Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

Attorneys and Counselors and Home Studies, Oh My!

on 12/04/2014

Once we said we wanted to adopt the baby , the reality of the gargantuan task in front of us began to sink in. Adoption isn’t cheap. That’s one of the reasons we didn’t take that path and pursued medical treatments the first time around.  When we researched adoption, we found that adoptions typically cost between $35,000 and $45,000 and may take about two years to finalize.  Costs were really the same for domestic or international adoptions. The costs for adoptions also have a wide range, because a lot is dependent on the needs of the birth mother, the complexity of the legal case and unknown medical expenses. If complications arose, the cost could be more than $50,000. The cost and the time were both detriments in our eyes.

Hind site is 20/20.  What I didn’t know at the time is that with medical treatment for infertility it typically takes 3-5 years to have a successful pregnancy and even with insurance  covering some of our treatments, it would ultimately cost us just as much.

The path that I thought was the expedient and cost-effective one- wasn’t.  It did, however,  give me the two most wonderful daughters in the world and we don’t regret our choice.

When we compared options  before, all of my research was on agency adoptions and international adoptions.  We had never researched a private adoption.  These type of adoptions are more rare.  Most birth mothers contact an agency because they handle all of the details and match you with a birth mother.

The birth mother found us, and now it was up to us to handle all of the details. I started calling places frantically to find out who could handle each bit or piece of the process. As I began my research it became clear that the first step was to get a home study.  We have to have every aspect of our lives scrutinized and have our house examined and be approved to be adoptive parents. The funny thing with this is before we had our twins, we weren’t considered attractive candidates during this process because we were infertile.  Now that we had biological children the conversations we had with home study agencies focused on how easy it should be to get approved.  Before, the conversations centered on whether or not we had gone to counseling and grieved the losses of our biological children and most agencies required a year-long waiting period between ending fertility treatments and pursuing adoption; making it three years before we would have a child. This time, we were told it should take about six weeks to complete our background check and get approved. There would be no problem having everything  lined up by the time the baby is born in April.

Next we needed to find a counselor for our birth mother. The counselor provides support as the birth mother goes through the grieving process and helps her determine if she is resolute in her decision.  The counselor will be there for her both before and after the adoption. Geography proved to be a challenge on this one, as usually the birth mother receives counseling through the agency that does the home study.  We ended up finding sister agencies that worked where we live and where the birth mother lives that were willing to provide counseling.

Finally we had to find an attorney.  I met with the first attorney and found out, I don’t just need ONE attorney.  I need one for us, one for the birth mother, and potentially a third attorney for the birth father.  I can honestly say I never expected to have three attorneys on retainer.

This was one of the most nerve-racking parts.  Attorney costs are one of the most expensive parts of the process and there is so much that has to be done correctly in an adoption.  My fears are that the birth mother will change her mind or we won’t follow the law and the adoption will be overturned on a technicality. I watched the Baby Veronica case ferociously while I was undergoing infertility treatments and was appalled at how she was removed from her adoptive parents without any introduction to the birth father and that an obscure statue was used to do it. Based on this case and other stories I’ve heard through my infertility support group, I spent 45 minutes peppering the attorney with questions. As expected, his quote was quite a range.  If everything went perfectly the legal costs for him could be around $4,000.  If the case became more complicated- he wouldn’t give us a high end, but stated $10,000 would not be out of the realm of possibility.  From what we know the birth father is not happy about the adoption, but he also doesn’t have custody of his 4-5 other children and no one in his family does.  He also has not been supporting his other children according to what we’ve been told. Based on this, I was optimistic that we would be more towards the $4,000 end of this range.

I didn’t realize how much this appointment meant to me until I left the attorneys office and burst into tears in the parking lot. I couldn’t even start my car. I just sat there and cried.

I felt overwhelming relief after talking to the attorney and paid him a retainer on the spot. He made this adoption seem possible. As I cried, I just sat there saying to myself, “We’re going to be able to make this adoption happen. We’re going to have a baby.”

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