Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

Reality Sets In

on 12/02/2014

Now that we had begun getting the pieces in place–home study, counselor, attorney–I had to turn my attention to the financial part of the adoption. This was a much more serious conversation between Tim and me.

When you have to take out hardships and loans just to have children, how can you justify what that does to your retirement and your ability to provide for those children?

We crunched the numbers and another round of infertility treatments would about the same as the cost of this adoption, but we also didn’t know if I’d end up on bedrest again and if I would have to take unpaid time off again. A big consideration is that we would have to have the girls in daycare this time, versus having minimal expenses when this happened last time. Infertility treatments would cost between $15-20K. It was beginning to look like, if everything followed the ideal path, this adoption would cost about the same without the risk to me or the baby. And since we couldn’t risk another twin pregnancy, the success rate would be higher with adoption (70% vs 60%).

Private Adoption Agency Adoption
Adoption Expenses $5,700-$6,500 $5,700-$8,500
Application Fee $400 $400
Home Study Fee $1,300 $1,700
Background Checks, FingerPrinting, Medical Clearance $200-300 $200-300
Attorney Fees for us $4,000-$10,000 $4,000-$10,000
Attorney Fees for birth mother $300-$700 $300-$700
Attorney Fees for birth father $0-$2,000 $0-$2,000
Medical Expenses $3,000-$6,000 $3,000-$10,000
Agency Fees $0 $22,500
Total Fees $14,700-$27,200 $32,100-$56,100

Another factor to consider was that in 15 months, we hadn’t gotten pregnant on our own, so we didn’t think a miraculous natural pregnancy was in the cards. In all of our conversations about a third child, there were only two roadblocks: my ability to carry a child to term and the finances. The adoption solved one. We needed to determine our comfort level with the other.

The reality is, we leapt heart-first into this adoption. We weren’t prepared to go down this path and didn’t have a nest egg ready. We begged, raided and borrowed to get pregnant with the girls. The retirement fund was drained dry already, student loans were already in forbearance and we’re still paying on the loan we took out to cover the cost of treatments to get our girls. We cut out all the frills when we were going through treatments and haven’t added much back in since we’ve had them. We eat out rarely, cut cable, gave up alcohol and soda, don’t buy pre-made food, and try to buy as little as possible. There really isn’t much left to cut out of our day-to-day spending. We made a list of items we could cut that would have an impact – forgo upgrading our phones, cut data out of our plan, cancel Christmas pics with Santa, have a slim Christmas, let a loan from our retirement plan default (no impact on credit; just taxes and penalties), and try really, really hard not to go to the doctor. Juggling the finances of this would be challenging.

But.

If we wait until the timing is better, we’ll have missed our opportunity for a private adoption. Agency adoptions are nearly twice as much. We can’t save enough in a year to make a dent in that. This opportunity fell into our laps. Very unexpected, but outside of the timing, an ideal situation. We became determined to find a way to make this happen.

This is also the time I began to regret my recent job change. My former employer offered $10,000 in adoption benefits which would help with some of the expenses associated with adoption, as well as paid leave for both natural and adoptive children. (Of course, they also sold the company two weeks after I quit, so I would have lost that anyway). My new company only covers leave through disability, so any leave for this adoption will be completely unpaid.

And then there is the thought of expenses and childcare for a third. This is actually the easiest item to solve. We are used to paying for two infants in a daycare center because our two attempts at in-home daycare were a bust. (One provider was terrible and the second decided twins were too much work.) We can get an au pair or in-home childcare for the same amount as having two infants in daycare. So with no change in childcare costs, we will have daycare for all three children. (Of course, we still need to find the saint that wants to watch three children under the age of two!) Supplies are easy. We use cloth diapers and have plenty of those. Outside of formula and a crib, we already have all we need. We even have boxes of hand-me-down boy clothes we’ve been storing in our basement for the last four years.

We began calculating the places we could pull money from–tax return, Christmas money, my bonus (if it doesn’t get canceled), Tim’s Christmas bonus. Depending on timing, we could definitely get the process started. Next I turned to Google to research adoption grants. Here I came up short. I could only find one grant that we were eligible to apply for. Most grants favor couples with no children, and I 100% support this. That is absolutely how it should be. I’ve been there and I would much prefer a grant go to someone with no children than to me.

In order to apply for that grant, we must have a fully completed home study. I now have my marching orders: MUST GET HOME STUDY DONE!

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