Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dollars and $ense Of Family Building

Our family-building history started literally the day after we got married. We were “older” (late 30s/early 40s) and time was of the essence. I had already discussed conception with my obgyn and a plan was in place. I had all the expensive tools of the trade (digital ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, the whole kit and kaboodle) and was raring to go. All we had to do was .. well, it. I had been warned not to worry, it could take over six months.. Just be patient.

Tick Tock…

With good ole Father Time working against us, I gave Hubs & I only a year to conceive. I briefly discussed IVF (in vitro fertilization) with my doctor but quickly ruled it out. I have dear friends that have had great success but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Like many women my age, the clock wasn’t chiming, it was clanging.

All the while we were working on making baby, I was doing my homework and learning about all the avenues of adoption. Determined we were going to start a family one way or another, there wasn’t going to be a time gap between journeys. If we were unable to start a family the old fashioned way by day 366, Plan B was to be launched.

Did I mention the clang?

I reached out to friends and family that had adopted and quizzed. All had been pleased with their chosen journey and the conclusion was to follow our hearts. What spoke to ours was fostering to adopt. I then did the financial research ..

And was astounded.

Unlike International and Domestic adoption, the out of pocket fees for fost/adopt are minimal. In our county (it may vary state to state), the home study and court costs are fully covered including training, Infant/Child CPR & First Aid. While your case is geared towards reunification, the county pays for day care, (case related) travel expenses and nominally per child per day (it equals a cup of coffee and a muffin but it’s better than nothing).

Trust me, you won’t quit your day job.

The post adoption services are phenomenal. The child’s therapy can be continued (as needed) and he/she keeps Medicaid coverage until the age of 18. There are also therapy groups and p/a training available for the adults, as well. Keeping families equipped and healthy is the name of the game.

My conclusion is the true cost of fostering to adopt is not financial but that of time and possible heartbreak.

Our county was very up front to say they are NOT an adoption agency. Their first and foremost priority is to reunify families. Compassion, patience and being a team player are all something you need to possess to take this journey. You will also have to put your wants on the back burner.

This has turned out to be not about building our family but being there for local children in need. Seven kiddos and three years later, we have yet to adopt. That being said, they have all taught us more about life and love than we could ever teach them. They are our heroes. Looking back, would we do it again?

In a heartbeat.

In the end, we chose the adoption journey that spoke to our hearts. We were 95% sure after all the homework and training seminars that fostering to adopt was the best fit for us. The financial differences sealed the deal. As every family I have met that has adopted (via each of the avenues) has said, “It was as it is meant to be…”

Visit Write Mind Open Heart for more perspectives on the Dollars and $ense of Family Building and to respond to thought-provoking questions. Add your own link to the blog hop by May 1, should you want to contribute your thoughts.


Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Thank you so much for participating!

It's so good to see the system finally working properly for someone, for you and for the seven children you've fostered.

alicia said...

Having chose the same route and often wondering " should we just suck it up and shell out the money and go get a child already?!" I know it is a hard hard and frustrating road. There are no guarantees no matter which avenue you choose and while the heartache of loving children and letting go seems unbearable and the fear of getting too close makes you want to pull out your hair, I agree, I wouldn't chose it any other way.
The kids need us for how long they need us, and if God can use us, then who am I to argue. Love them while they are hear, pray for them when they aren't.

Carmen O. said...

Thanks for posting this, Mel. The one thing that I think poses a big question for people, is "do the American orphans have bigger "issues" than the non-American ones." The question, of course, stems from there being so much alcohol and drug abuse-related reasons for children in need of care in the States, as opposed to just poverty (as in, say, Ethiopia, Haiti, etc). I know it's not about getting the perfect child who will make your home even more joyful than you could have dreamed, and it's about being there for the children who literally have no one else.... but would you mind touching on that question, from your perspective.

Lavender Luz said...

I am so glad you are participating in this, Mel, because your story is so compelling. You've taught me so much about living with an open heart and being guided with your heart.

Your financial constraints ended up being a blessing for each one of the kids who has walked through your door.

Ernessa T. Carter said...

I loved this post, especially since fostering to adopt would have been our planned next step after IVF. But lately I've determined that I don't have the emotional wherewithal to handle the fostering-to-adopt process. This post gives me hope that one day I might.

luna said...

what a wonderful set of responses. thanks for sharing your perspective as a foster parent. so glad you participated here. and I have to agree with lori.

Penelope said...

Great post! I will be linking it on my facebook.

Kristin said...

Kudos to you Melissa. Thanks for sharing a bit more about your amazing journey with us.

Hope said...

Thanks for posting this and for sharing your journey. I have always been interested in fostering (not necessarily to adopt) and your story here reminds me of why. I really appreciate getting a peak into the thoughts of someone who enjoys fostering.

I also really like what Alice said, "The kids need us for how long they need us." That really puts it in perspective.


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