. Now, I wanted to sit down and cry, but I have had such a peace about the whole thing. God will provide and it will be fine. We're checking into a few options to avoid replacing the whole stove (or in other words--the cheapest option). I'm kinda afraid to get glass again!
After spending yesterday with a sore throat and mild fever, Hubby was able to find the "Call the Midwife" Christmas episode that we had missed as a bit of a treat. Guess what it was about? Come on....you know....yep...ADOPTION. There were several scenarios represented in the episode: a couple who had adopted and wanted to contact the birthmother to let her know her little one was well and loved, a teen who made the decision to give her baby up for adoption, a mother who chose to parent her child, and the very sad story of a young lady whose baby was taken from her after her parents forced her into an mother-baby home/adoption situation that she didn't want.
My heart went out to all these mothers--the mother who couldn't have a child and was given one, the mother who lost her little one, the mother who chose to parent....Even though the show was set in 1959, women are making these hard choices every day. How can we support them in a loving, selfless way, no matter what decision they make? That's what I want for our birthmom. I want her to know we love her. Several people have asked, what if she changes her mind? Yes, I would be sad. Devestated? No. God has called us to adoption and we're not blind to the difficulties that it can bring. However, I believe that for whatever time God has called us to love on a birthmother and child, we will do it faithfully. Really, we don't know how long we will be with our biological children or spouse either. Yet, we are called to love them and serve them faithfully for an unknown time. Hard, yes. But also, so, so good!
I'll update again once we have completed our home visit. Hopefully, I can share some information on tax-free donations too!